Barn Burning Summary

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Barns, gins, stables and storehouses were the preferred targets of the arsonist, in that each was a real and symbolic accumulation of the things which the owners had stolen from tenants; namely, their labor.

Labor was all that the tenants had to sell to the landowners.

It is also worth mentioning that the presence of barns is the courthouse – the place where legal proceedings took place.

It is ironic in the sense that Abner is punished for his injustices to the wealthy yet the justice system does not consider the social injustices of the rich society to the poor.

The reader’s interest is stimulated by the desire to know what the boy will do and why.

The author uses a setting that out rightly evokes the social status of the key parties in the story.The clan depicts the poor tenants that worked in the Whites’ plantations since the 1880s (Skei 35).The story largely depicts the socioeconomic relationship between the landowners and the tenants.Making the readers consider the social factors which induced the lead character, notorious Abner Snopes, Faulkner does not reveal these factors himself – he describes the setting, the environment in which the character lives, the ideas that occasionally rush through his mind, and the few interactions which he has in his daily life, mostly with his son and his neighbors: “He could not see the table where the Justice sat and before which his father and his father’s enemy (our enemy he thought in that despair; ourn! Thus, the reader is immediately immersed into the atmosphere of a dull, good-for-nothing life, which finally drives Abner to a rebellion.At this point, it becomes obvious that the novel is more than just a story of two crimes and a treachery; it is a study of human nature, in its ugliness and one of several literary works by William Faulkner.The story revolves around the lives of the Snopes clan.This is the point at which one starts realizing that the novel is more than a story about an average half-literate criminal.The first thing that meets the eye is the specific means that Abner uses to take his revenge on the people whom he disrespects and considers the ones to blame for his dissatisfaction.It is characterized by the presence of the wealthy landowners and the comfortable lives that they live as opposed to the Snopes’ family that does not have a permanent place to stay.To earn a living, the Snopes’ family has to work in the plantations of the land owning families as sharecroppers.


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