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BARRON'S BOOK NOTES ROBERT PENN WARREN'S ALL THE KING'S MEN ^^^^^^^^^^ROBERT PENN WARREN: THE AUTHOR

AND HIS TIMES Huey P. Long, known as "The Kingfish," controlled Louisiana politics for some te n years, until he was assassinated in 1935. He was the law, he was above the law --he ruled with the force of royalty through an effective political machine whil e serving as governor of the state (1928-31) and U.S. Senator (1931-35). But jus t as Humpty Dumpty in the nursery rhyme toppled off his perch, so did Robert Pen n Warren's fictionalized Huey Long, Willie Stark in All the King's Men. Willie s at high on a wall, but had a great fall--and as you read Warren's novel you will understand why all the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Willie together again. On one level, then, All the King's Men is the study of the rise and fall of a po litical dictator in the southern United States. On another level, it is the stud y of a man's journey toward self-knowledge along the winding and difficult paths that emerge from the past. Many elements of Warren's own past went into making this novel. And although the novel explores age-old philosophical ideas, the ide as are not stale or moldy. They come alive because Warren grounds them in his ow n experience and in vivid characters who flourish and perish in a particular lan dscape--the American South. Warren was born in 1905 in the tobacco country of Guthrie, Kentucky, the eldest son of a businessman and a schoolteacher. Political violence was a part of his e arliest memories, The Kentucky tobacco wars of 1905 to 1908 raged in the surroun ding areas. Many tobacco growers organized themselves against the big buyers, of ten riding into the night to terrorize other growers who were unsympathetic to t heir crusade for better prices. These events provided the background for Warren' s first published novel, Night Rider (1939). Poetry and history were also a part of Warren's childhood. His maternal grandfat her, a Confederate cavalry officer in the Civil War, frequently quoted poetry to Warren and introduced him to Southern history. As a boy, Warren developed an al legiance to the South, a sense of history, and a love for literature. He read wi dely, from the great biologist Charles Darwin to detective stories, from Boy Sco ut manuals to American history books. At sixteen, Warren entered Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, intend ing to become a chemical engineer. But while taking a freshman English course wi th the famous poet John Crowe Ransom, he turned toward a career in literature. A s an undergraduate, Warren helped edit The Fugitive--a literary journal named fo r the image of the wandering outcast--and in it he published his first poems. Th e group--particularly John Crowe Ransom, Donald G. Davidson, Allen Tate, and War ren--are credited with originating a Southern literary renaissance. They wrote p oetry and ushered in a new movement of literary criticism, named the New Critici sm by Ransom. As witnesses to the rapid industrialization of the South by Northe rn industries, the Fugitives feared that technology would strip nature, as well as humanity, of its sensuous and contemplative qualities. Through their poetry t hey expressed their belief in a return to reverence for land and for human exper ience. For the New Critics, however, the poem was more than a means of expressio n; it had a mystical authority of its own, separate from the poet's intentions o r the reader's interpretation. By 1925, when Warren graduated from Vanderbilt with highest honors, the Fugitive s were going their separate ways, pursuing individual interests. Warren left the South to study literature as a graduate student first at the University of Cali fornia at Berkeley, then at Yale University, and finally at Oxford University in

England as a Rhodes scholar. While at Oxford, Warren published his first book, a biography called John Brown: The Making of a Martyr (1929), about the well-kno wn abolitionist John Brown. Meanwhile, several Fugitives adopted a more political position on social change and literature. They wanted to do something to stop nationwide industrialization and to show the entire country the importance of clinging to such traditional S outhern values as devotion to the soil. A new group was formed--the Agrarians. W arren shared their antitechnological views and joined them in publishing a contr oversial book called I'll Take My Stand (1930). Warren's contribution, "The Bria r Patch," argues that unless the Southern agricultural tradition is reinforced, blacks will continue to defect to their dream of the good life in the industrial North, which Warren believed brought them misery. Much later, in Segregation (1 956), Warren modified his position and talked about the vast potential of blacks in American society. After their attempt at social criticism in I'll Take My St and, Warren and the other Agrarians abandoned social reform and sought expressio n in literature. In 1931, Warren returned to Vanderbilt as an assistant professor of English. The re, during the depths of the Great Depression, the idea for All the King's Men b egan taking form. Warren saw how Tennessee, like the entire nation, was sufferin g from a devastated economy. He saw incredible poverty. He saw lives disrupted b y political corruption and greed. And while witnessing this pervasive social and political melodrama, he experienced a misfortune of his own: The universities w ere cutting down on personnel, and he was let go by Vanderbilt. Louisiana, on th e other hand, was expanding its educational system under the leadership of Senat or Long. In September 1934, Warren left his Tennessee farm and drove to Baton Ro uge to begin a new job as English professor at Louisiana State University. On th e way he picked up a hitchhiker, a scruffy old fellow who told him about the mir acles that Huey Long had wrought in Louisiana. Long had built toll-free highways and new hospitals and had provided public-school children with free textbooks. The senator, who came from a background of poverty, wanted to help the impoveris hed people of the state, but he often used bribery and blackmail, as well as rig ged elections, to achieve his ends. He was loved by the poor, illiterate masses and despised by the wealthy, educated elite. From the hitchhiker's recital and f rom the hundreds of tales he heard later, Warren realized that the different acc ounts of Huey Long's use of power addressed a continuing problem--the conflict b etween the high-minded ideals of the wealthy class and the realistic demands of the poor. While Warren was teaching literature and creative writing in Louisiana, he devel oped the idea for a story about a Southern demagogue, a leader who plays on the fears and prejudices of the people to gain power. Warren had no personal contact with Long, although Long's daughter, Rose, was in one of Warren's Shakespeare c ourses. In the same course, Warren lectured on the political background to Shake speare's Julius Caesar. During the two weeks he spent on this play, he thought a bout the ageless question of power and ethics and about the parallels between Ca esar and Long. Both men were ambitious, vain, and arrogant; yet, they seemed to be the only leaders strong enough to hold their people together in times of stri fe. Apparently, the students also saw the similarities, because, as Warren noted , they were unusually attentive. Strangely, a little after the course ended, Hue y Long, like Caesar, was assassinated. But, as you shall see, All the King's Men is more than a fictionalized presentation of a dictator. The author's major con cern is with moral conflicts and their resolution. Warren has said that Long was not the sole inspiration for All the King's Men. E ven before he moved to Louisiana, he was intrigued by power struggles in the Sou th. Warren's interests also included ancient and modern writings on political ph ilosophy. And the career of Benito Mussolini, the Italian dictator who held powe r from 1922 to 1943 and was allied with the German dictator Adolf Hitler in Worl

d War II, especially fascinated him. In 1936, a year after Long's assassination, Warren began planning a play about a politician corrupted by the very evil he sets out to eliminate. With funds prov ided by a Guggenheim fellowship, he went to Italy where, in the summer of 1938, he began to write the verse drama Proud Flesh. Thus, in Mussolini's Italy, Warre n wrote about Governor Willie Talos, who became Willie Stark in All the King's M en. Warren's play was not performed or published for many years. He put it aside unt il 1943, when he was teaching at the University of Minnesota. That year he publi shed his second novel, At Heaven's Gate, which also dealt with the themes of sel f-knowledge, responsibility, and spiritual emptiness. After rereading Proud Fles h, he decided that a novel was a better vehicle for his characters and ideas tha n a verse drama. But he didn't know from whose point of view to present the stor y. In the play, he had employed a chorus of surgeons to help the audience see Wi llie's tragic story from a detached perspective. In the novel, he eliminated the chorus and used Jack Burden as the narrator of Willie's life. As such, you do n ot get inside Willie's head. Willie's experiences are filtered through the obser vations and emotions of one of his men. This story-telling strategy imitates the way that Warren actually came to know Long--never personally, always through th e perceptions of others. All the King's Men, Warren's third novel, was published in 1946. The following y ear it won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. The film version appeared in 1949 and received the Academy Award for best movie of the year. Eventually, Proud Flesh became a theatrical production. It was staged off-Broadway in 1959 and the next year was published under the title All the King's Men: A Play. And in 1981 the n ovel was the source for Carlisle Floyd's music drama Willie Stark. After All the King's Men, Warren wrote a number of additional novels, including the ambitious Southern novel World Enough and Time (1950). He also wrote many sh ort stories and put together several distinguished collections of poetry. His po etry collection, Promises (1957), won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1958. Nev ertheless, All the King's Men remains his best-known work. Indeed, its universal themes and its skillful and powerful use of language have made it an American c lassic and have led the influential critic Malcolm Cowley to call Warren "more r ichly endowed than any other American novelist born in the present century." ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: THE PLOT Willie Stark, a young politician in an impoverished area of an unidentified Sout hern state, suddenly rises to prominence as a result of a local tragedy. He had previously warned everyone that the contractor for the new schoolhouse had a rep utation for using inferior bricks. But no one listened. Now, the building had co llapsed, killing three children. Willie's unwavering conviction that the local p oliticians were in collusion with the contractor gains him statewide publicity. Eventually, Willie Stark is chosen to run for governor. However, he doesn't real ize that the bosses are using him as a dummy candidate to split the rural vote. When he finds out, his rage overcomes his disillusionment. He is angry not only because he has been played for a fool but also because the state's poor people h ave been deceived. In a high-spirited, emotionally charged speech he tells the p eople that all "hicks," including himself, are the politicians' dummies. The cro wd loves his speech. But Willie resigns from the race and energetically campaign s against the candidate of the people who fooled him. In the process, he makes a name for himself. Four years later, Willie is elected governor. Jack Burden, a young reporter for the capital city's newspaper, has closely foll

