Loyalty In Barn Burning

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“Blood makes you related, loyalty makes you family”-Unknown. This quote relates directly to my story “Barn Burning” by William Faulkner. Barn Burning is a story of family, loyalty, and morality and answers the question “how far does loyalty to family go?”. This story follows a boy named Sarty that is at the age where he starting to figure out what kind of person he will be in life. Sarty is a fascinating and dynamic young boy that faces a major ethical dilemma.
Going back to the quote at the beginning, loyalty is a key part of this story. It is Sarty’s undying loyalty to his terrible father that drives the story forward. The first scene we come to where Sarty displays loyalty to his father is when Abner is on trial for the crime of burning down a black man’s barn. The court decides they want Sarty to testify. Sarty decides that he must defend his father because loyalty to family is very important
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Once we reach the end of the story, Sarty has finally realized that his father is a “ruthless” and “bloodless” man. (Byrne) Abner is on his way to burn down de Spain’s barn and Sarty knows he has to warn him. His family decides to hold on to him to not let him go but Sarty breaks free and runs down the road to tell de Spain what his father intends on doing. This is the moment when Sarty changed dramatically in the story. He broke the loyalty with his father and solved his self-conflict. He made the decision that his morals were more important than protecting his father. Even though he tries to warn de Spain, he is too late and the barn is already on fire. He hears gunshots and assumes his father is dead. Sarty decides to sleep on a hill. He wakes up just before dawn and he walks into the woods and “did not look back”. (Faulkner, 14) Sarty knows at this point that his life with his family is over and must move on to the next step. Sarty does not know what that next step will hold for him but he realizes that he cannot go
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