Knowing that punishment could not be avoided when committing such acts, Ab’s actions take on a more dramatic meaning as if he is trying to convey a message.He is aware of the economic injustice and he must respond even at the risk of him and his family being prosecuted or ostracized. he thought; for a moment he could not even see, could not see that the Justice’s face was kindly.” (PARA. The story’s emotional turns are clearly defined by Sarty’s thoughts and Ab’s actions.
This blog series, Big Picture, Small Picture, provides a contextual collage for a chosen piece of literature.
The information here is culled from newspapers, newsreels, periodicals, and other primary sources from the date of the text’s original publication.
Eleven years after the publication of “Barn Burning,” William Faulkner accepts the Nobel Prize in Literature in a banquet hall in Stockholm, clad in a tuxedo and white bow tie.
With his easy, rounded cadence from Oxford, Mississippi, Faulkner sighs out a rallying cry for the next generation of writers: “The young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat.
Sarty is the protagonist surrounded by his father antagonism whereas Ab is the protagonist antagonized by the social structure and the struggle that is imposed on him and his family.
The economic status of the main characters is poor, without hope of improving their condition, and at the mercy of a quasi-feudal system in North America during the late 1800’s.He was awarded first prize in the 2015/16 William Van Dyke Short Story Contest from Ruminate Magazine, and his work has previously appeared or is forthcoming in Mc Sweeney’s Internet Tendency, Permafrost Magazine, Fiction Southeast, and elsewhere.He enjoys studying history, playing ping pong, and celebrating his beloved Cleveland Cavaliers' first NBA championship.20)The Snope family manages to survive and find work.However, the work offers little other than a chance for survival “I reckon I’ll have a word with the man that aims to begin tomorrow owning me body and soul for the next eight months” (PARA 40). Due to seasons and crop rotation, in order to secure work they had to reserve land with different landowners.No hope for advancement prevails throughout the story.Sarty, his brother and the twin sisters have no access to education, as they must spend their time working in the fields or at home performing familial duties.Being a sharecropper, Ab and his family had to share half or two-thirds of the harvest with the landowner and out of their share pay for the necessities of life.As a result of this status, Ab and his family know from the start what the future will hold — hard work for their landlord and mere survival for them.A behavior which throughout the story is transformed into a rebellion, by Ab smearing the landowner’s carpet with horse manure and then suing him for charging him too much for the damage.These acts symbolize frustration with the system and a radical approach to rebel against it.