Category: Analysis

“Barn Burning” by William Faulkner

The story “Barn Burning” by William Faulkner shows a bright example of loyalty to a family and the result of betraying it. For the main character of the story, Abner Snopes, there is only one truth in this world, which is loyalty to his family, or, as he calls it, to “his blood” (Padgett). His son Sarty is eager to show his feelings towards the family, and there are several examples of it. At the moment when the Snopes leave the court, some kids shouted “Barn Burner!”, and in order to protect his family Sarty starts a fight against the offender. The blood that appears on the boy’s face makes him proud of himself being a symbol of his true loyalty to his family. Another situation occurs, when Abner was charged twenty bushels of corn for the damaged carpet. Sarty says, "You done the best you could!" (Padgett). These words were meant to prove to his father that he was “on the side of blood” (Padgett). The most interesting episode of son’s true feelings occurs when Sarty says to his father at the moment, when they both sit in the courthouse waiting for the judge’s decision that "He won't git no ten bushels neither. He won't git one” (Padgett). All of these actions on Sarty’s part are childish and not usually helpful, but the most important role is that they prove to the father that his son is deeply loyal to the family.

John Steinbeck’s Story “Flight”

John Steinbeck’s story “Flight” depicts the life and family tragedy in a pure nature environment. The story is the beginning of the modernistic and inner fight of an individual for his life and personality. The tragedy is disclosed in the situation, when the family is left without a man, and as soon as he is raised in the family, where there is “…a need for a man”, he should go into the mountains (Steinbeck). The boy is too young to understand certain things in life, for example, there is no reason for killing a person for his bad words directed to Pepe, but wine makes its job. The boy has no other choice, because his mother is also anxious to pack things for him in order to leave into the mountains. During the whole story Pepe repeats, “I am a man”, but in fact they sound like he tries to convince himself that he is brave and adult enough to do certain things, namely going to the town or leaving his home (Steinbeck). This phrase sounds through the whole text, and the fact that the boy is not a man is very pessimistic, which is one of the characteristics of naturalism.

The chain of episodes of the story shows the unhappiness of the depicted family, and what is the most pessimistic is that there is no hope for better days. Nature is not shown as the second main character, but rather as a circumstance that works against the little boy. The accident that has happened with his arm and the final act when “…the avalanche slid slowly down and covered up his head” show the determinate tragic final of the story and determination is one of the naturalism characteristics (Steinbeck). Nature applies its first law that the strongest survive, and the main character of the story promising to be a man of the family is not strong enough to fight against the life obstacles. The unexpected final and the total indifference of nature to the person’s tragedy are the facts that prove the naturalistic character of the story.

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