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The reader should also step back from the novel and realize the consequence of Darl's act in terms  of the rural community in which he lives. To burn a barn during the time just prior to harvesting, to  endanger the lives of the animals in that barn, and to destroy farm property could easily be viewed  by rural people as an act of insanity. In earlier stories, Faulkner had even used the concept of barn- burning as one of the most dangerous types of crimes to be committed on a farm. For these people, therefore, in spite of all justifications for Darl's act, the mere fact that he has  destroyed property so essential to the management of a farm would automatically cause many  people to view him as being partially insane. Thus it is up to the individual reader to determine the  exact nature of Darl's sanity and insanity. The final justification for Darl's act is rather ironic and is  represented by the repeated refrain in this section of the strong smell of the body. We must  remember that Addie has now been dead for over eight days: the stench must be overwhelming. The implication in this section is that Vardaman saw Darl set the barn on fire. We must project that 
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This note was uploaded on 11/05/2011 for the course ENG 101 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '08 term at Texas State.

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