William Faulkner is a renowned novelist who wrote engaging prose and fictional plays in the American South. He is popularly known for narratives, such as, As I Lay Dying and The Sound and the Fury. He was born in the year 1897, in New Albany, Mississippi. He began his literary work with poetry before he became popularly known for his novels established in Yoknapatawpha- a fictional town of American South.
The narrative in the Barn Burning is a portrayal of the relationship between the poor and the rich people in the society throughout Civil War. The character analysis will be centered on the leading character, Abner Snopes, who obtain livelihood for his family by sharecrops. He hates the rich people in his society. As a result, he avenges by burning their barns. Throughout the story, the character of Abner Snopes is consistent: he is violent, an outlaw, and cold-hearted. To begin with, Abner’s consistent character throughout the short narrative is clear indication of heartlessness. He is being evicted from his village after he was found guilty of burning a man’s barn.
Despite all this, Abner depicts no feeling to his family. Throughout the play, he does not apologize or seek forgiveness from his family nor does he encourage them. Notably, this is also apparent when he hits and strikes his family, which is slightly ruthless when compared to the damages caused by the fire. On top of that, he is frail and unable to defeat everyone he gets into a fight with. Since light is freely available and cheap compared to purchasing ammunition or a gun, Abner resort to burning barns of the rich people. Besides that, when Abner is charged with damaging the rug, he is observed going out to avenge by burning the barn owned by DeSpain because he is dissatisfied with the social system that only favors the rich people.
Therefore, in his own right, he believes that burning Despain’s barn would amend the wrong. Another essential character trait that clearly illustrates Abner as being consistent is the role he plays as an outlaw. Abner in the short story “Barn Burning” is a suitable illustration of a dramatic unveiling of the landed aristocracy. He seeks integrity as well as dignity for himself, which he can only attain by using fire as the element of democracy that he views as they only tool which can be used for defense despite once social class. He becomes an outlaw during the civil war by stealing horses from either side of lines. In addition to that, he does not only stop there but also continues with his act of being an outlaw after returning home by committing arson. The play starts with Abner being accused in a courtroom for burning a barn belonging to Mr.
Harris. The court is unable to prove that Abner is guilty of burning Mr. Harris barn and as a result, his expelled out of his country. In addition to that, Abner does not want to be associated with anything because he values his honor, legacy, and his family. In conclusion, it the character analysis of Abner reveals him as cold-hearted, violent, and outlaw.
He sees his position in the society to be unfair which causes him to burn the barn, a clear indication of self-defeating action. As a result, he rebelliously challenges the status quo in spite of knowing no change will take place.