owed Willie's rise to power. He Shortly after Willie moves into ne of Willie's aides. Jack is a him research tasks. Jack's main illie's political enemies.

finds much to admire in the dynamic politician. the governor's mansion, Jack begins working as o trained historian, and Willie therefore assigns job is to discover scandalous evidence against W

Unlike Willie, Jack grew up in a well-to-do, aristocratic community. One of the outstanding members of the community is Judge Irwin, a longtime friend of Jack's . When the Judge defies Willie on a political matter, Jack is assigned to dig up some dirt that will ruin the Judge's reputation. Jack hesitates because the Jud ge has always been like a father to him. But then he decides that the task is si mply another piece of historical research. Besides, the Judge has a sterling rep utation, which surely no amount of research can smear. Willie knows better; ever y person, he believes, is harboring some secret sin, and the Judge is no excepti on. Indeed, after seven months of research, Jack does uncover a scandal in the J udge's past. The scandal involves not only the Judge but also the former governo r, Joel Stanton, the deceased father of Jack's best friends, Adam and Anne Stant on. Jack hopes that he is never forced to use his information. But the old scandal b ecomes known to the Stantons when Jack has to convince Adam, a famous surgeon an d a man of high ideals, to become director of Willie's new hospital. The hospita l is Willie's grand plan for helping the poor people and for ensuring his own im mortality. Adam does not want to become involved in Willie's corrupt administrat ion. But when he discovers that his father was involved in a serious political s candal, he compromises his ideals and agrees to direct Willie's hospital. Adam's sister, Anne, also compromises her ideals upon learning of her father's indiscr etion and becomes Willie's mistress. Jack, who has loved Anne since she was a te enager, feels betrayed, but he realizes that, in part, he is responsible for Ann e's actions. Meanwhile, Willie's administration becomes more and more corrupt. Yet, Willie ho lds on to one idealistic dream: He refuses to let his hospital be tainted by pol itical wheeling and dealing. But fate takes another complex turn. Sam MacMurfee, Willie's most powerful political enemy, has discovered that Tom, Willie's son, may soon be the father of an illegitimate child. MacMurfee threatens to make the knowledge public, with a paternity suit against Tom, if Willie persists in thin king about running for the U.S. Senate. After several strategies for squelching the paternity suit fail, Willie remembers the research he asked Jack to do on Ju dge Irwin. The Judge has the power to make MacMurfee withdraw his threat. Willie , therefore, orders Jack to blackmail the Judge into helping Willie out of his d ilemma. Jack tells the Judge that the old scandal will become known if he does n ot cooperate. Rather than submit to a blackmail attempt, the Judge, a man of hon or, kills himself. In the commotion following the Judge's suicide, Jack discover s that the Judge was his real father. Suddenly, Jack, the detached historical re searcher, must confront the truth of his own identity. With the Judge dead, only one strategy remains for stopping the paternity suit. Gummy Larson, a building contractor and a powerful friend of MacMurfee's, has be en wanting the hospital contract for a long time. Willie agrees to give Larson t he job if Larson persuades MacMurfee to back off. The deal is arranged, and all seems well until Willie's son is paralyzed in a fo otball accident. The crippling of his only child causes Willie to reexamine his life. He cancels the hospital contract, a decision that angers the lieutenant-go vernor, Tiny Duffy, who had set up the deal in the first place. In retaliation, Tiny tells Adam that he was appointed hospital director because his sister, Anne , is Willie's mistress. Outraged, Adam shoots Willie, seriously wounding him, an d is immediately killed by Willie's bodyguard. A few days later, Willies dies.

After this series of tragedies, Jack tries to make sense of his life. He marries Anne and begins writing a biography, not of Willie Stark but of a man whose own tragic experiences during the Civil War era reflect Jack's personal sense of re sponsibility to history. All the King's Men has two major characters, Willie Stark and Jack Burden. By un derstanding their circumstances and motivations, you will grasp the ideas about human nature that Robert Penn Warren offers. But unless you also look into the p ersonalities and motivations of the minor characters--those who surround Willie and Jack and insist on making themselves felt--the story will not come alive for you. Life, as Robert Penn Warren shows you, can be a tangled web of relationshi ps among a large cast of characters; it is a continuing experience, in which his torical events influence present circumstances. ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: WILLIE STARK Is Willie Stark the people's messiah or a dangerous dictator, a tragic hero or a smooth-tongued tyrant? Does he deserve to be assassinated? How you answer these questions will, in part, influence the meaning that the novel holds for you. An d how you answer may also say as much about you as it says about Willie. Do you prefer to put fictional characters into the neat categories of hero and villain? Or do you prefer to see portrayals of life with a double vision, aware that som e people are both good and bad? To understand Willie's character, you need to us e your powers of double vision. The internal conflicts of his personality do not readily permit you to pass a quick verdict on his life. You will probably disco ver that Willie, like many powerful leaders, combines opposing elements, often r esorting to foul means to achieve good ends. Willie Stark is an imaginary character, inspired by an actual historical figure Huey Pierce Long, governor of Louisiana from 1928 to 1931 and then a U.S. Senato r until his assassination in 1935. Some readers have commented that Willie Stark resembles Huey Long too closely. Without a doubt, Long's political career paral lels the career that Robert Penn Warren designs for Willie. Both Long and Willie came from a poor Southern background and, through ambitious perseverance, becam e lawyers. Both held political office at an early age, and each had an unsuccess ful first run for governor. As governors, both were charged with bribery and the misuse of state funds and threatened with impeachment. Nevertheless, each had a lifelong passion to improve the lot of his state's poor. By using blackmail and patronage, they financed roads and hospitals and reworked the state's tax struc ture in favor of the poor people. Finally, each met his death at the hands of a doctor who had a personal grievance against him. Warren obviously had Huey Long in mind while constructing his novel. Yet, despit e the uncanny similarities between these men, the story of Willie Stark is not m erely the story of Huey Long. All the King's Men is not a fictional biography. R ather, Long's public career can be seen as the skeletal outline to which Warren adds flesh and into which he then breathes the life of a dynamic, complex person ality who engages the reader's imagination. In a sense, Willie is every man who rises to power by offering to save the peopl e from their distress and who, during his struggles, becomes corrupted by power. Some, therefore, see him as a stereotype, the character of good intentions who becomes tainted by the system. But you may appreciate Willie, first and foremost , as a human being who has dreams, a family he loves, and passions he yields to, among them a desire for power. Warren doesn't just present a character who func tions in a concrete political setting; he shows you a man torn between his visio ns of an ideal society and stark reality--what it takes in the real world to ful fill one's dreams. Willie's last name gives you a clue to his main way of dealin

