Family Ties, Family Lost
The short story of Faulkner depicts the reality of life that is applicable to our world now. In most, if not all, societies, sons and daughters are below the level of the parents because they are younger and less experienced in life. Children are expected to obey their parents because parents know what is right and what is best for their families. After all, they have lived longer. Twinned with this obligation to obey their parents is the children’s duty to be loyal to the family.
Blood if thicker than water, they say. Ties that bind the family are of a different kind, something that is not easily broken. In fact, his being a civil war veteran sealed the cuffs on his family. His wife could not say anything about his barn burning ways and neither can his sister. If the older people cannot stand up to Abner, there was no way that his son, Satry, can stand up for his own either. The way Abner Snopes had tied his son, Satry, to their family is not something that should be admired.
Abner had so much influence over his family, especially over his son, that Satry cannot make a decision for himself. Blind adherence to the principles of obedience and family loyalty had tied him so tightly that when the time came that he was about to stand up for what he believed was right and moral, it was too late. His father was already dead. The last part of the story actually reminded me of the movie American History X, wherein the older brother was a convicted white supremacist who heavily influenced his younger brother.
When the time came that the older brother was trying to reverse every single thing that he had taught his younger brother, somebody kills his brother. But even if he was too late, I admire the courage of Satry to leave behind the place that imprisoned his principles and to face the world on his own. In a sense, his father’s death was the baptism of Satry into the realities of the real world: that blind adherence to family can only get you so far and that at the end of the day, it is your principles, in Satry’s case justice, that will take you through this world.
Parents will always have influence and power over their children, in the same way that Abner had so much influence of Satry. But it must be conceded that there should be a balance between the parents wanting what is best for their children and what the children think are the core principles and beliefs in their life. It is enough that the parents try to teach their children but at the end of the day, every single decision must be made by the child. After all, it would be the children who would live their lives and not their parents.