This short story provides the closest look at the nuclear family to which Flem Snopes belongs. It is narrated from the perspective of an adolescent who bears the oxymoronic name "Colonel Sartoris Snopes." He is deeply torn between his visceral hunger to belong to the family, and his instinctive knowledge that the behavior of his father Ab, a "barn burner" and domestic abuser, is horribly wrong. Through Sarty's eyes, Ab appears as both a villain and the victim of an economic system - tenant farming - that he can never overcome. In the end Sarty leaves both the family and Yoknapatawpha, with his questions about himself, his family and his culture still unresolved. Sarty never appears again in the fictions. His older brother is not named, but readers of Faulkner's other works know he is Flem - a name that raises no interpretive questions about his character.

Display Name: 
"Barn Burning"
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Snopeses in Barn Burning
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Affiliated Characters

Abner Snopes - "Barn Burning"
Lennie Snopes - "Barn Burning"
Net Snopes - "Barn Burning"
Sarty Snopes - "Barn Burning"
Snopes, Unnamed Twin of Net - "Barn Burning"