g with power and conflict. He sacrifices his ideals for action. He is a man of s tark fact, and he wants results. In the end, Willie reevaluates his life's goals . But it is too late for change. Willie, like his many actual and fictional coun terparts, is not given a second chance. Warren's portrayal of Willie raises the following questions: What psychological toll does the person with a deeply rooted political mission pay? Do the means of accomplishing the mission justify the ends? Can a well-intentioned man who beco mes politically corrupt be a hero of the reader's imagination? ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: JACK BURDEN Jack Burden is the narrator of All the King's Men. He is supposedly telling Will ie's story. Yet, you will begin to sense, after reading several chapters, that J ack is using Willie's story as a vehicle for clarifying the meaning of his own l ife. Warren says that he chose Jack as the narrator because he is one of the emp ty, powerless people who need a character like Willie to bring them to life. Als o, because Jack is intelligent and perceptive, he is the best one to tell Willie 's story. But still this does not explain why Jack becomes the central character , the most complex character and the one who undergoes the most changes. Why doe s Jack dominate the novel? Why is he embedding his own story inside of Willie's? Jack, like most people, is not easy to understand. Nevertheless, by examining s everal facets of his character, you can glean some insights into his motivations . In contrast to Willie, who has a well-defined goal--to do good for the poor folk --Jack drifts without direction. He is a keen observer of the meaning that other people give to their lives. For instance, he knows that Willie's wife, Lucy, fi nds satisfaction in family life, and that Willie's secretary, Sadie, seeks fulfi llment by subordinating her talents to the careers of powerful men. But Jack see s no meaning in his own existence. Why does such an intelligent, articulate man lack purpose? Does the cause stem from his childhood, from having been abandoned by his father and then having to compete with a series of stepfathers for his m other's affection? Was he spoiled by the luxuries of his aristocratic upbringing ? Is he disillusioned because his love life has not come up to his expectations? But Jack does have a love life, although, until the novel's end, it is no more t han memories and fantasies. He still loves his childhood friend, Anne Stanton. T he only goal he ever had, it seems, was to marry Anne. Thus, a second aspect of Jack's character to consider is his deep attachment to Anne. What is it about An ne that causes him to be obsessed with her? Or, looking at it from another angle , what does his memory of her do for him that no real woman can do? His failed m arriage to Lois Seager was based on sex, not love. And since his divorce, he has not established any meaningful relationships with women, except perhaps with Lu cy Stark. Jack admires Lucy's devotion to her family and her strength of charact er. But he pays more attention to her appearance than to her personality or char acter. On each visit to Lucy's farm, he describes in detail her hair, clothing, and furniture. A third facet of Jack's character, then, is his inability to become emotionally involved--with women, with friends, or with a career. When Jack was in graduate school studying American history, he was on the verge of becoming involved in th e life of a man, Cass Mastern, who had died in the Civil War and whose motivatio ns perplexed him. His Ph.D. project was to write a historical account of Mastern . But he walked away from the project and never received his doctorate. As an ai de to Willie Stark, he completed an extensive research project--finding a scanda lous incident in Judge Irwin's past--and refused to let his friendship for the J udge obstruct his objectivity. "Emotions begone! Truth to the fore!" seemed to b e his guiding principle. How could Jack be so detached from his own professional possibilities in graduate school and from his feelings of friendship for the Ju

dge during his research? Jack, as you'll see, becomes a tireless researcher when he begins to work for Wi llie; he doesn't let go of a project until he has discovered the truth--regardle ss of how ugly it may be--of a person's past. As such, a fourth facet to note is his attitude toward history and truth. Jack Burden carries with him the burden of history, and while rejecting his own past, he takes refuge in investigations into the pasts of other people. Nevertheless, he has no more than a dim notion-at least until the end--of why history is important. The technical aspects of hi storical research fascinate him and, at the same time, help him to avoid confron ting his own lack of personal historical consciousness. Why does Jack do Willie' s bidding? Why is he interested in the phenomenon of Willie Stark? When does he realize his own vital significance in the flow of history? Finally, you should consider the question of self-knowledge in trying to underst and Jack. Some readers believe that the quest for self-knowledge is subordinate to, and supportive of, all other facets of Jack's character. Such periodic episo des as the "Great Sleep" and the comfort he takes in the mechanistic theory of t he "Great Twitch" reveal that Jack is escaping from reality. In a sense, he is a modern-day Rip Van Winkle, who lets the world around him change while he waits and hopes for his life to fall in step with the times. Jack doesn't actively see k self-knowledge. The changes in his attitude, in his willingness to get involve d and to accept responsibility, appear to result from events outside of his cont rol. Or do they? Is Jack an active seeker of self-knowledge or a fortunate man w ho comes by it through no effort of his own? These, then, are some aspects of Jack to consider while attempting to understand him. Other facets of his character will emerge as the novel unfolds. The following characters are discussed in order of appearance in All the King's Men. ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: SUGAR-BOY O'SHEEAN Sugar-Boy, a sugar cube-eating Irishman, is the first character you meet. He is Willie's driver and bodyguard. He can drive a Cadillac with great speed and agil ity, and he's a deadly accurate target shooter. Beyond that, he stutters, appear s to be mentally retarded, and is dominated by one emotion--intense loyalty to W illie. ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: TINY DUFFY When you first meet Tiny Duffy, he is Willie Stark's lieutenant governor, the se cond in command of the state. Later you discover that he was one of the men who deceived Willie during Willie's first campaign for governor. Willie, however, wo oed Tiny away from another political camp and made Tiny his chief lackey. Tiny h as no loyalty to any political faction--he seeks his own selfish interests and w ill grovel, if that's what it takes, to maintain a position in state government. But Tiny should not be underestimated; he is a dangerous man. So, like Jack, yo u may wonder why Willie has raised Tiny to such a powerful place in state politi cs. ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: LUCY STARK Most of all Lucy, Willie's wife, wants to be a good mother and a good wife. She supports Willie's political ambitions but appears uncomfortable in the role of g overnor's wife. When she can no longer tolerate seeing what politics has done to Willie and what football stardom has done to their son, she returns to farm lif e, leaving Willie to his political and sexual intrigues. Yet, she doesn't divorc

e Willie. Like most other Southern women of her generation, she is devoted to th e soil, to the family, and to tradition. But this in itself doesn't explain her loyalty to Willie. She loved him deeply when he was only a county politician. Do es she love him later or does she merely love the memory of their good times tog ether? ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: TOM STARK Willie adores Tom, his only child. But his love blinds him. Unlike Lucy, he does n't see that Tom is becoming an unbearably arrogant young man. Once Tom becomes the star quarterback of the state university football team, he cannot stay out o f trouble. His father, however, always comes to his aid. By refusing to discipli ne Tom, Willie widens the rift between Lucy and himself. Finally, one of Tom's s exual escapades requires Willie to put his reputation and power on the line. Sti ll, Willie doesn't blame him; after all, he says, Tom is just a boy. ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: SADIE BURKE Sadie is always in love with politicians who never marry her. She came from the wrong side of the tracks and will never let anyone forget it. She can curse as w ell as anyone, and, all in all, she puts on a good show. But behind the mask of a tough, no-nonsense career woman, she desperately wants someone to love her, an d for most of the novel she wants that someone to be Willie. She is both Willie' s personal secretary and his mistress. With a keen business sense and a quick wi t, she comes across as unfeminine and coarse. Consider the ways in which Sadie i s similar to, and different from, Anne Stanton and Lucy. ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: JUDGE IRWIN When Jack was growing up, Judge Irwin lived down the street and taught the boy t o ride, shoot, and hunt. As Jack says, the Judge was like a father to him. Why, then, as an adult working for Governor Stark, does Jack pursue his research into the Judge's past? How can he betray a lifelong friend? Unlike Jack, the Judge i s unswervingly loyal to friends and to tradition. A brilliant man, he has had a distinguished political career--except for one serious indiscretion, the scandal that Jack discovers in the Judge's past. Even when faced with exposure, Judge I rwin does not sacrifice his integrity and self-esteem. After courageously refusi ng to let Willie blackmail him, he shoots himself. ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: JACK'S MOTHER Whenever Jack visits his mother, he is torn between enjoying her attention to hi m and experiencing hostility toward her. Some readers believe that Jack's ambiva lent feelings for his mother are indicative of an Oedipus complex, the unconscio us desire of a son to be attached to his mother. When Ellis Burden abandoned six -year-old Jack and his mother, Jack concentrated all his affections on his mothe r. But she remarried, bringing first one stepfather into the house, then another . Jack had to share his mother's love with strangers. The resulting resentments, according to psychiatrists, could cause deep-seated emotional conflicts toward one's mother as well as toward all women. Does this theory help to explain Jack' s emotional detachment or his love-hate relationship to his mother? Or could it be that his mother's materialistic nature and lack of commitment to marriage are responsible for Jack's behavior toward her? Jack's mother is ite her apparent Irwin, has been reentry into the not given a name, yet she remains a fascinating character. Desp fickleness, when she realizes that Jack's natural father, Judge her only true love, she becomes the ultimate source for Jack's rich stream of life.

