Multiple Times The Story Takes The Reader Twenty Years Into The Future And Provi

Multiple times, the story takes the reader twenty years into the future and provides Sarty’s retrospective thoughts on these events. When the narrator describes Abner building a small fire, for example, the text allows “Older, the boy might have remarked this and wondered why not a big one..”; then, further on in the same paragraph, we find “And older still…” (802-3). When Abner strikes Sarty for almost telling the Justice that he had burned the first barn, then lectures his son about family and blood ties trumping the laws of the country, the narrator says “Later, twenty years later, he was to tell himself, If I had said they wanted only truth, justice, he would have hit me again.” What effect do these retrospective insights give us within the story, especially this early in the narrative? What do they allow us to know, and how do they serve to develop the Sarty’s character?

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