Family is the most influential aspect of a child's life. The experiences of family life lay the groundwork for the kind of man or woman a child will become. In this crucial stage, children need to experience love "the unconditional love only strong family ties can produce. William Faulkner's short stories revolve around the family relationships established by the characters, and the conflict arising from these relationships "or because of them "drive the stories. As in life, the influence of family members often has long lasting effects on Faulkner's characters. By illustrating the tragic lives of two children deprived of the love of their fathers, two of Faulkner's short stories exemplify his "family centered- approach: "Barn Burning- and "A Rose for Emily,"".
"Barn Burning- is the story of Sarty Snopes' maturation and separation from his father, Abner. The story appears to be told by an older Sarty looking back on the events of his childhood. From the beginning it is obvious that he is not happy with his father's activities (burning barns). His father is being tried in court, and Sarty thinks of the justice as his father's enemy, and has to remind himself that his father's cause should be his as well. "Our enemy he thought in that despair; ourn! mine and hisn both! He's my father!- (Faulkner 1). As the story progresses, Sarty reveals the true nature of his father: he is a controlling, malicious man with no clear conscience. From his activities during the Civil War "stealing horses and goods from both sides "to his habit of barn burning, Abner does not set the tone for a strong, healthy family unit. The opening scene, his trial, gives a good indication of the kind of man Abner is. Concepts like love or compassion are lost on him. .
Abner does not talk to his family, he simply gives orders. Also, he thinks nothing of inflicting physical punishment on those around him.