Barn Burning by William Faulkner, Character Analysis
Uploaded by SamSkillz on Feb 22, 2004
Abner Snopes Character Analysis
Main Character in Barn Burning by William Faulkner
A father is a figure commonly known for his compassion and general desire for the best in his family’s interest. However, this is not the case in “Barn Burning” by William Faulkner. Abner Snopes, with complete disregard for others, commits arsonist crimes in order to wreak havoc against his victims in a twisted game of hatred and complete lack of respect. His deeds force his family to move constantly. However, he is prepared for each relocation, and plans his actions carefully. Without emotion, he strikes his children and wife, and with the same lack of emotion he commits each impudent act of arson or breach of respect. Abner is vengeful, abusive, and unfeeling.
Abner is accurately portrayed as an unemotional, yet vindictive character. In the very beginning of the story, he exacts his revenge upon Mr. Harris by burning down his barn. This occurred after the forewarned Abner allowed his hog to get into Mr. Harris’ corn for the third time. “…The hog got into my corn…a nigger came with a dollar and got the hog…” This quotation shows how Abner invoked his vengeance upon his victims with sheer cunning. Another example of his vengeful attitude occurs when Abner enters the home of Major de Spain, with whom he will soon be sharecropping. “He examined the house with brief deliberation…with the same deliberation he turned….leaving a final long and fading smear.” This quotation demonstrates his utter hatred and vengefulness. Abner examines the house and sees its perfection for a final time. He takes his revenge upon Major de Spain’s success by leaving a mark from the manure on his shoe. The final example of his vengefulness is the strongest. Because Major de Spain is to receive ten bushels of corn for the damage done to his rug, Abner attempts to burn down his barn as well. “…get that can of oil…”
This quote shows Abner intended to burn down Major de Spain’s barn as revenge for being forced to pay him ten bushels of corn. Abner Snopes is a vindictive, heartless man.
Abner Snopes is an abusive man. He strikes his children and wife numerous times. One case occurs after Sarty thinks of telling the court that his father had committed a crime. “You were fixing to tell them…His father struck him…” These quotations in which Abner hits and...