^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: ANNE STANTON

Since college Jack has been in love with Anne. The two grew up together and plan ned to be married. But when Jack actually got around to proposing, Anne put him off. She was waiting for him to find direction--a career or a social cause or wh atever her "Jackie-Bird" wanted to do. Jack, however, had no ambitions. Thus, in contrast to Anne's highly respected father, Governor Stanton, and to her brothe r, Adam, the famous surgeon, Jack was a poor marriage risk. What do Anne's expec tations in a husband reveal about her character? When you first meet Anne, she is an unmarried woman approaching middle age, a vo lunteer charity worker. Her life seems empty, and she relies upon the traditions of her aristocratic upbringing to give her support. Jack still regards her as a n unblemished, highly desirable woman; he is fascinated by her graceful movement s and her "woman's laugh"--until he learns she has become Willie's mistress. He can't understand her actions and blames himself. Why has Anne gravitated toward Willie? What does Willie do for her that Jack can't? ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: ADAM STANTON A product of Southern aristocracy, Adam is proud of his heritage, even driven to live up to its ideals, as embodied by his father, Governor Stanton. Like Willie , he is committed to doing good for people, A famous surgeon, he works tirelessl y, often without pay, to provide the people with excellent health care. He is st riving to achieve the same ends as Willie, but their views on how to get things done clash. Adam thinks in terms of honorable traditions; Willie thinks in terms of manipulating people. Ironically, each man's strength is also his fatal weakness. Willie's ideal of ec onomic well-being can be accomplished, he believes, only by using bad practices to get good results, at least to get them quickly. And he'll do whatever it take s to get Adam as director of his hospital. But he lets Anne and Jack do the dirt y work. When Anne confronts Adam with his father's role in Judge Irwin's scandal , his ideals are shattered. He agrees to direct the hospital. Does he do so as s ome kind of atonement (payment) for his father's sin? Does the revelation weaken his resistance to being employed by a corrupt politician? Or has he all along w anted to have the power, as well as the vast opportunity to do good, that the di rectorship brings? ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: ELLIS BURDEN Jack impersonally refers to Ellis Burden, who he thought was his father, as the Scholarly Attorney. When Jack was six, the Scholarly Attorney left his luxurious home, his lucrative law practice, and his attractive wife. He went to the capit al city to write religious pamphlets and to help the "unfortunates." Jack never understood Burden's desertion. Many years later, after Judge Irwin's death, Jack discovers the reason: The Scholarly Attorney was not his natural father. Jack w as conceived during an affair between the Judge and his mother. After this revel ation, Jack's view of the Scholarly Attorney as a weak man is reinforced. Nevert heless, Jack acknowledges the man's sensitivity and compassion. ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: SAM MACMURFEE Sam MacMurfee, a powerful politician, is Willie's archenemy. He is often mention ed, but never makes an appearance in the novel. Why do you think he is never sho wn in a face-to-face confrontation with Willie? What reasons could Jack Burden, the narrator, have for not showing MacMurfee in action? ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: CASS MASTERN Cass Mastern appears as part of a story within the story. While a college studen

t, Cass had an affair with the wife of his best friend, Duncan Trice. When Dunca n found out, he killed himself. Hence, Cass spent the rest of his life trying to atone for his intense feelings of guilt. As a Confederate soldier in the Civil War, Cass sought death. Finally, a bullet found him. Cass's story was to be the subject of the Ph.D. dissertation that Jack never wrote. Some readers view the Cass Mastern story in Chapter 4 as an unnecessary digressi on in the novel. Others, however, see Cass as a major figure and compare him wit h other characters--for instance, with Willie and the Scholarly Attorney and eve n with Adam Stanton and Judge Irwin. Is Jack's inability to understand Cass's se nse of guilt a symptom of Jack's withdrawal from human involvement? Why do you t hink the novel ends with Jack's writing a book on Cass Mastern? ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: SETTING Robert Penn Warren began Proud Flesh, the unpublished verse drama that became Al l the King's Men, in Italy during the days preceding World War II. Mussolini, It aly's Fascist dictator, regularly marched his black-shirted thugs through the co bbled streets of Rome. Warren saw this display of force and was reminded of Loui siana governor Huey Long's private army, called "Huey's Cossacks," composed of m embers of the National Guard and the highway police. Impressed by both these lea ders' rise to, and adept use of, power, he sought to explore how and why a perso n obtains power. In particular, he was intrigued by the roles that time and geog raphy play in the creation of such leaders, who rely on strong-arm tactics to ac quire and hold on to power. But Warren didn't write about Italian politics; he s et his story in the place he knew best, the southern region of the United States . During the years after the Civil War and through the 1930s, parts of the souther n United States were so poor that many people lived in shacks with holes in the roof large enough to make stargazing possible. Other people lived the comfortabl e lives of Southern aristocrats and, for the most part, ignored the poor folk. T he poor felt helpless. Thus, when leaders emerged who understood their despair a nd promised to alleviate their suffering, the poor raised their voices in a roar of approval. But these leaders, alas, too often resorted to unethical and corru pt practices for righting decades of wrongs. The Southern setting of All the King's Men offers a vivid landscape for explorin g the universal theme of power--its use and the effect it has on those who use i t. Nevertheless, a story similar to Willie Stark's rise to power and Jack Burden 's dependence on a man of power could be told in a variety of settings. The ingr edients for such a story include a time and place in which the masses are helple ssly grasping for a messiah to pull them out of the meaningless chaos of their l ives. ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: THEMES One mark of an outstanding novel is its power to stimulate a variety of interpre tations. All the King's Men has generated many interpretations because it offers a wide scope of thematic questions, from politics to psychology, from philosoph y to religion. 1. POWER AND CORRUPTION Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the king's horses and all the king's men Couldn't put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

You can see that, on one level, All the King's Men is about a great man's fall. If you consider Willie Stark the king (and there is some disagreement on who is the king in the title), one of the main themes of the novel is Willie's moral de terioration. His early political activities were directed toward the welfare of the people. But his growing concern for power and his increased need to preserve it transform the honest politician into a ruthless governor. Some readers call this the Huey Long theme. Long's early political career was de voted to helping the underprivileged. But as his power grew, wealthy individuals and industries joined his camp; graft, blackmail, and frenzied rhetoric became standard strategies for maintaining control. Then, at the age of forty-three, Lo ng was slain by a physician whose exact reasons for wanting to kill Long still r emain a mystery. Long's bodyguards immediately shot the assailant dead. Very little is known about Long's private life. Whether he experienced psycholog ical conflicts similar to Willie's--that is, internal battles between ideals and results--is uncertain. Thus, although Warren's novel certainly follows the exte rnal course of Long's life, it may or may not reflect Long's private character i n its depiction of Willie's path of moral decay. If you are interested in pursuing the Huey Long theme, you may want to read thre e other novels inspired by Long's assassination. Hamilton Basso's Sun in Caprico rn (1942), a thriller about a political scoundrel and one of his victims; John D os Passos's Number One (1943), the second volume of a trilogy about the aide of a powerful demagogue; and Andria Locke Langley's A Lion in the Street (1945), a study of the proposition that absolute power corrupts absolutely. 2. GOODNESS OUT OF EVIL Willie believes that goodness derives from evil because there is nothing else fr om which to make it. This idea comes from the mature, disillusioned Willie, who has become a tough-minded politician after losing his first political job--when he refused to kowtow to the local kingpins--and after discovering he was manipul ated by the bosses who wanted to split rural votes. Willie tells Jack, "Man is c onceived in sin and born in corruption and he passeth from the stink of the didi e to the stench of the shroud." As he sees it, goodness is not an inherent human characteristic. People, basically, are prone to corruption and evil. Goodness h as to be made. Adam Stanton hears Willie's philosophy and asks how, then, anyone recognizes what is good. Willie responds, "You just make it up as you go along. " And he explains that goodness becomes whatever is in the best interests of soc iety at the time. Yet, in his innermost being, has the young idealistic Willie been totally annihi lated by the mature Willie's pessimistic attitude toward human nature? Has he ab andoned all hope in the goodness of mankind? Perhaps the epigraph on the title p age of the novel offers you a clue. Warren quotes from Dante's Divine Comedy: "M entre che la speranza ha fior del verde." ("As long as hope still has its bit of green.") As you read the novel, consider what relation the epigraph has to the novel in general and to Willie's philosophy of human nature in particular. 3. THE SEARCH FOR A SPIRITUAL FATHER Most readers believe that All the King's Men is more Jack Burden's story than Wi llie's. Jack is one of the king's men but not one of his stooges. He keeps his d istance from the internal politics of Willie's administration. Nevertheless, Jac k needs Willie. Some readers interpret Jack's relation to Willie as one of son t o father. At an early age, Jack was abandoned by the man who he thought was his father, Ellis Burden. Jack could never understand Burden's actions or respect hi m. He regarded him as weak. He felt dispossessed and sought a spiritual father i n the strong and energetic Willie Stark, but even Willie disappoints him. Thus,

