The Consciousness In Sarty's Barn Burning

1810 Words8 Pages
In order to understand their environment, humans gather information in the forms of sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch from their surroundings and then process the data. This constant stream of data never ceases an overabundance of irrelevant data, creating the need for a filter. This filter is known as the consciousness. In literature, the narrator of a story performs the task of telling a character’s experiences, such as what they see, feel, hear, or think. Thus, the narrator, indirectly or directly, provides a pathway into a character’s consciousness. The ability to get into the mind of a character gives the reader an opportunity to perform a psychoanalysis, which becomes invaluable in determining the source of a character’s personality…show more content…
In the phallic stage, which occurs from approximately the ages of three to six, children become aware of the pleasure they get from their genitals. Also, Freud says that identification, the phenomena of a child adopting the values and mannerisms of the same sex parent, occurs during the phallic stage (Kasschau 72). In “Barn Burning,” Sarty shows characteristics of a normal progression through the phallic stage, but his deviation from his father’s moral code says otherwise. An example that shows Sarty’s and Abner’s differing moral codes can be seen in Abner’s concept of blood ties. The primary example of Abner teaching Sarty about blood ties can be seen when Abner says, “You’re getting to be a man. You got to learn. You got to learn to stick to your own blood or you ain’t going to have any blood to stick to you” (Faulkner 191). However, Sarty seems to not adopt his father’s way of thinking and instead consciously challenges it. After Abner has tasked Sarty to fetch kerosine for the barn burning, Sarty thinks to himself, “I could run on and on and never look back, never need to see his [Abner’s] face again” (Faulkner 198). In this quote, Sarty contemplates running away because he hates abiding by his dad’s rules, which, again, shows the strained relationship between Abner and Sarty. By running away, Sarty would go directly against Abner’s lesson of being loyal to blood. Virginia C. Fowler’s “Faulkner’s ‘Barn Burning’: Sarty’s Conflict Reconsidered,” Fowler asserts, “By insisting that Sarty be loyal to ‘blood,’ Abner makes the boy aware, first, of loyalty as a conscious mode of behavior, and second, of the fact that there are perhaps other modes of behavior one could follow.” Fowler observes that Sarty consciously recognizes his ability to deviate from his father’s moral code which then frees
Open Document