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Barn Burning Essay, Research Paper

1) Analyze title.

The title Barn Burning carries certain significance through out the story. At the beginning the reader doesn t know what the story is about and the title somewhat tell us what to expect from the story. As one continues reading the story one comes to a conclusion that the title carries more of a symbolic meaning. (Fire and other symbols are discusses in Question 7) The title is linked to the story in a direct way because the father burns barns and enjoys it, hence the title.

2) Explain plot.

The story is about a young man, Sarty, and his coming to manhood. The story begins in a small town with the trial of Sarty s father, Mr. Snopes. His father is found guilty and is forced to leave town. The whole family goes to a different town and his father already made arrangements to have some small house there. When they get there his father takes Sarty and they go to the De Spain s house, the owner of the farm where they will leave. On the way to the house his father steps into a pile of droppings. His father then proceeds to walk into the house onto a rug with that pile still on his foot. HE then walks out and goes home with Sarty. De Spain later brings the rug back to Mr.Snopes and makes him clean it. When Mr.Snopes takes the rug back De Spain tells him that he will own for the rug 20 bushels of corn. His father disagrees. Once again Mr.Snopes is taken to court. He again is found guilty and has to pay 10 bushels of corn. But his father is not about to pay that either. So at night he decides to burn the barn of De Spain. Sarty runs away from home to tell De Spain and then runs away the whole night. He hears 2 shots (his father and brother went to burn the house). But he keeps running without looking back.

3) Describe Setting.

The story takes place in late 1800 s. It takes place in an imaginary Mississippi county, Yoknapatawpha, in which the Sartorises and De Spains are landed aristocrats living by a code of honor, and Snopeses, shiftless ne er-do-wells.

4) Describe main character(s).

There are 2 main characters in the story. The young boy, Sarty, is very afraid of his father. He doesn t know much about what his father did in the past but he knows that everybody in the family obeys his orders. Sarty is more honest then any other members of the family. He believes in justice. Because of his age he is very rebellious against his fathers wishes. Sarty s father Mr. Snopes is a very cold man. He can hit a horse and a human and feel no emotion for either one, neither hate nor disguise. He lost a foot in a war so now he has a wooden one.

5) Specify conflicts.

There are several conflicts that arise through out the story. The main conflict is between Sarty and his father. Sarty believes in Justice whereas his father believes that everyone should stick to his or her own blood no matter what. Another conflict is between Sarty s mother and Mr.Snopes. Sarty s mother comes to realize that what her husband is doing is wrong and she tries to stop but Mr.Snopes, once again, uses force in order to stop her cries. Another conflict is inside the boy. He has to decide whether justice is more important to him than his father and his whole family.

6) Explain climax.

The climax of the story comes when the young boy runs to De Spain s house to tell him that his father is going to burn the barn. Before that moment reader is not sure whether the boy will run to the house to tell the owner or whether he will just run away and that captures the reader s attention for a little while longer. After the boy reaches the house the rest of the story becomes more or less predictable.

7) Analyze all symbols.

There are many symbols in the story. When I was reading it the most important one that came up time after time seemed to be fire. Fire signifies many things. It signifies Hell. The pits of hell are hot and thus anyone who doesn t help Justice prevail will burn in Hell. It also signifies leaving the past behind. Mr. Snopes wooden leg that he drags around is a symbol for a burden of some kind. Since we never learn much of his past it is hard to say what it signifies, but most likely it too signifies carrying the past with you. Also in the story everyone has a double, father and the older son, twin sisters, mother and her sister. Sarty doesn t have a double and that signifies him having his own mind and growing up and getting a will of his own. Blood is used through out the story to show the bond between the families. Violence and blood are tied in. Violence represents his fathers insecurity and blood represents his father s way of making everyone believe everything he says.

7) Specify the point of view.

The point of view jumps around. Sometimes it is even hard to tell. It goes from 1st to 3rd person point of view. What that achieves is at first we have this limited point and later on we are able to see the story from all angles. The 1st person p

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