A little boy is torn nearly in two by his own heart in conflict with itself--as if being pulled apart by two teams of horses. That boy, Colonel Sartoris Snopes, also known as Sarty, knows that his father is a barn burner, but feels the "old fierce pull of blood" -- "He's my Father!"
William Faulkner's "Barn Burning" is a story of a child whose moral courage is tested against the ancient pull of blood. Abner Snopes is a horse thief, a barn burner, a cold and perverse man. How did Faulkner do it? "Barn Burning" is a glory of a story--the mute and mulish perversity of Snopes, apalling and outrageous; the thwarted loyalty of the young Sarty, and his deathless hope for change in his father. Every detail is perfect: the smell of cheese in the store where the Justice of the Peace hears the case against Abner Snopes, the bovine twin Snopes daughters, the horse manure Snopes drags across the blond carpet of his employer.
Faulkner is known for his extravant imagination, his creation of a landscape (the fictional Yoknapatawpha County), and his stream of consciousness style. His short stories are as powerful as his novels: you can read "Barn Burning" in a single sitting, and you will never forget it.