Even though the story itself is not set in the Depression Era, but somewhere at the end of 19th century, the same themes of family heritage, maturation, and inequality are present in the story as they were at the time that Faulkner wrote this story. Faulkner's ability to impart his "strongly topographical imagination"(Miller 211) adds color and zest to this story, which can be taken at face value with some implicit tones contributing to the dilemmas of Sarty. The story, in a fairly solid Faulknerian manner, is centered on the conflict a young boy, Sarty Snopes, experiences, in relation to being faithful to his father versus behaving in the right manner ethically.
From the beginning, we can see the extreme anguish of young Sarty, who once again has to lie to protect his father, feeling "fear and despair and the old grief of blood" (Faulkner 350). Sarty has no choice; he was born into this family, and inherited with it "the old fierce pull of blood" (Faulkner 348). His father is described as a man with "wolf like independence and even courage when the advantage was at least neutral which impressed strangers, as if they got from his latent ravening ferocity not so much a sense of dependability as a feeling that his ferocious conviction in the rightness of his own actions would be of advantage to all whose interest lay with his" (Faulkner 350).