Themes In William Faulkner's Barn Burning

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“Barn Burning” William Faulkner’s “Barn Burning” shows what happens when a boy is faced with making decisions about morals and loyalty to one's own family. Sarty is the son of a man who burns barns and has no regard for what society expects. The themes in “Barn Burning” show the conflict of the characters. For the boy, the themes that apply are “the human heart in conflict with itself” and ‘’the need to balance between demands of self and responsibility to one’s society.” Sarty is faced with a tough internal conflict. For him, a decision needs to be made, and there are really only two choices available for him. He can either stay loyal to his blood, or do what is morally correct and run away from that lifestyle. In the opening scene, he is forced to defend his father in court because he feels as if he has to, not because he wants to. His father takes him aside one night and tells him,”You got to learn to stick to your own blood or you ain’t going to have any blood to stick to you”(485). Sarty knows that if he turns against his family, he may lose them. Then, he would have no idea what to do. Having loyalty to his father and defending him…show more content…
Sarty is just a young boy who is being put in a situation where he has to make difficult choices. His conflicts are internal conflicts that involve choosing between doing what is right and his family. The theme “the human heart in conflict with itself” can be applied to Sarty’s desire to pursue law and justice in hopes of peace, but being held down by his loyalty to his family. The second theme, “the need to balance between demands of self and responsibility to one’s society”, can be summarized as Sarty wanting a balance between what he needs from his family and the desire to do what is right. Faulkner's themes used in “Barn Burning” well describe the internal conflicts that the boy, Sarty, is going
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