The story implies that being in self – control and patient are necessary to think properly and to distinguish right from wrong during the time of troubles in life. It also seeks out the actual nature of man, just like in Sarty’s case where it is a must that every individual should stand by their own principle in doing the right thing.
When Abner feels pressure from an authority, he takes the power away from these authorities by burning what they own, an attitude that most of the people possess causing more dilemma. Burning symbolizes Abner’s way of escaping from anger and probably serves as Abner’s sense of relief for the discrimination and grievances in his work. Fire representsAbner’s power whenever he searches for his own way of fairness. In addition, the presence of spring in the story stands for hope in which, Sarty as a young man, is able to find peace and calm(Shmoop, 31).
In one of the quotations in the story, the Snopes’ family slowly approaches the de Spain house and stated “Maybe he will feel it too. Maybe it will even change him now from what maybe he couldn’t help but be”. The quotation reflects Sartoris hopes that his father will learn a lesson from having to pay for the carpet’s replacement and will finally “stop forever and always from being what he used to be.” Both of these statements reveal that Sartoris has a core of morality that is separated from Snopes’ influence.
The story is a good example to boost moral development. The story also makes clear representations of Sartoris’ desires to obey the rules to a generalized sense of justice that applies equally to all, not the moral relativism of his lawbreaker father who expects. Sartoris believes in the capacity for change, even in his father’s case and his journey in the story involves his gradual acceptance that some individuals are unwilling or unable to change their unlawful act.
Shmoop.Barn Burning: Shmoop Literature Guide. Shmoop University, Inc., 2010. p. 14–35.