This activity asks you to identify a theme in a complex modern story of the deep south. Completing this activity gives you the skill necessary to write about theme in other forms of literature such as poetry and drama that you will study over the duration of this course.
Begin this activity by reading William Faulkner’s famous short story “Barn Burning”. Use the module notes and readings from Module 1 to help guide your understanding of the story’s theme. Clearly, the story grapples with a universal theme of justice, but what about justice does this story focus on and how, if at all, are the complexities of this theme resolved? To help understand Faulkner’s very sophisticated narrative techniques and to see an example of a scholarly analysis of the short story, please read: Ford, M. (1998). Narrative legerdemain: Evoking Sarty’s future in ‘Barn Burning’. Mississippi Quarterly (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site., 51(3), 527.
You can also view the following videos to help you understand the plot, characters, and narrative of this profound little story:
• Plot of Faulkner’s “Barn Burning” (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. [Video, 06 min 29 sec]
• “Barn Burning” by William Faulkner Analysis (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. [Video, 04 min 27 sec]
• Shelby Foote on William Faulkner and the American South (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.[Video, 29 min 25 sec]
When you have completed the introductory work, write a 500-750 word maximum essay on your understanding of the primary theme of William Faulkner’s “Barn Burning.” You should quote short passages (4 lines or less) from the story to support your argument. Of course, there are many essays on this classic story, so if you use another author’s commentary on the story, such as the one you are asked to read in this module, make sure to cite that author’s article including the website using APA formatting.
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