Colonel Sartoris, on the other hand, is not the sort to accept the inevitability of his ending up like his father. Throughout the story he struggles with his father's actions and his own responsibility for helping or hindering those actions. It occurs to him that he could just walk away from his father's wrongdoing: "I could keep on, he thought. I could run on and on and never look back, never need to see his face again. Only I can't. I can't" (126). But the reason Colonel cannot leave is not because he would miss his father, but instead because he knows that then there would be no-one to stop his father from setting the fires. Colonel cannot leave because although he is not sure he has the strength to stop his father, he feels enough responsibility to stay and witness. Only when he finally does stop his father can he leave.
Faulkner, William. "Barn Burning." Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. 5th ed. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1991. 116-29.
London, Jack. "To Build A Fire." Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. 5th ed. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1991. 87-98.
The short story that best exhibits Samuel Johnson's quality of being a "just representation of general nature" is Yasunari Kawabata's "The Man Who Did Not Smile." The story tells the tale of a screenwriter who is seeking the perfect ending to a screenplay already in production. As he lies in bed looking out on the Kamo River, he gets the idea that the perfect ending to his story set in an insane asylum would be to make the last scene a daydream:
Gentle smiling masks will appear all over the screen. Since I could not hope to show a bright smile at the end of this dark story, at least I could wrap reality in a beautiful, smiling mask (404).
The screenwriter then spends the next two days or so trying to find the perfect masks for his ending. He is largely unsuccessful, but he does ma...
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