barn burning

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William Faulkner's short story, "Barn Burning," discusses the problems of the sharecropper, in the late nineteenth century South. Primarily a story about the relationship between father and son, the story presents itself through the use of symbolism. The most vital symbol in the story is fire. The fire symbolizes the father's anger and, his lack of respect for other peoples property. The story uses the symbolism of fire in two ways. The story begins and …

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…out with the full force of his hatred. In "Barn Burning" fire represents anger and power. Through his sheer enjoyment of the negative sides of his anger and power, Abner rips his family apart. In a way, Faulkner writes as a moralist. He demonstrates through his character Abner why a reasonable approach to adversity and letdowns is necessary, to avoid allowing one's problems to get so bad that they engulf the subject like an inferno.