Barn Burning By William Faulkner

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Barn Burning by William Faulkner

Barn Burning by William Faulkner


William Faulkner (1897-1962), one of the most celebrated writers of the American modernist period, created lasting stories about the experiences of people with disabilities in the early twentieth century. Sometimes these were deployed as metaphors of social decay, but Faulkner also wrote memorable portraits by imagining disabled people's subjective perspective of the world. This excerpt from The Sound and the Fury, a novel narrated by multiple characters, opens with a first-person narrative of Benjamin Compson (“Benjy”), a 33-yearold man diagnosed with “idiocy” who was based on a neighbor of Faulkner's with Down syndrome. The second excerpt is narrated by Benjy's brother, Jason Compson, a violent eugenicist who would like to have his sibling institutionalized so he would no longer “disgrace” his fallen aristocratic Southern family. The dialectic between the two demonstrates the violence directed at cognitively disabled people during the eugenics period.


"Barn flaming" (set in about 1895) undoes in a country shop, which is doubling as a fairness of the Peace Court. Ahungry boy entitled Sarty craves the meat and dairy dairy cheese in the store. He's afraid. His dad, Abner Snopes, is in court, accused of burning down Mr. Harris's barn. Sarty is called up to testify against his dad, and he understands he's going to have to lie and say his dad didn't set alight the barn. The Justice and Mr. Harris recognize they are putting the juvenile young man in a awful place, and they let him off the hook. The Judge tells Mr. Snopes to leave the shire and never arrive back.

On the way out of the law court a kid calls Sarty "Barn Burner!" and bangs him down, two times (16). Sarty endeavours to follow the kid but his dad stops him. Sarty, his older brother, and his dad get into the family wagon, where his mother, auntie, and two sisters are waiting. The wagon is currently laden with their broken possessions.

Thead covering evening, the family camps. After Sarty falls asleep, his dad wakes him up and notifies Sarty to pursue him. Sarty does. His dad accuses him of being on the verge of betraying him in court. He hits Sarty. Then he notifies him that the most significant thing is to stand by your family.

The next day the Snopes reach at their new home, a shack on the ranch where they will ...
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