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Faulkner’s “Barns Burning” and Borges’ “The Garden of Forking Paths” Comparison Essay

Introduction

Prior to comparing such short stories as “Barns Burning” by William Faulkner and “The Garden of Forking Paths” by Jorge Borges, it is necessary to identify the common theme, which both authors explore. The leading motif of both works is moral dilemma or choice that the protagonist has to make. In this respect, it should be pointed out that even the title of Borges work is to a certain degree symbolic because the phrase “forking paths” already indicates some turning point or crossroads. Yet, the ways, in which this issue is addressed, drastically differ from each other.

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Main body

In order to show this difference, we should analyze the behavior of the main characters and especially, the principles that they try to adhere to. As regards, Sarty Snopes, it is quite possible for us to say that this boy possesses an innate sense of justice. He knows perfectly well that his father is far from being ideal. When Abner Snopes burns the barns of other farmer, whom he despises, his son hesitates whether he should give evidence against him or not. Sarty is aware that his father has committed an illegal and immoral act, and he is ready to testify against him. It should be taken into consideration that the author saves him from this terrible choice. Yet, it can be observed that the inner struggle between family ties and the sense of justice is unceasing. Sarty cannot let other boys tarnish the reputation of his family, although he realizes that, their words are true. In addition to that, it should be mentioned that the protagonist of Faulkners novel is morally uncompromised, the author shows how difficult it is no maintain this level of integrity. His father delivers him an ultimatum; it is his honesty or his family that the boy has to sacrifice.

In sharp contrast with him, Dr. Yu Tsun has already become morally compromised; he lives in England and gathers information for German intelligence. He attempts to justify his actions in the following way, he says, “I wanted to prove to him that a yellow man could save his armies” (Borges, 91). He is not deeply concerned with the outcome of the war; he is mostly driven by his vanity. Nonetheless, he also has to come across such turning point in his life. He encounters a man called Albert, and the only possible way for him to perform his duty is to kill this man, whom he even likes. Borges compares human life to a maze, in which “all possible outcomes occur” (Borges, 103). Yu Tsun believes that in some other life, or “time fork” to be more exact; he and Albert may not be enemies and he chooses to kill this innocent man (Borges, 104). Faulkner describes time as linear, whereas Borges views it as a labyrinth or crossroads, which has parallel dimensions.

Conclusion

Therefore, it is quite possible for us to arrive at the conclusion that both writers place emphasis on the fact, that human life is a constant chain of moral choices. Faulkner describes the conflict between the duty (or justice) and family bonds, the main character of his novella seems to be unable to resolve this problem. As regards Jorge Borges, we may speak about the collision of official duty and personal feelings. Dr. Yu Tsun gives preference to the first one. However, the main difference between these two stories is the attitude of the authors to decision-making. In Sartys case, only one solution or option is possible, whereas Borges ponders over the possibility of multiple options.

Bibliography

Jorge Luis Borges, Anthony Kerrigan. “Ficciones” Grove Press, 1962.

William Faulkner. “Barn Burning” Perfection Learning, 1979.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, October 27). Faulkner’s “Barns Burning” and Borges’ “The Garden of Forking Paths” Comparison Essay. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/faulkners-barns-burning-and-borges-the-garden-of-forking-paths-comparison-essay/

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StudyCorgi. (2021, October 27). Faulkner’s “Barns Burning” and Borges’ “The Garden of Forking Paths” Comparison Essay. https://studycorgi.com/faulkners-barns-burning-and-borges-the-garden-of-forking-paths-comparison-essay/

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"Faulkner’s “Barns Burning” and Borges’ “The Garden of Forking Paths” Comparison Essay." StudyCorgi, 27 Oct. 2021, studycorgi.com/faulkners-barns-burning-and-borges-the-garden-of-forking-paths-comparison-essay/.

1. StudyCorgi. "Faulkner’s “Barns Burning” and Borges’ “The Garden of Forking Paths” Comparison Essay." October 27, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/faulkners-barns-burning-and-borges-the-garden-of-forking-paths-comparison-essay/.


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StudyCorgi. "Faulkner’s “Barns Burning” and Borges’ “The Garden of Forking Paths” Comparison Essay." October 27, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/faulkners-barns-burning-and-borges-the-garden-of-forking-paths-comparison-essay/.

References

StudyCorgi. 2021. "Faulkner’s “Barns Burning” and Borges’ “The Garden of Forking Paths” Comparison Essay." October 27, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/faulkners-barns-burning-and-borges-the-garden-of-forking-paths-comparison-essay/.

References

StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Faulkner’s “Barns Burning” and Borges’ “The Garden of Forking Paths” Comparison Essay'. 27 October.

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