Three characteristics of the Modern World that are found in William Faulkner’s “Barn Burning,” were chaotic, collapse of morality/values, and confused sense of identity and place in the world.
From the very beginning of the story, the first thing that came to mind to me was total chaos. In the court, there was nothing proved by Mr. Harris, the internal battle Sartoris Snopes appeared to be having knowing that his own father expected him to lie, and finally with the Justice not finding against Snopes, but basically forcing him to leave the country. So many different thoughts and feelings being thrown about from the first paragraph.
The first sign of a collapse of morality/values that I recognized was the little boy, Colonel Sartoris Snopes knows that his father wanted him to lie, and he says to himself that he will have to do it. Later on when the Snopes were camping the father was very angry because he knew his son wanted to tell the truth, it’s clear that Sartoris knew that telling the truth was the right thing to do. Then we read of his running to tell De Spain that his own father was going to burn the barn. Young Sarty did in fact have values instilled in him, somehow.
I think from the get go, Colonel Sartoris Snopes was confused in his sense of identity and he is place in the world. He knew right from wrong, despite of how his own family acted and he was raised. He knew when he ran from his mother and the sisters to tell De Spain that his life would be forever changed. And in the end, he set out to never look back again.
The “Barn Burning” by Faulkner is an optimistic story in my opinion. This young man had to of had a positive outlook on life and the future to go against what he’d been taught of his life, and tell the truth. Even though the truth would condemn his very own father.
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