Good Example Of Essay On Colonel Sartoris “Sarty” Snopes

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Family, Father, Parents, Life, Crime, Barn Burning, Justice, Law

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/11/15

Colonel Sartoris Snopes, or Sarty, is plays the hero in William Faulkner’s short story, “Barn Burning .” Forced into a life of crime from a young age, he could have lived a felonious life because that was all he ever knew. However, having a distinct idea about immorality and corruption, he understands his father’s actions do not equate to justice. Though his beginnings are mired in the pits of illegalities and despair, the reader watches as Sarty’s character unfolds, watching his father burn barns and be called to court for his illicit dealings. Sarty’s views on life, morals, and how he develops are centralized upon how we first meet him, at a constant crossroads between good and evil perpetrated by his meddling father. “Barn Burning” sees Sarty at a crossroads wherein he develops as a man, adopts mature worldviews, and changes his motivations in an effort to detach from his corrupt and mentally unhealthy family.
Essentially, “Barn Burning” is a coming-of-age tale concerning Sarty Snopes, wherein he learns the difference between right and wrong, as well as finds his voice in the world. Unfortunately, in Sarty’s world, violence I a fundamental part of growing up, something he learns as his father beats him across the head, saying, “You’re getting to be a man . Sarty begins life, and the story, impressionable and stammering. His father attempts to corrupt him every day and, given Sarty’s poor disposition, it would be an easy feat to accomplish. However, Sarty has a latent understanding of justice that builds as the story progresses. Even though his father is all he has ever known, he understands what his father does it not right. Sartoris represents the typical, raw form of nature that is malleable, receptive to either further natural instincts, or the nurturing of a parent and society. He has been unmarred by education, but societal boundaries influence him as he sees his father called to court.
Sartoris’ is used to following his father’s whims, and the reading may begin to believe he will father his father’s path in life until he sees de Spain’s barn. It is the first time Sartoris shows a natural and, therefore, innate goodness apart from his father. Sarty, uneducated and poor, is unable to articulate the pure feelings he has upon seeing the house and barn, but understands, “he saw the house for the first time and at that instant he forgot his father and the terror and the despair of both .” Having been forced into a life of corruption and destruction his entire life, despair and fear are all Sarty has ever known, but upon seeing the de Spain’s barn for the first time, this void in his life is filled thanks to its beauty. While Sarty may not be able to articulate that the vision of the barn represents justice to him, as well as a crossroads in his life, it does. He sees the barn and understands these things do not belong to him. The barn owner’s live are not his or his father’s, to tamper with. Somewhere within him, he begins to understand what justice really means, and these thoughts come to fruition later, as he prevents his father from burning down the barn in an attempt to make these feelings a reality.
While Sarty’s morality, as well as his worldview, exists beyond the comprehension of his small-minded vocabulary, he begins to develop a mature and worldly sense of insight beyond the adults around him. Even the adults around him, such as his mother, who have no official connection to the barn burnings, are not able to grasp the concepts Sarty sees at such a young age. Sarty begins using these concepts to see through his father’s attempts to control him. For example, Abner often calls upon family loyalty to control Sarty, maintaining his silence in court. Abner states vehemently, “You got to learn to stick to your own blood or you ain’t going to have any blood to stick to you. Do you think either of them, any man there this morning would? Don’t you know all they wanted was a chance to get at me because they knew I had them beat? .” He says this in response to a trial held on behalf of a previous barn burning in which he believed Sarty almost confessed his crimes; he attempts to make Sarty believe he can never confess the truth about the family, even if they are truly wrong, because if he does, he will have nobody to help him through life. The tactic would work on most uneducated individuals, as it has on Sarty’s equally ignorant brother John, but Sarty is able to see through this eventually, realizing that if his father understood loyalty, he would not put Sarty in such positions. The story culminates into a triumphant end with Sarty defying the family honor, ultimately understanding that he will no longer be extended support from the family once he stops his father and confesses, but it is also not the support he wants. He effectively walks away from the legacy his father would have forced upon him, shedding the dishonor he would have stood to carry if he had believed his father and continued helping him commit crimes.
In the, the evolution of Sarty’s character throughout “Barn Burning” is compelling and thoughtful. He begins the story meek and uneducated, at a crossroads between honor and dishonor. His father is belligerent, violent, and psychologically manipulative. He uses these tools in an effort to coerce Sarty into cooperating. However, Sarty begins to adopt new worldviews, despite his father’s manipulative ways. With these new worldviews and mature insights, he constructs a new motivation for his life. While his father demands he respect the family’s circle of loyalty, and support them in order to gain support in return, Sarty begins to understand his father will never be a part of a true justice system. He no longer wants to be a part of a support system so corrupt and manipulative, thus forcing him to reject his family and turn against them. In short, Sarty manages to become a man despite his father’s constant attempts to stunt his emotional growth and arrest his development.

Works Cited

Faulkner, William. Barn Burning . 1950. Book.

Cite this page
Choose cite format:
  • APA
  • MLA
  • Harvard
  • Vancouver
  • Chicago
  • ASA
  • IEEE
  • AMA
WePapers. (2020, November, 15) Good Example Of Essay On Colonel Sartoris “Sarty” Snopes. Retrieved March 20, 2023, from
"Good Example Of Essay On Colonel Sartoris “Sarty” Snopes." WePapers, 15 Nov. 2020, Accessed 20 March 2023.
WePapers. 2020. Good Example Of Essay On Colonel Sartoris “Sarty” Snopes., viewed March 20 2023, <>
WePapers. Good Example Of Essay On Colonel Sartoris “Sarty” Snopes. [Internet]. November 2020. [Accessed March 20, 2023]. Available from:
"Good Example Of Essay On Colonel Sartoris “Sarty” Snopes." WePapers, Nov 15, 2020. Accessed March 20, 2023.
WePapers. 2020. "Good Example Of Essay On Colonel Sartoris “Sarty” Snopes." Free Essay Examples - Retrieved March 20, 2023. (
"Good Example Of Essay On Colonel Sartoris “Sarty” Snopes," Free Essay Examples -, 15-Nov-2020. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 20-Mar-2023].
Good Example Of Essay On Colonel Sartoris “Sarty” Snopes. Free Essay Examples - Published Nov 15, 2020. Accessed March 20, 2023.

Share with friends using:

Related Premium Essays
Types of Essays
Contact us
Chat now