The Significance Of Blood In William Faulkner's Barn Burning

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In William Faulkner’s short story “Barn Burning,” we follow a young boy, Colonel Sartoris Snopes, and his family as they are exiled from yet another place of residence after the patriarch of the Snopes family burns down another barn. Through all of this turmoil the father, Abner, demands unwavering loyalty from the family and he maintains it through dogmatic “fear[,] despair and the old grief of [familial] blood”(508). Faulkner’s repetitive use of blood illustrates the constant and ever-present significance that blood ties hold in the family as instilled by Abner. It is evident that the Snopes family is not well off financially, and this causes distrust and anger towards those of a higher social class within the disillusioned Abner. To Abner, this idea solidifies the belief that they need to “learn to stick to [their] blood” or they aren’t …show more content…

Faulkner gives the reader many small details regarding Abner’s past, more specifically his time in the Confederate Army. Adner named his son Sartoris after a leader in the confederate army, who he had served directly under, but despite what could be seen as a tribute to his time in the army, Faulkner ensures that the reader understands that Adner “had gone to that war a private…wearing no uniform, admitting the authority of…no man or army or flag”, simply going to war for a chance of plundering valuables from the “enemy”(519,508). This disloyalty can be seen in his relationships with his family; even after “twelve movings”, continues to pursue his sole desire of bringing those in a higher class to his level rather than raising himself and his family through honest labor(511). With his actions Abner causes his family to optimistically hope that “he’s done satisfied” after his most recent burning, yet he continues to selfishly do as he

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