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This depiction of the agrarian society of the Sartoris family connects Faulkner to the nostalgic yearnings for a past expressed in I'll Take My Stand, the Fugitives' manifesto of 1930, a book opening the decade yet echoing sentiments of past decades.At the start of our classroom discussion of "Barn Burning," we can explain the tenets of the Fugitives, their traditional, aristocratic attitudes, and their reverence for the landed gentry life style.
We can focus on the description of the de Spain home and property, with its opulence and privilege, as representative of the Agrarians' version of "the good life." Early we need to emphasize and discuss the attraction of the young boy Colonel Sartoris Snopes to the security and comfort of this style, his attraction to his namesake's heritage.
In his rendition of the Sartoris-like agrarian society, Faulkner acknowledges its dichotomy: the injustice, the lack of fair play, the blacks' subservience, and the divisiveness within the community which empire builders like the Sartorises and the de Spains wrought.
His supposed supremacy as a white man is challenged by the black servant who obviously holds a superior position in the doorway.
The black's appearance and his authoritorial position over Snopes within the confines of the house mock the Snopeses' claims to racial superiority.
At the heart of Abner's defiance is his awareness that the man in the big house "aims to begin owning me body and soul for the next eight months." This outrage at his plight as tenant farmer fuels the father's rebellion against the class structure.
Essay On Barn Burning
To attack the aristocratic class, Abner Snopes deliberately builds his fires to bum the property owned by the boss and twice destroys the rug.
Foremost as such an example of social injustice is the encounter at the doorway of the de Spain mansion between the Snopes father and son and the de Spain black house servant.
At this moment young Colonel Sartoris Snopes (whose very names pit the aristocratic, land-owning rich against the tenant farmer poor) is ushered into the reality of class differences, that being the cleavage within the local community.
The boy Sarty responds to the big house with a "surge of peace and joy." Its bigness-"Hit's big as a courthouse"-to his fresh eyes seems to guarantee safety, dignity, and peace from the barn-burning menace of his father.
But the old, neatly dressed black servant in his linen jacket bars the door with his body and commands the father, who has deliberately put his foot down in a pile of fresh horse droppings, to "wipe ya foot, white man." Saying "Get out of my way, nigger," the father enters the house and imprints his besmeared footprints on the rug.