Barn Burning

Major de Spain Character Analysis

Abner’s new employer after he is asked to leave his former community, the Major de Spain is a wealthy rural landowner and is the Snopes family’s landlord as well as their employer. He thinks of himself as fair and even-tempered, but he also is incredulous at the idea that his authority might be questioned, as it is by Abner.

Major de Spain Quotes in Barn Burning

The Barn Burning quotes below are all either spoken by Major de Spain or refer to Major de Spain. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Resentment, Race, and Prejudice Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of Barn Burning published in 1995.
Barn Burning Quotes

“Pretty and white, ain’t it?” he said. “That’s sweat. Nigger sweat. Maybe it ain’t white enough yet to suit him. Maybe he wants to mix some white sweat with it.”

Related Characters: Abner Snopes (speaker), Major de Spain
Page Number: 12
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in rep

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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He saw the man in spectacles sitting at the plank table and he did not need to be told this was a Justice of the Peace; he sent one glare of fierce, exultant partisan defiance at the man in collar and cravat now, whom he had seen but twice before in his life, who wore on his face an expression not of rage but of amazed unbelief which the boy could not have known was at the incredible circumstance of being sued by one of his own tenants.

Related Characters: Colonel Sartoris “Sarty” Snopes, Abner Snopes, Major de Spain, The Justice (II)
Page Number: 17-18
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Major de Spain Character Timeline in Barn Burning

The timeline below shows where the character Major de Spain appears in Barn Burning. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Barn Burning
Resentment, Race, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Aspiration, Desperation, and Defiance Theme Icon
...opens the door and tells the “white man” to wipe his feet, and that the Major isn’t home. The father orders the servant, calling him “nigger,” to get out of his... (full context)
Resentment, Race, and Prejudice Theme Icon
...at the house, tells his son disparagingly that “nigger sweat” built it, and now the Major presumably wants to mix “white sweat” with it. (full context)
Resentment, Race, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Aspiration, Desperation, and Defiance Theme Icon
Early that morning, father and son are equipping the mules for plowing when the Major rides up. He tells Abner, who remains stooping with his back to the Major, that... (full context)
Loyalty, Family, Blood Theme Icon
Sarty calls to his father and cries that he did the best he could. Mr. de Spain won’t get his twenty bushels: he’ll gather and hide it, he says. His father simply... (full context)
Aspiration, Desperation, and Defiance Theme Icon
Loyalty, Family, Blood Theme Icon
...bushels will be a cheap price to actually change his father. He thinks that perhaps Major de Spain won’t try to collect the twenty bushels, that somehow the whole thing will... (full context)
Independence and Justice Theme Icon
...man with glasses and understands it’s another Justice of the Peace, and also sees the Major in collar and cravat. The Major has an expression of unbelief, not rage, at being... (full context)
Loyalty, Family, Blood Theme Icon
...instead marches past the wagon to the blacksmith shop. Sarty whispers to his father that de Spain won’t get even one bushel. He continues to whisper until his father glances down at... (full context)
Aspiration, Desperation, and Defiance Theme Icon
Loyalty, Family, Blood Theme Icon
...in, gasping for breath, and sees the black man looking astonished. Then a white man, de Spain , emerges, and Sarty cries, “Barn!” into his face before wheeling around and back out... (full context)
Aspiration, Desperation, and Defiance Theme Icon
Independence and Justice Theme Icon
Loyalty, Family, Blood Theme Icon
Behind Sarty, the Major shouts for his horse. Sarty thinks he should cut across the park, but doesn’t know... (full context)