“Barn Burning” is a story filled with myth. This coming of age story features a boy stuck in a family with a father who can be thought of as Satan, and can be easily seen as connected to myths of Zeus and Cronus. The connection to Zeus is further elaborated when William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” is also considered. These two stories along with a few others provided an amazing view of the south. Many characters or families can be viewed as groups that lived in the south during this time. The story is rich in mythology which includes a boy coming of age facing the challenges of morality, and southern life.
The young boy Called Colonel Sartoris Snopes or Sarty was living with his family which included his father, Abner Snopes, which believed heavily in Blood Loyalty. Abner Snopes thinks of his family as himself and everyone else as “they.” In the Story Abner is blamed with burning down the barn of his landlord. The reader can easily see at the beginning of the story that Sarty is not okay with his father’s actions at the first trial, and he is uneasy about lying for his family. This uneasiness and the judge saying someone with the name Colonel Sartoris Snopes couldn’t be lying foreshadowed that his loyalty was to be tested again.
Then as more of the story is reveled a connection between Abner and Satan is made noticeable. There are many satanic images that can be identified with Abner such as using fire which Edmond Volpe calls “the element of the devil” (892). He also points out Abner’s pride which he says is “so absolute it can accept no order beyond its own” (892). The last comparison that Edmond makes is “like the angels who fall with Lucifer becomes extensions of his will. In the same way, Ab is an o…
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… a good life and even be the mayor because he told the truth and everyone else should to. “Barn Burning” is rich in mythology and provides a well-constructed image of the south during the time period the story was written.
Byrne, Mary Ellen. “”Barn Burning”: A Story from the ’30s.” Southeast Missouri State University. Web. 1 Apr. 2011. .
Padgett, John B. “MWP: William Faulkner (1897-1962).” The University of Mississippi. 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 1 Apr. 2011. .
“Themes.” Home Page English 112 VCCS Litonline. 22 Mar. 2004. Web. 1 Apr. 2011. .
Volpe, Edmond. “Myth in Faulkner’s “Barn Burning”” The Art of the Short Story. By Dana Gioia and R. S. Gwynn. New York: Pearson Longman, 2006. 891-92. Print.