Internal Conflict In Barn Burning By William Faulkner

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The story “Barn Burning,” by William Faulkner is one that demonstrates a strong role of a young protagonist who is put in the situation of choosing between his morality or his loyalty to his father. Colonel Sartoris Snopes (Sarty), a ten-year old boy and son of Abner Snopes, a man who commits arson, goes through several scenes that show his internal conflict. I will be analyzing as to why Sarty behaves the way he does, how Sarty would react in today’s world, if I were to personally make the same decisions as him, and if I know of an individual that is similar to him. Both parents influence Sarty heavily. His mother is a respectable woman with ethics who taught Sarty the idea of morality while, his father, Abner, is a criminal that makes Sarty question his judgment from time to time. Sarty is a genuinely good person who tends to take more after his mother, but he is often put in the situation of defending his morality or his father. Thus, Sarty is often influenced by the decisions his father’s make so his father doesn’t punish him. An example of such a case is in the first court scene where Abner is on trial for burning down the neighbor’s barn. It is very clear in this situation that Abner is guilty because Sarty thinks to himself “he aims for me to lie (Faulkner 4-5).” Through Sarty’s emotion and Faulkner’s imagery of the father’s reactions it is apparent that Abner is guilty of the crime. But before Sarty is expected to testify he begins to make a decision: to tell

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