Barn Burning Essay

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Yunis is professor of Languages and Literature at The College of St. Scholastica. In the following essay, she discusses Faulkner's narrative technique in "Barn Burning."

Faulkner's short story "Barn Burning" poses a problem for me as a reader in that the narrator seems in several instances more intent upon explaining and justifying Abner's barn-burning than in registering the pain his family suffers in the context of these fires. The often quoted fire-building passage provides a good illustration:

The nights were still cool and they had a fire against it, of a rail lifted from a nearby fence and cut into lengths—a small fire, neat, niggard almost, a shrewd fire; such fires were his father's habit and custom always, even in freezing weather. Older, the boy might have remarked this and wondered why not a big one; why should not a man who had not only seen...

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This section contains 4,059 words
(approx. 11 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Barn Burning Study Guide
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Barn Burning from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.