Barn Burning Essay

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Bertonneau is a Temporary Assistant Professor of English and the humanities at Central Michigan University, and Senior Policy Analyst at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. In the following essay, he examines the tormented character of Abner Snopes and the high price for self-knowledge that Sarty must pay.

Abner Snopes, in William Faulkner's "Barn Burning," is everyone's double, and that is the source of the misery in which he immerses his family and all of those with whom he comes into contact. Snopes feels challenged, it seems, by the pure existence of others and succumbs on each occasion to the demon of incendiary rivalry. At the conclusion of the first courtroom scene, for example, when the justice of the peace, failing to find Snopes guilty of arson against Mr. Harris, nevertheless orders him to "leave this county," Faulkner reports the following as Snopes' reply:

[Abner] spoke for the...

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This section contains 2,027 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Barn Burning Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
Barn Burning from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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