Barn Burning Analysis

Table of Content

The characters in William Faulkner Barn Burning demonstrate various conflicts with each other and their role in society. The story primarily involves Banner Snoops and his son Carts who struggles to understand his father and the morality behind everything. Specifically, the father is accused of burning down barns and his son is forced to choose sides when things are taken to court. Unfortunately, Banner’s stubbornness and false Impression of righteousness forces his son Into an Internal conflict as he struggles to understand whether he should remain loyal to his father or loyal to morality and the law.

Although the story center around these two characters, Carry’s true development doesn’t appear until the end of the story because he continually tries to Justify his father’s behavior while questioning his own morals. However, Banner’s wife, Leonie, plays the role of a contrasting character that reveals the unique qualities of both Banner and Carts. Her role as a minor character serves as a foil that significantly enhances the development of Carts Snoops and inspires his own coming of age and independence. To begin with, Lien’s role In the story demonstrates a suppressed but resilient purity in the story.

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She opposes all that her husband does and she knows it is wrong and uncivilized but she doesn’t have the confidence to fully stand up for herself. She fears the consequences of openly opposing her husband and doesn’t want to show her despair and dissatisfaction with the life they were living both to her husband and children. For instance, Leonie is first introduced in the story when she’s sitting in the wagon and “she was crying, though when she saw him she drew her sleeve across her face”. She has the ability to be weak in front of her children but she chooses not o.

In a way, she wishes she could be weak and run away from her husband but Instead shows her strength by staying In the family for the sake and good fortune of her family. Rather, than doing what’s best for herself, she is doing what is best for her children which shows how selfless Leonie can be. In many ways, Leonie is stuck In an Intermediate position between Justice and loyalty to her husband. Her attempt to restrain back Carts so that he doesn’t run off and warn De Spain serves as both literal and figurative evidence of her struggle.

For example, she reassures her Cubans that she will hold him back and she even fights with her son as he attempts to break free from her. Although she consciously knows that she should let go so that her son does the right thing, part of her is hopelessly loyal to her husband and doesn’t want to give up. However, she eventually does let Carts go which Is her way of acting without having to act. Since she cannot act herself for the sake of her family good being, she is acting through her son’s actions and the values she instilled in him.

It also demonstrates that she Isn’t fully under her husband’s control but finds says around her obedience to him by leading him to believe she is while she secretly betrays him. Although Leonie can’t act, her resistance to conforming to her husband’s Immoral and violence nature Is a valuable act In itself. She continually attempts to persuade her husband from committing reckless actions while remaining calm and reasonable rather than angry and Irrational like her husband.

For example, upon says “Banner. Banner. Please don’t. Please, Banner”. Even if her attempts are futile, she never fully accepts her husband’s decisions nor allows herself to be silenced. This unsuccessful effort magnifies the superiority of Banner’s character in the story but it also serves as an inspiration and ignition of her son’s development because he is actually able to overcome his father’s evils and immoral acts due to values his mother has instilled in him.

His final decision to betray family loyalty and expose his father’s arson plans reveals his strength to overcome his father and act on the side of Justice. Sartor ability to arise above his fathers’ rules proves him to be a dynamic character that changes and evolves into a more independent and honorable young man. Sartor final departure at the end of the story serves as a final breakdown of his father’s overshadowing corruption on his morality.

His mother never let herself be broken and betray her family but her greatest contribution lies in the intelligence and morality that her son carried from her. In essence, he was able to completely fulfill his mother’s attempts to overcome Banner’s corrupting influence as he was able to dictate his own actions. Lien’s contrasting qualities not only helped exemplified Carts as an enlightened character but also were vital to his characterization and growth.

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Barn Burning Analysis. (2017, Oct 15). Retrieved from

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