Jack's discovery of his actual father--Judge Irwin, whom Jack has always respect ed--is a turning point in his life. 4. THE SEARCH FOR KNOWLEDGE Some readers believe that man's search for knowledge is the primary theme of All the King's Men. For them, every aspect of the novel revolves around Jack's jour ney toward self-knowledge. Jack's path twists through the politics of his times and frequently leads back into the past. Like other characters, Jack finds that his greatest problem is his lack of knowledge. Specifically, he doesn't understa nd why his parents got divorced, what meaning life holds for him, or how he fits into the patterns of history. Self-knowledge, he learns, is not easily gained. He pays dearly for it, through the deaths of his closest friends--Judge Irwin, A dam Stanton, and Willie Stark. He concludes that "all knowledge that is worth an ything is maybe paid for by blood." Perhaps self-knowledge is gained through suf fering. It's not a pleasant prospect. What do you think? Do you learn the most a bout yourself through your successes and good times or through your failures and disappointments? 5. IDEALISM VS. MATERIALISM Who are the happiest, most self-fulfilled, most admirable people--those who clin g to ideals or those who are willing to abandon ideals when they stand in the wa y of pleasure and power? All the King's Men asks this question by presenting you with characters such as Adam Stanton and Lucy Stark, who live in accordance wit h traditional values, and Tiny Duffy and Sadie Burke, who seek gratification thr ough any available means. Jack and Willie, however, live the more complex lives; the conflicting traits of being idealistic and practical at the same time are a t war in their own personalities. They seem to have a vision of what counts as e xcellent human attributes, but their behavior often reflects the belief that the world is merely a set of physical circumstances to be manipulated. As you'll se e, Willie uses people to put his ideas into action, and Jack embraces the "Great Twitch"--which says that human actions are no more significant than a facial ti c--to avoid heartfelt pain. But note that in the end both men return to the impo rtance of such human values as responsibility and loyalty to loved ones. 6. FREE WILL VS. DETERMINISM All the King's Men in part is an exploration of the age-old philosophical debate between free will and determinism. Jack's theory of the Great Twitch, which he concocts after learning that Anne Stanton has become Willie Stark's mistress, is a deterministic theory. A twitch on an old man's face fascinates Jack because t he man is not aware of the involuntary jerks. Jack generalizes from this phenome non to all of life and says that human action results merely from physical stimu li, not from such ideas as moral principles. This theory allows him to deny his responsibility in what he sees as Anne's fall from purity and to believe that An ne herself is not responsible for her actions. According to Jack, human beings a re no more than cogs in the wheels of a mechanical universe. But Jack does not r emain a strict determinist, that is, a person who denies the possibility of huma n will altering the course of events. Throughout the novel, he vacillates betwee n believing that people are tangled in a web of events over which they have no c ontrol and believing that they are ultimately responsible--by virtue of their fr ee will to choose one action over another--for what happens to them and to other s. ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: STYLE When discussing an author's style, you are referring to the distinctive way in w hich the writer uses language to tell a story or to express ideas. In All the Ki ng's Men, Warren brings together images of the real world and ideas he has fashi

oned from experience, and through the voice of Jack Burden he weaves these eleme nts of style into a conversation with you. In general, then, the style of the no vel is conversational, yet at times, as you'll see, the conversation goes beyond casual talk--it reveals the actual structure of Jack's way of thinking. The following brief analysis of an excerpt from the novel may help you to get a grasp on Warren's narrative style. Here, from Chapter 8, Jack is telling you abo ut his trip home from California, where he fled after learning that Anne, the wo man he has always loved, is now Willie's mistress. In a settlement named Don Jon, New Mexico, I talked to a man propped against the shady side of a filling station, enjoying the only patch of shade in a hundred miles due east. He was an old fellow, seventy-five if a day, with a face like su n-brittled leather and pale-blue eyes under the brim of a felt hat which had onc e been black. The only thing remarkable about him was the fact that while you lo oked into the sun-brittled leather of the face, which seemed as stiff and devita lized as the hide on a mummy's jaw, you would suddenly see a twitch in the left cheek, up toward the pale-blue eye. You would think he was going to wink, but he wasn't going to wink. The twitch was simply an independent phenomenon, unrelate d to the face or to what was behind the face or to anything in the whole tissue of phenomena which is the world we are lost in. It was remarkable, in that face, the twitch which lived that little life all its own. I squatted by his side, wh ere he sat on a bundle of rags from which the handle of a tin skillet protruded, and listened to him talk. But the words were not alive. What was alive was the twitch, of which he was no longer aware. One of the first things you probably noticed about this passage is that most of the sentences are long and descriptive (word pictures are drawn so that you can see the old man as Jack saw him). The sentence length and structure mimics speec h. There are word repetitions (for example, "sun-brittled leather," "remarkable" ) and tag-on phrases ("which once was black," "up toward the pale-blue eye")--al l typical of conversation. Also, you may have noticed that Jack is talking to yo u, as if you and he were passengers together on a trip. Jack shares his impressi ons by using colloquial phrases ("seventy-five if a day") and pictorial comparis ons ("as still and devitalized as the hide on a mummy's jaw"). In the fifth sentence, Jack switches from describing the old man to giving you s ome insight into his view of the world. From the concrete experience of meeting the old man, Jack presents a philosophy of life. Instead of describing felt hats and winks, he talks about "the whole tissue of phenomena which is the world we are lost in." Jack is telling you how he feels-human actions and words are insig nificant; the world is a mechanism so complicated that no one can ever understan d it, nor should anyone even try to do so. Jack, of course, is depressed and dis illusioned. At the moment, he has a narrow, insulated perspective and can't see the larger texture of life. How do you know? Not because Jack tells you, but bec ause Warren shows you the structure of Jack's way of thinking, through the organ ization of Jack's talk and through the concrete image of the twitch. The form of language used by Warren tells you almost as much about the personali ty and attitude of a character as the content of the speech. For example, Sadie Burke's language is the equivalent, for her time, of today's street talk. It is often coarse, vulgar, and candid. Willie's speech is subdued and subservient in his early political career, but once he wields power, he speaks quickly and usua lly says whatever is on his mind, without regard for other people's feelings. Yo u might compare the changes in Willie's use of language with the changes in his personality, looking at the parallels between his rise to power and his increasi ngly pointed speech. Another significant aspect of Warren's style is his use of images. Keep in mind that Warren is a poet as well as a novelist. In poetry an image is a word or a s

