differences in relationships in killings and barn burning


In the story "Killings" by Andre Dubus, as well as "Barn Burning" by William Faulkner, you see some major differences, but also some similarities in the way fathers interact with their children. First, you see the way anger affects those relationships, as well as how anger hurts them.

Secondly, you see how the law is detested by both fathers in both stories, this is a commonly shared trait, but the reason for the hatred is totally different for both fathers. Lastly, you see the way the actual communication relationship is between both fathers and their sons. In one story you may see an almost "forced" reason for communication, while the other story, the father longs to be able to communicate with his deceased son.

You can begin to see the fathers in both stories reacting to anger in many ways. In "Barn Burning" you understand that on the way out of the courthouse, Col. Sartoris Snopes is attacked by a boy in the crowd. "As his father's hand, jerked him back, the harsh, cold voice speaking above him: "Go get in the wagon".

Instead of checking on his son after the attack, he simply snatched him up and ordered him to the wagon without even examining the wounds. Not only did the father send the boy to the wagon, he would not allow the boy's mother to check on him, "She was crying, though when she saw him she drew her sleeve across her face and began to descend from the wagon. "GET BACK" the father said." Dubus's "Killings" tends to handle anger differently.

Dubus is not angry at his son, or even his family. Matt Fowler, The father of a recently killed 21 year old boy, is angry at the killer, you see this in the story many times, "He walks the Goddamn Streets". Not Many people tend to use the word Goddamn unless it's being used as a negative or hatred based reinforcement in text. The fact that Matt stayed when his son Steve said, I should kill him" referring to Frank's killer. Steve said this not once, but twice, talking to his father.

The only similarity I saw in these two stories is the father's detested opinion of the law. "Barn Burning" makes a few clear examples of the father's peculiar ways. In the beginning, Sartoris is called to be cross-examined by the court, but you do not see the punishment for this until later in the text, "You were fixing to tell them.

You would have told them, He didn't answer, his father struck him". Abner, the boy's father simply struck him on the assumption that the boy would not lie for his father. Matt Fowler, in "Killings" tends to be against the law for other reasons. "his salary, and tips augmented and perhaps sometimes matched, by his father who also posted his bond", not only do you see that Frank's killer is out of jail, his father is helping pay his bond to keep him out, while the family is attending the funeral. Frank doesn't want his son's killer to be free, and definitely not walking the streets.

The topic of emotional relationships is far different in both stories as well. In Faulkner's "Barn Burning" you see the father is not even deeply involved in the life of his son. In the part of the story, while they are camping, you see his father tell Sartoris, "You're getting to be a man. You got to learn.

You got to learn to stick to your own blood or you ain't going to have any blood to stick to you." So in this excerpt, you see his father basically coaxing him into lying to defend his father's wrongdoings, regardless of agreement. In "Killings", you tend to see a different form of emotion. Even after Matt murders his son's killer, at the end of the story he still is emotional at the loss of his son, "She was holding him, wanting him, and he wished he could make love with her but he could not.

He saw Frank and Mary Ann making love in her bed, their eyes closed, their bodies brown and smelling of the sea; the other girl was faceless, bodiless, but he felt her sleeping now; and he saw Frank and Strout, their faces alive; he saw red and yellow leaves falling to the earth, then snow: falling and freezing and falling; and holding Ruth, his cheek touching her breast, he shuddered with a sob that he kept silent in his heart.". So even though his son's murderer is dead, he still is emotional at the loss of his son and his and his girlfriend's happiness, gone.

In conclusion, Anger is expressed in "Barn Burning" as a more distant, and abusive form of anger towards Sartoris. Anger in "Killings is expressed more as a deep hatred for the killer of Frank, and his ability to still roam the streets. The law is expressed as a similar distrust for both, even though for different reasons, "Barn Burning" shows a simple disregard for the law, a reckless personality it seems. "Killings" shows the father as a law-abiding citizen that eventually goes against the law to kill his sons murderer.

Lastly, In "Killings" you see an attached father/son relationship. Frank is so attached to his son that he still feels sorrow after he killed the murderer. In "Barn Burning", you see a distant relationship, that usually involves abuse or manipulation of his child.

Meyer, Michael. The Bedford Introduction to Literature: Reading, Thinking, and Writing. Bedford/St Martins, 2016. William Faulkner "Barn Burning" Andre Dubus "Killings

"A Critical Analysis Of 'Killings' By Andre Dubus." The Odyssey Online, Haley Smith, 30 Aug. 2017, www.theodysseyonline.com/killings.

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