De Spain Barn (Location Key)


Just as in The Sound and the Fury Caddy Compson is defined by her absence, so in "Barn Burning" neither readers nor, apparently, Ab Snopes' anguished son Sarty ever see the barn on the De Spain estate that Ab burns. It is located somewhere "across the park" - the landscaped grounds - from the big house on the De Spain plantation, on the other side of a "vine-massed fence" (23). From the ditch into which he's jumped to escape De Spain's horse, Sarty may see the fire, but only in the way the "glare" of the blaze "blots the stars," "staining" the sky "abruptly and violently upward" (24). In The Hamlet V.K. Varner relates the event a year later to Ab's new landlord in Frenchman's Bend, wryly assuring Will Varner that "the barn burnt all regular and in due course" (16). (It may signify something that the first time readers of The Sound and the Fury hear Caddy's name - as the word "caddie" pronounced by a man playing golf - Benjy Compson is standing on the other side of a vine-covered fence.)

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De Spain Barn
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De Spain Barn