eries of words that paint mind-pictures of someone's sensory experiences or emot ions. For Warren, then, images are vivid, concrete ways of expressing characters ' perceptions, feelings, motivations. The following are some key images in All t he King's Men. Light and Darkness. Jack often describes his world in terms of light and darknes s. Things blaze in the sun, dazzle on the horizon, glitter in someone's eyes, sh ine in the starlight, flash from the train. Also, things are shuttered in shadow s, plunged into blackness, split by darkness, blurred by the speed of a black Ca dillac. Water. Jack often uses water images in talking about his innocent childhood and his love for Anne Stanton. He grew up by the sea. Anne's youthful figure during her puberty fascinates Jack as he watches her float on her back. Both Anne and J ack become sexually aroused by a kiss, as Anne rises from a deep dive into a swi mming pool. The night they almost make love, it rains. And when Anne becomes Wil lie's mistress, Jack sees green scum on a shrunken pool. Machines and buildings are two other pervasive images in the novel. The novel be gins in a black, speeding Cadillac that zips past shacks along the highway and p lantations among the distant trees. Willie is often associated with machines--he controls a political machine and he wants to improve the economy of the state t hrough technology. Lucy, on the other hand, is more associated with buildings, e specially farmhouses. For Lucy, the homestead on the farm represents the secure, simple, happy life that she seeks for her family. ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: POINT OF VIEW Jack Burden is both the narrator and the central character of All the King's Men . He tells you about his experiences and shares his reactions to, and reflection s on, these events. Thus, the point of view of almost all of All the King's Men is first-person subjective. Jack's biting wit, detached attitude, and suppressed passion are evident throughout the story. He is keenly alert, and, as he tells you, he is a trained historian and an experienced journalist. As such, he attemp ts to be an objective reporter by recording dialogue, thereby providing insight into the personalities of other characters. But it still remains true that whate ver you learn about Willie or Anne or any of the others, you learn from Jack. Wh at you see is what he shows you. Whether you can trust him to give you an accura te account of events is for you to decide. Only in Chapter 4 does Jack depart from using the first person. Here, he relates the story of another man, Cass Mastern, who lived during the Civil War era, and he uses the third person to tell this story within a story. In fact, during mos t of this chapter Jack disappears altogether. When he does mention himself, he t alks about what Jack Burden--not "I"--did. Using the third-person point of view has the effect of drawing you into Cass's tale of a sour romance. Jack withdraws and gives Cass the spotlight. ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: FORM AND STRUCTURE Robert Penn Warren's fascination with the concept of time is reflected in the st ructure of All the King's Men, which moves forward in time and backward in memor y. And through the use of flashbacks, Warren seeks to show that past, present, a nd future are bound up with one another in the web of life. The flashback, then, is the distinctive feature of the novel's structure. Yet, Warren's frequent use of flashbacks--even flashbacks within flashbacks--can sometimes be confusing to readers. ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS

1850s 1860s 1914

Cass Mastern's college days and romance with Annabelle. Cass's death from a Civil War wound. Foreclosure proceedings on Judge Irwin's plantation; Judge's marriage and mortgage payment in full; Jack, Anne, and Adam's youth in Burden's Landing. Anne and Jack's romance begins.

1918

1920-21 Jack's graduate studies in history and his marriage to Lois. 1922 1924 1926 1930 1933 1936 1937 1938 1939 Willie and Jack meet. The schoolhouse tragedy. Willie's first campaign for governor. Willie is elected governor; Jack becomes his aide. The Byram White affair. Willie's visit to Pappy's farm; beginning of Jack's research on Judge Irwin. Anne's affair with Willie; Jack's trip to California; the Judge's suicide; Willie's assassination. Anne and Jack's marriage. Perspective from which Jack narrates novel.

Warren manipulates time in All the King's Men. Making leaps from one time to ano ther is consistent with the way a person's memory generally works and, in this c ase, reflects the way that Jack associates events. As mentioned in the Style sec tion, the novel presents you with the structure of Jack's thought, but is also a showpiece for Warren's belief that human action and meaning are a consequence o f a complex interaction among the past, present, and future. ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: THE STORY All the King's Men has a complex structure, and the relationships among events c an be difficult to grasp at the first reading. To clarify the structure, the fol lowing discussion divides most chapters into sections. The title of each section refers to the main topic of the section. ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: SECTION ONE: MASON CITY Jack Burden begins his story by taking you on a trip from the capital in the sou thern part of an unnamed state to Mason City, the home of Governor Willie Stark, in the northern part. It's a dazzling, hot day. You pass through the flat count ry where blacks are working the cotton fields. In the distance you see clumps of live oaks, among which the big houses of the landowners are safely hidden. On t he sides of the new blacktop highway are rows of whitewashed shacks, with black children sitting on doorsteps sucking their thumbs. Then, you pass through the land of red clay hills, on which pine forests once st ood. Now the trees are gone. The mills are gone. And the millowners have left, w ith their pockets full and with diamond rings on their fingers. On the land rema

in only the poor, unemployed "hicks." You are entering Mason City. NOTE: THE LANDSCAPE The landscape of All the King's Men is the most subtle "cha racter" in the novel. It is poor in resources and economically stripped--a portr ait of the Depression-era South, ravaged by industry and personal greed. To call the landscape a character may seem odd, but to narrator Jack Burden it is a liv ing thing that forms the characters of men and women. And, in turn, the landscap e is formed by men and women. This reciprocal process also occurs within the pol itical structure of the state: Kingmakers form kings and kingmakers are formed b y kings. Thus, the intertwining of the landscape's character and the human polit ical character is a significant aspect of the story that Jack tells. Key words to note in the descriptive opening passages are "black" and "dazzle." Amid the black conditions of the times ("black dirt," "black smoke," "blackstrap molasses," "black skull and crossbones"), Jack Burden is dazzled by the changes that are taking place. Also, notice the narrator's use of "you" in his attempt to make you, the reader, a part of his experience. At this point Jack tells you he is remembering an event that happened three year s ago in 1936. The Boss, Governor Willie Stark, has assembled an entourage to ac company him to his father's farmhouse in Mason City for family photographs. Driv ing the Boss's Cadillac is Sugar-Boy, a young, short, balding Irishman who eats sugar cubes, stutters, and carries a handgun. Also in the Cadillac are the Boss' s son and wife, political lackey Tiny Duffy, and Jack. In the other car are the Boss's secretary, a photographer, and some reporters. The party arrives in Mason City on a Saturday afternoon. An unusual feature of t he town is the clock on the courthouse tower. It is not a real clock; its painte d hands always point to five o'clock. Could the interpretation be that time stan ds still in Mason City? How might time be said to stand still in this part of th e rural South? NOTE: TIME AND MEMORY Throughout All the King's Men the concept of time is enor mously important. Jack Burden is trying to understand his present situation by l ooking into his own past and into the past of the major figures in his life. He is struggling to accept his past, so that he can go on with his life. In order to portray the struggle within Jack's consciousness, Robert Penn Warren uses the narrator's memory of events to organize this tale. Thus, Warren does n ot employ a strict chronological sequence of events. Memory is spurred by associ ating one idea with another. One technique to simulate the way that memory works is the flashback. This novel has many flashbacks. Some are elaborate--that is, they tell a minor yet relevant story within the major story--and some are brief remembrances associated with the immediate story. Willie walks into the drugstore. Suddenly, the crowd of people come alive, becau se Willie has been recognized. He grabs the hand of an old man, Malaciah, and as ks how he's been doing. Malaciah tells him about his son, who has had some "bad luck" and is now in prison for stabbing someone. Meanwhile, the drugstore owner sets up the house with free colas. And all the people beg Willie to make a speec h. With his head slightly bowed, Willie walks outside and climbs to the top of the courthouse steps. Jack observes the Boss closely. He sees the bulge and glitter of Willie's eyes, which suggest the coming of something important. For Jack, the suspenseful moment before Willie speaks is as cold and clammy as the moment bef ore opening a telegram. Why does Jack experience suspense in this moment? What i s he waiting for? Here, Jack reveals that he is something of a philosopher--that is, a person who

seeks to understand the nature of human beings and their place in the universe. He shares a bit of his wisdom with the reader when he says: "The end of man is k nowledge, but there is one thing he can't do. He can't know whether knowledge wi ll save him or kill him." Jack wants to acquire a certain kind of knowledge--sel f-knowledge. And part of what he wants to know about himself is why he is attrac ted to Willie. Is it possible that by understanding Willie Jack will understand himself? Why? Willie tells the crowd of home folk that he is not going to make a speech. But m ake a speech he does--a speech about not making a speech, about not doing any "p olitickin'" today. He says that he has come home to visit his pappy and to eat s mokehouse sausage. What the Boss has to say doesn't matter to the crowd. They ta ke pleasure simply in basking in his glow. As the Cadillac leaves the town square, heading for the Stark homestead, it pass es the schoolhouse. This building reminds Jack of the first time he met Willie. It was in 1922, during Prohibition times, in a speakeasy. Willie, in his capacit y as Mason County Treasurer, was in the capital on business about a bond issue f or a new schoolhouse. NOTE: PROHIBITION In 1920 the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution wen t into effect. It outlawed the sale and consumption of all intoxicating liquors. Supporters of Prohibition saw it as a means of cleansing Americans of sin and c orruption. But during the "Roaring Twenties," traditional "Puritan morality" was giving way to a new freedom. Many Americans turned their backs on efforts to le gislate personal behavior. They flocked to "speakeasies," illegal liquor establi shments that were often ignored by law-enforcement agencies. Lax enforcement led to the growth of organized crime--the gangster Al Capone, for example, got his start in the illegal "booze" business. When the Depression created a need for mo re jobs, anti-Prohibitionists argued that the legalization of liquor would incre ase the market for grain. So, in 1933, Prohibition was repealed. Jack ends his reminiscence of his first meeting with Willie by telling you that the bond issue passed, and that the new schoolhouse, now more than twelve years old, stands in Mason City. (The schoolhouse issue takes on greater significance in the next chapter.) Still in the speeding Cadillac, the Boss tells Jack to fin d a good lawyer to represent Malaciah's boy. Willie believes that the stabbing o ccurred during a fair fight. But, fair or not, without appearing to be involved, he wants the boy freed. This is a political matter, as are most things in the B oss's life. The entourage pulls up to Pappy's two-story, unpainted farmhouse. The crepe myrt le are blooming, and chickens are wallowing in the dust under the magnolias. The house has not been painted, in order, no doubt, to remind people that Willie an d his family are regular, poor country folk. But inside the house, out of the si ght of passersby, modern plumbing and a new linoleum floor have been installed. At the farmhouse, the photographer goes into action, taking pictures of Willie i n various poses--with an old dog, with his family, in his childhood bedroom with an old schoolbook in his hands. Reporters take notes. And Jack imagines how the Boss must have been as a boy, freckled and serious, with a nameless feeling of something big inside of him. Leaving the photography session, Jack walks past the stables, leans against a fe nce, and admires the sunset. After taking a swig of whiskey from his pocket flas k, he hears a gate creak. Feeling that nothing is real, he thinks of himself as an idealist because of his ability to ignore the facts presented by his senses-in this case, the sound warning of another person's approach. NOTE: IDEALISM The theory of idealism is that true reality lies in consciousnes

