Abner Snopes: Cold Authority

917 WordsMay 5, 20054 Pages
In "Barn Burning," Abner is described as stiff, wolf-like, and without heat because of his coldness and bitterness toward society in which he was part of during the time of the War Between the States. The main character is Abner Snopes who sharecrops to make a living for his family; in his story, Faulkner describes a typical relationship between wealthy people and poor people during that particular time. When described as stiff, we see Abner's abruptness and coldness towards his family as well as others in his community. Abner's authoritative figure makes his coldness more threatening and his patriarchal figure puts more force into his coldness. Faulkner portrays him as wolf-like and without heat as well; this description shows us…show more content…
As a result, he set out that night to burn the DeSpain's barn. To Abner, breaking the law means having his dignity restored. By restoring his dignity, Abner can be part of society without having to feel humiliated by his sharecropper life—and also to keep his pride intact. Violence also plays a role on Abner's character. Throughout the story, Abner showed violence toward his family. He slaps Sarty when Abner found out that Sarty was about to tell the truth about Mr. Harris' barn in the beginning of the story and also knocked his wife backwards toward their wall on the night when he decided to burn the DeSpain's barn. The violence continues when Abner forced his way into the DeSpain's mansion--he enters the house, "flinging the door back and the Negro also and entering, his hat still on his head" (500). This showed that Abner held no remorse for anyone--"without heat." As the story progresses further, Abner's character stays the same—cold, threatening, and dispassionate. The main meaning behind the story involves how a poor man feels when the law is based on the wealthy; it portrays Abner as a cold-hearted father and husband, as a cold authoritative figure, and as a lawless and violent man, which at the end of the story, leads him to the death of
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