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Abner neither robs them of the valuable items which he would take into his possession as something that belongs to him for his hard work; nor does he start murdering the people whom he considers his enemies.Quite on the contrary, his dissatisfaction with the society makes him set a barn on fire.
The use of fire is rather symbolic, since the given element has quite a long record in the world history, starting with Herodotus and up to the recent notorious arsons; point being, fire is a symbol of complete destruction, with no turning back, and Faulkner knows it.
Therefore, starting with the point at which Abner decides to put the barn on fire, he stops being a cartoony character and becomes a symbol of blind yet powerful force – a rebellion among the lowest of the low that have finally become fed up with their situation.
It is characterized by the presence of the wealthy landowners and the comfortable lives that they live as opposed to the Snopes’ family that does not have a permanent place to stay.
To earn a living, the Snopes’ family has to work in the plantations of the land owning families as sharecroppers.
Making the readers consider the social factors which induced the lead character, notorious Abner Snopes, Faulkner does not reveal these factors himself – he describes the setting, the environment in which the character lives, the ideas that occasionally rush through his mind, and the few interactions which he has in his daily life, mostly with his son and his neighbors: “He could not see the table where the Justice sat and before which his father and his father’s enemy (our enemy he thought in that despair; ourn! Thus, the reader is immediately immersed into the atmosphere of a dull, good-for-nothing life, which finally drives Abner to a rebellion.
Barn Burning Summary
At this point, it becomes obvious that the novel is more than just a story of two crimes and a treachery; it is a study of human nature, in its ugliness and naivety.
At this point, the fact that Faulkner wrote his novel in 1939, the year when the aftermath of the American Civil War peaked higher than ever, is worth considering.
Therefore, it can be considered that the novel, with its characters, is a product of its time, just as dark and miserable as poor Abner.
The landowners had amassed wealth and build themselves mansions whereas their workers 9the poor) lacked permanent homes, since they lived as squatters.
Despite a relatively simple plot, the novel actually touches upon a number of significant social issues which have survived the test of time and are topical even now, developing a satiric representation of these issues (Zender 48).