s or reason, not in material objects. The most famous supporter of idealism was the British philosopher and theologian Bishop George Berkeley (1685-1753). Berke ley claimed that there is no evidence to support the belief that anything "outsi de the mind" exists, with the notable exception of minds other than your own. Ma terialism, the belief that physical things are the only reality and that even th e mind can be explained in terms of physical processes, is the doctrine opposed to idealism. Jack says, "If you are an Idealist it does not matter what you do or what goes o n around you because it isn't real anyway." He seems to be seeking an escape fro m the brute facts of his life. But the curious thing about Jack's brand of ideal ism is that it does not seem consistent with the way he has been telling the sto ry. He has gone to great lengths to describe the importance to the Boss of appea rances--the secret hiring of a lawyer for Malaciah's son, Pappy's unpainted hous e, the family photographs. He has, in fact, relied heavily on descriptions of ph ysical things--places, people, events--in the tale so far. Why, then, does he su ddenly want to deny the reality of his surroundings? When a voice asks for a slug of his whiskey, Jack realizes that the Boss has bee n leaning on the fence with him. The gate creaks again. This time it is the Boss 's secretary, Sadie Burke. She interrupts the peacefulness of dusk by announcing that Judge Irwin has endorsed a candidate for the Senate who is not the Boss's pick. Clearly disturbed by the news, Willie changes his plans. No quiet sitting around the homestead tonight. With Sugar-Boy driving and Jack in tow, the Boss h eads for Judge Irwin's home in Burden's Landing, a bay shore town one hundred th irty miles away. ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: SECTION TWO: BURDEN'S LANDING Jack Burden, as you may have guessed, is related to the people for whom Burden's Landing is named. It was here that he was born and raised. Jack warns the Boss that Judge Irwin will not be easy to frighten. Jack knows. The Judge was like a father to him as he was growing up on the prestigious Row--the drive facing the bay--of Burden's Landing. As Jack directs Sugar-Boy to the Judge's house at the end of the Row, he thinks about his childhood friends, the children of Governor Stanton--Adam, now a famou s surgeon, and Anne, the girl Jack still loves, who is unmarried and living in t he city. Also, Jack remembers how, when he was a boy, his father, Ellis Burden, walked out of the house one day and never returned. NOTE: Although Jack does not yet tell you much about himself, here you discover that he has always had close connections with state politics and politicians. An d you can see the contrasts between Willie, a farmboy from the poor, upstate com munity of Mason City, and Jack, something of a Southern aristocrat from the weal thier and more politically influential community of Burden's Landing. While Will ie, as a boy, had to work hard for everything he got, Jack was born with the pro verbial silver spoon in his mouth. Another thing to note is that although Jack claims he does not want to remember anything ("If the human race didn't remember anything it would be perfectly heal thy"), he continually revisits his past. When the Cadillac stops in front of Judge Irwin's house, the Boss sends Jack to the door. The Judge seems glad to see Jack, until he notices Willie behind him. Uninvited, the Boss walks in and pours himself some whiskey. Quickly getting to the point, he wants to know why the Judge turned against his "boy" for the Senat e. He suspects that someone has dug up some dirt on his candidate and promises t o do the same on the man the Judge has endorsed. The Judge doesn't back down. Wh

en Willie suggests that maybe the Judge's hands are not altogether clean, Irwin orders him out of the house. Heading back to Mason City, the Boss gives Jack another assignment: Find some di rt on the Judge and make it stick! Jack appears reluctant to search for a scanda l on the man who was once like a father to him. He tells the Boss that he doubts there is any dirt to find. The Boss responds: "Man is conceived in sin and born in corruption and he passeth from the stink of the didie to the stench of the s hroud. There is always something." What does this remark tell you about Willie's view of human nature? You'll notice that Jack repeats Willie's remark several t imes. You might want to consider why these words made such a big impression on J ack. In this chapter, the narrator introduces you to two sides of Willie's character. In Mason City, Willie appears to be simply a "good ol' boy" who loves his famil y and cares for the poor people of the state. In Burden's Landing, however, his actions reveal that he is also a confident, hard-edged politician who, if necess ary, would ruin the reputation of others to get what he is after. As you learn m ore about Willie, try to discover what he is after. What motivates him? Is it po wer or money? Or is it something else? Also in this chapter the narrator introduces you to himself. He calls himself an idealist, who prefers to ignore reality, whenever possible. But his memory keep s interrupting the peace he is trying to make with himself. Jack is searching fo r answers to a tragedy he cannot forget, a tragedy that he only hints at--the de aths of Judge Irwin, Adam Stanton, and the Boss. What is this burden that Jack B urden carries? ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: SECTION ONE: THE SCHOOLHOUSE This chapter is the story of Willie Stark's rise to power and the role Jack Burd en plays in it. The story begins in 1922, a few months after Jack first met Will ie. At the time, Jack is a reporter for the capital city Chronicle. His managing editor tells him that there seems to be a battle going on in the Mason County c ourthouse--"that fellow Stark" against the local political machine. The battle c oncerns the bids for building the new schoolhouse. Jack's job is to find out wha t is going on. NOTE: Like Chapter 1, this chapter opens with a description of the road to Mason City. Jack compares his first trip, in 1922, with his last one, in 1936. But un like the first chapter, this one quickly turns from description to dialogue. Jac k and his editor engage in a lively, yet slightly hostile, conversation in which Jack exhibits a subtle wit and an understanding of the politics of the state. A bout the similarities between county and state politics, Jack says: "They run 'e m up there just like they run 'em down here." In other words, the "good ol' boy" system that often leads to corrupt political practices is found throughout the state. In Mason City, Jack sits with the "old ones" on a bench in front of the harness shop. He describes the bench as a place "where Time gets tangled in its own feet ." He sits there, hoping to hear some gossip about the schoolhouse issue. But he does not learn much from the old ones, except that they are against Willie beca use he wants to bring in a "passel of niggers" and put "white folks out of work. " As Jack says, Mason County is redneck country. Next, Jack goes into the courthouse, where he meets the Sheriff and Dolph Pillsb ury, the chairman of the County Commissioners. These men are every bit as racist as the old ones on the bench, but their racism is much more dangerous. Together , they run the local political machine. But Jack does not learn much from them, either.

