Barn Burning and “Araby”
Coming of age: Sarty in “Barn Burning” & the narrator in “Araby” experiences compared
Coming of age is an important theme learnt from Sarty in “Barn Burning” when he realizes that he must choose between good and wrong in spite of his chaotic family background of unending violence mingled in their culture. Sarty’s worldview is that violence forms an integral but of manhood which he derives out of his father beating him. What Sarty does at the end to fulfill his destiny is running away from the family by stopping to adhere to the traditions. Hence, to the family he is an outcast but to himself e is a free man to start all over again. On the other hand, the Araby narrator picks up the theme in a nonviolent environment but love filled one. The narrator begins the story at the moment a young boy crushes on a girl. His love for the girl finally makes him leave his home town and learn the world differently. This paper will, therefore, utilize the theme coming of age to compare the experiences of Sarty in “Barn Burning” and that of the narrator in “Araby.”
Both stories present characters that are originally moral, uncorrupt, and naïve. As from Sarty, it is revealed that this ten-year-old boy, though in the father’s attempt to train him which is actually corrupting his influence, he still retains some sense of justice. The de Spain house was one thing that brought him the peace that he couldn’t verbalize, but his latter reaction concerning the same house showed that he loves it. In fact, all his reactions do stem from his goodness and morality instead of corruption that the father tries to teach him. Similarly, the Araby’s narrator presents a devout Catholic boy who’s not adventured and seen evils beyond his hometown. The boy is later on corrupted when taken out of town to an “evil” environment that makes him see the world differently, unlike his previous state.
Unlike Sarty’s story in “Barn Burning” where he finally becomes the disillusionment to the family, the narrator in Araby shows that the girl, in the narration, brings disillusionment to the boy through exposing him to more chaos-related life than his quiet and peaceful life in North Richmond Street. Actually Sarty know that the vice versa is true for his case, but Araby’s boy character can’t realize that the one he sees as the embodiment of purity and “confused adoration” is the source of his confusion. Thus, the coming of age theme marries perfectly well with that of disillusionment in “Araby” which is no significant theme in “Barn Burning.”
Both authors, Faulkner and Joyce, of “Barn Burning” and “Araby” respectively, the style of writing in terms of describing the story characters, additionally brings out this excellent theme: coming of age. Joyce’s story gives a contrast between the quiet, peaceful street and a chaotic ending that reveals to us the boy’s inner turmoil concerning the world’s fullness of vanities. Then Joyce uses disillusionment theme to characterize the boy, who eventually noticed how the world really was. As regards Faulkner’s story, the frequent violent homestead due to the chaotic, corrupting influence of Sarty’s father is later on “betrayed” by Sarty when he runs away from home to preserve his own honor. To Sarty, peace is found outside his home and only away from the family both physically and culturally. In both stories, the main characters are left to reason out with their own future after coming to age with all they met.
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