Barn Burning by William Faulkner is a short story told through the eyes of Sartoris Snopes, who is the ten-year-old son of the rebellious Abner Snopes. Throughout the story, "Sarty" is faced with a harsh choice; either he strictly relies on his father for guidance, or he molds his own future by surpassing his father's estranged ways. Sarty is clearly able to differentiate between right and wrong, but will he witness his father's wrong doings and stand up for himself? As a round character, Sarty allows three of his father's actions to help him realize that he does not want to be like his father: a burned barn, a ruined rug, and a second attempt to burn a barn.
Early on in the story, Sarty finds himself sitting in the presence of the Justice wanting to defend his father even though he knew his father had burned their landlord's barn out of rebellion for the pig incident. The question is: Why would Sarty defend his father for something he knew his father did? Clearly Sarty was too young to go against his father. Young children do not have much authority over their parents; therefore, he could not tell on his father without being punished. Sarty was also too young to form his own opinion about morality. Since Sarty grew up watching his mother obey his father, he figured that he should rightfully do the same. Like his father, the ten-year-old visibly deemed the Landlord, Mr. Harris, as the enemy. So, as Sarty sat in front of the Justice's court, he was fully ready to defend his father. Although he did not have to speak in front of the Justice, his family was banned from the country.
None of these wrong doings had fazed Sarty until he saw the house of their new landlord, Major de Spain. "Hit's big as a courthouse", Sarty thought to himself. Secretly, he hoped that his father would change his ways by seeing what he could have by acting appropriately towards all situations. Sarty watched on as his father purposely stepped into a pile of horse droppings before leaving a stain on the rug that his new landlord had owned.