Barn Burning: Essay Topics & Samples

If you are looking for some Barn Burning topics, prompts, and essay examples, then you are in the right place. Here you will find ten excellent ideas and get a list of samples. They can help you get started on the right note.

Keep reading to get inspired to write an excellent Barn Burning essay.

Essay Topics

  1. Father and son relationship in Barn Burning.
    The Snopes family is the focus of the short story Barn Burning by Faulkner. However, only the son and father relationship is described. What causes the conflict between them? What worldviews do both of them represent? Try to characterize Abner as a father and Sarty as a son. 
  2. Racial struggle in Barn Burning.
    How the writer describes class, racial, and social turmoil in the story? Look at Barn Burning full text and find examples of racial slurs. It is the legacy of the Old South. However, did the New South change that much? Elaborate on your views.
  3. Resentment in Barn Burning by Faulkner.  
    Talk about the reasons for Abner’s resentment. Is it only his economic status or something else? Also, describe how it manifests on different occasions and what he decides to do about it. Do other characters in the story have resentment issues? 
  4. A question of loyalty in Barn Burning  
    The theme of loyalty is one of the most crucial in the entire story. Sarty chooses to stay loyal to his sense of justice or be faithful to his blood. You can try to analyze how the boy’s thoughts shift throughout the story. 
  5. American dream in Barn Burning.
    How does the writer describe the poverty and wealth in the story? What are the possessions of the Snopes? Compare them with the de Spain’s possessions. Is America in Faulkner’s story described as the land of justice and opportunity? 
  6. The tone of Faulkner’s Barn Burning.
    What is the overall tone of the short story? How does Sarty describe his family and his sisters in particular? Elaborate on how the narrator describes Sarty’s emotions and feelings. What tone does it set for the entire story? It may feel as if the whole family is at war. Is it true? 
  7. The point of view in Barn Burning.
    Comment on the narrator’s point of view in the story. What type of technique Faulkner used in the story? Explore what effect this technique allows him to achieve. Does he know everything, or is his perspective still limited? 
  8. The meaning of the fire in Barn Burning.
    The symbolism of fire is essential for understanding the story. First, dwell on the reasons why Abner uses fire to serve justice. What does fire usually represent? You can also discuss what fire means for Sarty. When he talks about campfires, he mentions it slightly.  
  9. Sarty’s internal struggle.
    The boy’s fight for independence is an important theme. Why does he want to break away so much? Describe what type of conflicts are present during Sarty’s internal struggle. He experiences three stages, from conformity to independence from his father. 
  10. The purpose of introducing the court hearings into the story.
    What do the court hearings in Barn Burning represent? Do they represent justice or something else? Abner attends the hearings. However, he feels that their decision is not just. So, he takes justice into his own hands. Why does the story start with the court hearing? 

Essay Samples

Here you will find some helpful essay samples. Not only can it give you some inspiration of what to write, but it can also provide you with a clear direction and understanding on some of the Barn Burning topics.

  1. “Barn Burning” a Story by William Faulkner
    This essay encompasses many topics and themes, starting from the racial question and ending up with father-son relationships. It also explains the historical background in which the story took place. A great place to start your research and a brainstorming session.
  2. Literary Analysis of “A Rose for Emily” by W. Faulkner
    This essay deals with a different short story. However, it can be helpful as it speaks a lot about the techniques Faulkner employed in his writing. As the author’s style is not the easiest, it explains why and how literary devices are being used.
  3. “Rose for Emily” and “Barn Burning” Comparison
    After the previous essay samples, you can finally see the comparison of the short stories. See what themes William Faulkner implemented in both of them and how characters suffer from the consequences of their actions. Besides, the author of the essay examines the overall surroundings of the stories and their influence on the atmosphere and tone.
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