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Barn Burning

3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  602 ratings  ·  26 reviews
Paperback, 47 pages
Published January 1st 2007 by Perfection Learning (first published January 1st 1996)
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Thing is, this is the story that gets so widely anthologized that it becomes people's first- and only-exposure to the world of Faulkner; the runonsentences; the stream-of-consciousness; the family drama (or what Freud called 'the family romance'); the pervading fatalism and doom and shame and endurance on the part of the characters, no All-American hero or come from behind, Horatio Alger here, no sir...

What happens, as I see it at least, is that unsuspecting kids who have to take a higher-leve...more
Not my favorite - but fuck, Faulkner, I would have liked a drink with you.

[3.5 stars for Faulkner being, well, Faulkner.]
Well. I thought I didn't like this story very much at all. I figured two stars, but the more I thought it over, the stronger my feelings got. I didn't have very much fun while I read it, it's true. This story is the perspective of a little boy, named after a Colonel of the Civil War (during which his father seems to have un-heroically just stolen horses), as his family is uprooted when his father gets kicked out of town for the dozenth time, for arson. His father is a horrible man, and the story...more
Kara Strebel
This is about a boy who is growing up, wanting to find himself. He has a racist father, who is the alpha male in every situation and is doing things that this boy is not ok with. He has always followed along because its his family, but throughout the story, he begins to develop his own moral code.

I liked this short story. It was a little dragged out for me, but was still a way better short story than some I have read this semester. It teaches some morals and makes people ask themselves what they...more
Somewhere in me there's a jealous boy who loves the opportunity to bash literary classics. As I experiment more as a writer, it becomes a little harder to do and a little easier, each time, to appreciate the difficulty of what an author attempted. It is with great pleasure I bash "Barn Burning".

This is one of the longest short stories I've ever read. "Barn Burning" is like Norm MacDonald's moth joke with less punchline and no animation. The plot and dialogue lack engagement. The underlying messa...more
Rick Wilcox
“His father turned, and he followed the stiff black coat, the wiry figure walking a little stiffly from where a Confederate provost’s man’s musket ball had taken him in the heel on a stolen horse thirty years ago, followed the two backs now, since his older brother had appeared from somewhere in the crowd, no taller than the father but thicker, chewing tobacco steadily, between the two lines of grim-faced men and out of the store and across the worn gallery and down the sagging steps and among t...more
Mar 23, 2011 Brandon rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: estranged children, people wrestling with racism and poverty
Recommended to Brandon by: Jim Hinkle
This story questions Old Testament law on the point of "honor thy mother and father." I had to read this story in college, but I keep going back to it because my parents separated when I was Sarty's age, so my high rating for this story might have a lot to do with how the story resonates with me, but that aside, I'd say that Sarty's ability to leave his blood is one of the most frightening experiences someone could face.

Yes, he turns his back on his family, but he turns his back on his family t...more
Faulkner's short story really made me consider the saying 'blood is thicker than water'. This story is proof that you can't live your life by just one phrase, saying or idea.
Dalya Bordman
Barn Burning is a short and straightforward read. The reader gets a great sense of the time period (post civil war) and gets a sense of the culture of the times. The protagonist, Sarty Snopes has to deal with an internal conflict of agreeing with his family or listening to his ethical and moral inclinations. In the end, Sarty decides to do what is right, and disobeys his father and his family. As a writer, I learned that the main character's thoughts do not always need to be the explicitly writt...more
Kevin Wu
Hard to understand my first go around, wasn't able to fully appreciate.
A father, tyrant in his own home, is accused of burning down the barn of his landlord and has to leave. At his new position he again gets into trouble with his landlord and again feels so wronged that he sets out to set fire to another barn.

This short story is told from the perspective of the culprits son. The reader only sees what's happening through the boy's eyes and feelings. The underlying tension in the post-Civil War South between the tennants and land owners isn't explicitly described, b...more
Francene Carroll
William Faulkner is an outstanding author and this short story confirms my already high opinion of him. I love the way he puts you right in the story and makes you feel for the characters. Barn Burning is heart wrenching and so beautifully written. I had to read it for a creative writing class and it's fascinating the way he plays around with point of view (or focalisation as I've now learnt to call it).
Kerri Anne Stebbins
One of myriad reasons to love Faulkner: Give him thirty-four pages and he'll give you an unforgettable story simultaneously sobering and smirk-inducing.

[Four stars for a stellar first line ("The store in which the Justice of the Peace's court was sitting smelled of cheese."), apt alliteration ("incorrigible idle inertia"), and an ending both haunting and hopeful.]

Interesting hypnotic, trance-like, and sombre story. I didn't understand what was going on, to be honest. The protagonist's father reminds me ominously of Joe Christmas's foster father in Light in August.

I couldn't believe that the protagonist was the Colonel that is briefly mentioned (and is already dead) in "A Rose for Emily".
Read this entire story and still wasn't quite sure what it was all about. I get that it was about burning barns, but I wasn't quite sure as to the why, I guess it's kind of mysterious in that sense. It was written very eloquently, however the story and characters really didn't mean anything to me in the end.
The story has a lot to say and it says it rather poetically. I've just never been the biggest fan of Faulkner, and the story was a little difficult to drag through on the first reading. When I went back and looked a little harder, I liked it a lot better.
The boy is torn between his family loyalty and his conscience, and he chooses the latter.
Although the story illustrates family discord and breakup, I see hope for future in the last sentence "He did not look back."
Not a big Faulkner fan, but this story was amazingly written. So much communicated with so few words. Okay, so maybe Faulkner was brilliant.
Yashi McGowan
faulkner was amazing for showing the poor share croppers feelings its good to see the other side of these times
Not my favourite story, but incredibly eloquently written.
not my favorite from Faulkner, but I still dig his style.
Kira Budge
*Read for school sophomore college*
My favorite piece of short fiction
Patty Chang
Fabulous. Perfect.
Jan 06, 2014 Kelli marked it as to-read
Not in library
Justin marked it as to-read
Oct 21, 2014
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  • Recitatif
  • The Blue Hotel
  • Paul's Case
  • The Swimmer
  • Araby (Dubliners)
  • The Guest (Creative Short Stories)
  • A Good Man Is Hard To Find
  • The Imp of The Perverse
  • Everyday Use
  • Sonny's Blues
  • A White Heron
  • Desiree's Baby
  • Un señor muy viejo con unas alas enormes
  • The Garden of Forking Paths
  • The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County
  • Shiloh and Other Stories
  • Hills like White Elephants
  • The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas
William Cuthbert Faulkner was a Nobel Prize-winning American novelist and short story writer. One of the most influential writers of the twentieth century, his reputation is based mostly on his novels, novellas, and short stories. He was also a published poet and an occasional screenwriter.
The majority of his works are based in his native state of Mississippi. Though his work was published as earl...more
More about William Faulkner...
The Sound and the Fury As I Lay Dying Light in August Absalom, Absalom! A Rose for Emily

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