Barn Burning

What differentiates a normal short story from one that its readers
just can’t put down? For some readers, it is a realistic and relatable
character. For others, good short stories are the ones that instill a
theme, an idea within them. I believe that Barn Burning by William
Faulkner falls into this category. Sarty is the story’s main
character. His personal predicament and resulting conscious difficult
decision keep the story moving. He faces a moral dilemma, in which he
must decide between abandoning his blood or fighting for what he
believes is right.

Sarty only knows one way of life, and that is one of paternal abuse
and poverty. Initially, it is made clear that Sarty is different than
his violent father. This is shown during the first encounter in the
courtroom, when his father is blamed for burning down another man's
barn. Sarty is called up by the Justice to speak reveal what he knows
about his father’s involvement in the burning down of Mr. Harris'
barn. Faulkner portrays Sarty in a way that the reader can truly
understand how uncomfortable he is in admitting the truth, considering
he knows that his father did actually commit the crime. Even though
Sarty doesn't say anything in this scene, Faulkner succeeds in showing
the reader the tension that Sarty experiences while he awaits Mr.
Harris' response as to whether or not he wants to continue questioning
him. Sarty wishes he could altogether avoid lying or dishonoring his
father, "But he could hear, and during those subsequent long seconds
while there was absolutely no sound in the crowded little room save
that of quiet and intent breathing it was as if he had swung outward
at the end of a grape vine, over a ravine, and at the top of the swing
had been caught in a prolonged instant of mesmerized gravity,
weightless in time." From here it is pretty apparent to the reader
that Sarty is in a predicament. Because of who his dad is, Sarty
cannot be honest without defying his own...