Barn Burning

by: William Faulkner

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained
1. Maybe he will feel it too. Maybe it will even change him now from what maybe he couldn’t help but be.

This quotation occurs as Snopes and Sartoris slowly approach the de Spain house and Sartoris, overwhelmed by the peace and joy he feels in the presence of the large home, wishes for the eradication of sorrow, envy, jealousy, and rage from his family life. Similar sentiments are echoed later, during the incident with the rug. 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 separate from Snopes’s influence. Although Sartoris’s loyalties are divided through most of the story, Faulkner makes it clear where his wavering sympathies ultimately lie: Sartoris desires to conform to a generalized sense of justice that applies equally to all, not the moral relativism of his scoundrel father who expects the family to lie on one another’s behalf. Sartoris believes in the capacity for change, even in his father’s case. His journey in the story involves his gradual acceptance that some individuals are unwilling or unable to reform their criminal ways.