Changing View Points in Barn Burning and Everyday Use

Taylor Jannarone Instructor: Reagan 09/20/2011 Changing View Points in Barn burning and Everyday Use Barn Burning, by William Faulkner and Everyday Use, by Alice Walker, were both poems that contained stories that have the potential to create a multitude of different view points. Barn burning, for example juxtaposed morality and blood, which made me choose between the two. Everyday Use pits multiple views against one another, including the struggle between the educated and the uneducated.

I analyzed the story and decided what my view was but after a cross analysis with other readers my view changed. In Barn Burning my view could have sided with blood and Abner or morality and Sarty. When first reading Faulkner’s work I discovered myself feeling sympathy for Abner. My thoughts were that he was a man that never had a choice on morality, that he was forced into being the way he was. I viewed Abner with pity and sadness because he was born unlucky and any man has felt what he feels everyday, which is worthlessness.

I thought he felt that way because it seemed no matter what he did to better himself or his family backfired. Every father/husband has to deal with what Abner is going through which is protecting his family and giving them a better life, but sadly he fails almost one hundred percent of the time. But after re-reading the poem again and hearing others views, mine changed drastically. I realized that I was making excuses for Abner”s lack of morals due to his loyalty to kin. But in reality he was just a sick and cruel old man.

My classmates pointed out the use of devil imagery that was presented while describing Abner. Also I viewed him as a veteran of the Civil War but I learned from others that he was a coward and a thief. By the end of my second analysis I no longer agreed with Abner’s view on blood over morality and I looked to Sarty as the hero of the poem. In Everyday Use one of the juxtaposing viewpoints were of educated versus the uneducated. Dee was on the side of the educated while her sister and mother were on the other side.

When originally reading the poem I viewed Dee as a godsend to her mother’s world of blissful ignorance. I felt like “mama” was incredibly naive and needed someone like Dee in her life who has the ability to teach her and open her eyes to the world. In the end of the poem I thought that Dee should have received those quilts because they are a piece of her peoples history and they shouldn’t be put into everyday use. After discussing the poem with the class my views did not change at all.

I felt like Maggie and Mama were ignorant and should of revered Dee’s education instead of resenting it. When Maggie received the quilts I believed that to be a large error by mama. I think what she did was a sign of her never learning and never making it further in life. But in the last few lines Walker writes, “And then the two of us sat there enjoying, until it was time to go into the house and go to bed,” (Walker ). This quote clearly shows that Mama and Maggie were content with their lives, no one, educated or uneducated, has the right to take away someone’s happiness.

In the end some of my views changed drastically while some stayed the same. Some of my points were nullified and some were strengthened by the class discussion. Lastly I learned any poem no matter short or small can be interpreted in many different ways. Works Cited Walker, Alice. “Everyday Use. ” Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama and Writing Ed. X. J. Kennedy, and Dana Gioia. 6th Edition NY: Longham, 2010. 279-287. Print.