Research Papers that Include a Summary of Barn Burning
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William Faulkner (1897-1962) was one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. Much of his work was set in his fictional town of Jefferson, Mississippi. In telling numerous stories in and around the town, Faulkner wrote numerous works about the Snopes family, including his trilogy The Hamlet, The Town, and The Mansion. His 1939 short story “Barn Burning” serves as a prequel to the Snopes trilogy.
Barn Burning is set around 1895, opening on a country store, which doubles as the Justice of the Peace Court. Most of the story is told from the perspective of Sarty, the eleven-year-old son of patriarch Abner Snopes. Abner has been accused of setting fire to Mr. Harris’ barn. Called to testify, Sarty is put in the middle between his father and the town. Exiled, the Sartoris family becomes tenants of Major de Spain. Abner’s first act as a tenant family is track horse manure through the de Spain house.
De Spain takes Abner to court over the ruined rug, and Sarty, not realizing what is going on in court, blurts out that his father has not burned any barns. Despite winning the case, Abner decides to set fire to the de Spain barn. Sarty breaks free to warn de Spain, but it is too late. The story ends with Sarty up on a high hill overlooking the scene. He believes that his father is dead and he falls asleep, no longer afraid. When he wakes in the morning, he walks into the woods.