Morality And Loyalty In William Faulkner's Barn Burning

Better Essays
A sacred belief around the world is that loyalty to one’s family is of the uppermost importance relative to any group. Despite this concept appearing pure, moral values and family loyalty often conflict, given the reality that relatives often make choices opposite of what another’s moral values may suggest. In “Barn Burning”, the main character Sartoris Snope is torn between these two concepts, morality and loyalty, as his father Abner Snope is a serial arsonist plagued with a short temper. Moving from town to town and landlord to landlord, Sartoris begins to battle with whether or not to support his father’s actions, eventually building to the climax of the story in which his decision leads to the demise of a main character. Author William Faulkner seeks to demonstrate that one’s own moral values are of paramount importance when compared to family loyalty through Abner’s hostile dialogue, indirectly characterizing Abner’s immature and violent nature, contrasting such characteristics against Lennie’s moral positions, Sartoris’s dynamic development, and Sartoris’s actions in the climax of the piece. The Snopes family’s lowly social position leads to Abner Snope, the father, to resent power and burn various establishments, barns in particular, out of frustration and utter hatred for those who have power over him, immediately identifying him as the antagonist. Such a position powers his immoral actions, which influences the message of the work the most. Abner’s bitterness towards more powerful individuals is evident as soon as he wanders into a…show more content…
Through various literary strategies and details, he succeeded in creating a story demonstrating such a message that extinguished any reasonable doubt that what he said was universally true. Despite being written over eighty years ago, “Barn Burning” addresses a concept that is struggled with
Get Access