Compare and contrast essay
The story Barn Burning is by William Faulkner and was written in 1939. The story entails making a choice between being true to self and betraying someone close. The other short story of interest in this essay is Great Falls by Richard ford, published in 1944. Ford’s narration is centered on the discovery of a mother’s infidelity.
In both stories, the authors have put much attention on the father-son relationship. After reading through Richard’s story, we can say that the narrator enjoyed spending time with his father. We are not told that he was forced to go with his old man hunting or fishing; he ought to have done that out of free will. “I thought even then, with as little as I knew, that these were opportunities other boys would dream of having but probably never would (Bausch 537).” From this, readers learn that Jack’s son appreciated his father’s effort into spending time with him. We cannot say the same when it comes to the story’ barn burning. For instance, the night after being banned from the county, Sarty is taken for a walk with his father. He reprimands him for almost betraying him in court. How Abner handles his son amid their conversation tells that he was hard on his son, and this was intimidating for Sarty. “If I had said they wanted only truth, justice, he would have hit me again (Bausch 510).” Abner made his son uncomfortable and tended to beat him.
Under normal circumstances in life, fathers are caretakers who encourage their children to decide what is right and wrong. But when it comes to William’s narration, Abner portrays a contrary impression of a father figure. Instead of letting his son make decisions and guide him in case he makes a wrong turn, Abner wants Sarty to violate the oath of court and be a false witness. Abner was guilty of burning Harris’ barn, and only Sarty would prove that. The father in this story inflicts fear into his son to ensure he lies for him. The case in ‘Great Falls’ by Richard is different; the father talks to his son about life. Their conversations are in-depth and personal. For instance, Jack mentions to his son what his wife once told him, that heartbreaks could not kill (Bausch 538). From this, we learn that they had a close relationship in which they could confide secrets and personal thoughts to each other.
Also, in Richard’s story, the child loves and adores his parents. We deduce this when he says that his fear is the passing away of either his father or mother before him. Jackie is so fond of his parents, and the imagination of living without them is almost unbearable for him. Looking into the other story by William, Sarty considers snitching on his father in court though he knew he would have been sent to jail for quite some time. Perhaps he thought life would somehow be much better if his father were absent.
Throughout ‘Barn Burning,’ there is no part that a reader feels any form of child-parent admiration. There is no mention of a family activity that the Snopes’ did to pass the time or bound. In ‘Great Fall,’ at least the father and son went duck hunting together. However, towards the end of the tale, the nature of the narrator’s relationship with his parents starts taking a different turn. Jackie feels disappointed by his mother after discovering she is not the person he has always known her to be, and to add on, she is leaving. Things will no longer be the same between Jackie and his father as he did nothing to stop his wife from departing. The young man felt disappointed because his father was not the man he had always taught him to be. Jackie had always looked up to his father and envied him. But all this was shuttered when Woody came into the picture.
In conclusion, the main difference in the child-parent relationship between the two stories is affection. In ‘Great fall,’ the parents are caring and have been emotionally supportive, contrary to what transpires in ‘Barn Burning.’
Bausch, Richard. The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction. W. W. Norton & Company, 2015.