My Way or the Highway: Sarty's Moral Dilemma.
As "Barn Burning" by William Faulkner opens, an adolescent boy named Sartoris Snopes is in court, hoping he will not have to testify in the arson case against his father. A charge of which Sarty knows his father is absolutely guilty. Mr. Harris, who has never done anything to Sarty himself, is nonetheless Sarty's enemy because he is his father's enemy, and Sarty has not yet separated himself from his father. Sarty's attitude changes in this coming of age story when Sarty changes from being loyal to his family, to knowing the difference between right and wrong and doing something about it.
Throughout the story, it is show many times that Sarty has not yet separated himself from his father. For example, Sarty does everything his father says without questioning, which is probably due to the fact that if he does not, his father will abuse him, but Sarty also probably believes that his father knows best. Sarty's father says, "You got to learn to stick to your blood or you ain't going to have any blood to stick to you- (227). This was drilled into Sarty's head throughout his life and is the reason that Sarty fights the guy in the courtroom, not because the guy does anything to Sarty directly, but because he insults Sarty's father, so Sarty feels it was an insult to him as well. Even at the end of the story it is shown that Sarty is loyal to his family when he says, "He won't git no ten bushels neither. He won't git one- (236). The reason Sarty is mad is because his father is mad, and he feels like he has to be mad, which proves even further that he has not yet separated himself from his family. .
Sarty's family are itinerant farmers, but they move around even more often than is typical because of his father's habit of burning something down every time he gets angry. Sarty realizes that there is something deeply psychologically wrong with his father, and it is shown from the very beginning that Sarty does not agree with what his father does.