NOTE: The old ones, the Sheriff, and Pillsbury come across as stereotypes. Jack sees them as one-dimensional characters. They fit the familiar pattern of smalltown, Southern rednecks. Stereotyping people is, of course, difficult to avoid in everyday life and in fi ction writing. All of us, from time to time, categorize people into types--liber al or conservative, sophisticated or provincial. Why do we stereotype people? Wh y does Jack do so here? Is Jack himself a stereotype? Down the hall is Willie Stark's office. Jack describes it as "the one-man leper colony of Mason City." Here, Willie begins telling Jack his side of the schoolho use story. He finishes it about eleven o'clock that night at his father's farm. Willie tells Jack what he came to hear. Indeed, there are some political shenani gans going on in Mason City. Willie became county treasurer because he is a dist ant relative of Pillsbury. At least, that was part of the reason. And all was go ing reasonably well until the bond issue for the new schoolhouse was passed. Several contractors submitted estimates for building the schoolhouse. Willie wan ted to accept the lowest bid, made by a large downstate firm that employed many skilled Negro laborers. But Pillsbury and his cronies insisted on accepting the bid from J. H. Moore. Moore, it turns out, had an interest in a brick kiln owned by Pillsbury's brother-in-law. Willie protested. But Pillsbury countered his protests by screaming "nigger-love r" and "white unemployment." Because of community pressure, Willie's wife, Lucy, then lost her teaching job. Willie continued fighting against the Moore bid. He pointed out that there were two bids between the lowest bid and Moore's bid. Wh y not accept one of these if the Pillsbury group was dissatisfied with the downs tate firm? Further, he knew that the Moore brick kiln had recently been sued for making rotten bricks. The community did not listen. Jack takes Willie's story back to the Chronicle. The Chronicle is happy to get i t, the first of several articles portraying Willie as a folk hero. But Mason Cou nty is not the only place where political skulduggery is going on. The Chronicle also discovers corrupt practices in the courthouses throughout the state. Thus, Jack comes to realize that his newspaper is bent on shaking up the state politi cal machine. Meanwhile, Willie goes to work on the race for county treasurer but doesn't have a chance of winning the election. The community has typed him as a "nigger-love r." And even the local press refuses to run his ads or to print his handbills. Willie loses the election by a landslide. He continues to live and work on his f ather's farm. He peddles Fix-It Household Kits. And late at night he studies law . Then Fate steps in. About two years after the new schoolhouse is built, there is a fire drill. A metal fire escape pulls loose from the brick wall and falls-the bricks were rotten. Three children are killed and a dozen or so are seriously i njured. The people remember Willie's opposition to the Moore bid and feel punish ed for voting against an honest man. This tragic incident, Jack says, is Willie' s luck. ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: SECTION TWO: THE CAMPAIGN Willie is a lawyer now. And although he remains gullible and politically naive, he has a more cynical attitude toward life than he did before he lost the county treasurer election. For example, he studied long and hard for the bar examinati

on, but when he took the exam, he burst out laughing about the simplicity of "th ose crappy little questions." Willie's reaction is not unusual for someone who has spent a long time working t oward what seems to be an unreachable goal. Lawyers, he thought, are people who should be expected to answer difficult questions on an examination. The exam did not challenge him. Perhaps he expected too much. It is worth noting that Willie seems more interested in the social rewards that knowledge can bring (for instance, being a lawyer or a politician) than he is in having knowledge for its own sake. Social approval and recognition are more imp ortant to him than intellectual understanding and self-knowledge. In this respec t, Jack and Willie are opposites. One day some fat men in striped pants come in a big car to the farm and ask Will ie to run for governor. Already, there are two men in the race--Joe Harrison, po pular with city people, and Sam MacMurfee, popular with rural folk. Willie's vis itors are from the Harrison camp, but Willie doesn't know it. Because Willie has become something of a folk hero, they hope he can split the MacMurfee vote. He falls for their flattery and begins to think that perhaps he is the state's mess iah. After all, the schoolhouse incident was a pretty convincing show that he ha s a unique relation to God and Destiny. So Willie, with his ideals and fantasies , goes on the campaign trail. Jack is the Chronicle reporter assigned to Willie's campaign. Night after night, in an adjoining hotel room, he hears Willie polishing his speech. Day after day , he sees the crowds tune Willie out. Willie's speeches are awful. He spews out facts and figures, awkwardly presents issues, and relies on the sayings and sent iments of men long dead. Finally, Jack tells Willie that he isn't gaining suppor ters because he talks about issues instead of trying to arouse emotions. What do es Jack's comment say about his view of the American voter? Do most audiences pr efer emotional excitement to information? Are people generally elected to high o ffice on flash and style? After accidentally learning from Sadie Burke that he's been duped, however, Willie does develop flash and style. Late one evening Sadie, who is Willie's secretary and a spy for the Harrison gro up, comes into Jack's hotel room while Willie is openly worrying that he's not g oing to be governor. Thinking that Willie knows he's been framed, Sadie reveals the truth. Further, she calls him a sap and a sucker. Shocked, Willie reaches fo r Jack's whiskey, takes his first drink of hard stuff, and keeps drinking until he passes out. The next day, at a barbecue, Willie, despite his considerable han gover, gives a barn-burning speech. Speaking from his heart, he excites the crow d by telling them what it's like to be a redneck and to be used because of it. H e tells them what a dummy he has been for the Harrison people. Then he throws hi s facts-and-figures speech into the air and resigns from the governor's race in favor of MacMurfee. He says, "Me and the other hicks, we are going to kill Joe H arrison so dead he'll never even run for dog catcher in this state." And Willie is as good as his word. Using his own money, he travels the state mak ing speeches for MacMurfee. Standing with a thumb in his overall strap, he begin s his speeches with "Friends, rednecks, suckers and fellow hicks." Willie has fo und his own political voice and style. And even though he calls his audience hic ks and tells them things they don't want to hear, they listen and vote for MacMu rfee. With Willie's energetic support, MacMurfee becomes the next governor. While MacMurfee is governor, Willie practices law in Mason City. Several of his cases make the state papers, and one, in which he represents an oil company, mak es him rich. Then, in 1930, he again runs for governor, and wins. When Willie go es to the capital, he takes with him some of his old enemies--the Harrison peopl e, the most important being Tiny Duffy, one of the fat men who helped to frame W

illie. But now Willie wants him around. Why? Well, he tells Jack, Tiny reminds h im of something he doesn't ever want to forget: "That when they come to you swee t talking you better not listen to anything they say." Jack, however, thinks tha t Tiny is there for another reason. He sees Tiny as Willie's "other self," his c ontemptible and corruptible self. NOTE: Some readers think that Robert Penn Warren "was" Jack Burden, that Jack re presented Warren's attitude toward the characters and events in the novel. Warre n, however, has said that he is all of the characters and continues to be involv ed in them. To some extent, then, the novel's characters the thoughts, feelings, and attitudes of the author himself. In a similar fashion, Willie's character can be understood, at least partly, by looking at the people whom he gathers around him. Of course, you learn what Will ie is like through his words and actions. But also, by observing his chosen aide s and companion--especially Tiny, Sadie, Jack, and, later, Anne Stanton--you lea rn more about what makes Willie tick. Thus, as you read further, notice the ways in which the other characters provide for Willie a mirror to reflect both admir able and despicable qualities. Also, you might consider to what extent you too s urround yourself with people who reflect some of your characteristics--both thos e that are obvious and others that may be hidden. ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: SECTION THREE: THE GREAT SLEEP In 1930, while Willie is running his own campaign for Governor, Jack quits his j ob at the Chronicle. The paper is backing incumbent MacMurfee, but Jack's column does not reflect the editor's position. Jack leaves and thus begins the "Great Sleep." Jack describes the Great Sleep as "dreaming of sleep, sleeping and dreaming of s leep infinitely inward to the center." Aimlessness, emptiness, and nothing are t he order of the day, every day. He lies in his bed and lets his imagination wand er. But this experience is not new to Jack. He reacted in the same way on two ot her occasions--just before he abandoned his Ph.D. dissertation in American histo ry and just before he walked out on his wife, Lois. The present Great Sleep, like the other two, occurs when Jack loses his directio n. He reflects on what has happened and begins to look at what can be, a time of transition. Perhaps you have had your days of Great Sleep. If so, what was it l ike? Did you, like Jack, hang around familiar places? Did you let your thoughts wander wherever they would without making any effort to discipline or direct the m? During Jack's third Great Sleep you meet Adam Stanton, the friend of his youth. Adam, a bachelor and a famous surgeon, lives in a shabby apartment in the capita l. Also, you meet Adam's sister, Anne. Anne is a trim, well-dressed, attractive woman who promotes certain charitable organizations. She, too, is unmarried. Jack thinks of himself as a modern-day Rip Van Winkle, but he adds a wrinkle to the famous story: "You went to sleep for a long time, and when you woke up nothi ng whatsoever had changed." But things do change. Jack wakes up and finds himsel f working for Willie, who is now the governor. What will he do for Willie? Willi e says, "Hell, I don't know. Something will turn up." NOTE: RIP VAN WINKLE "Rip Van Winkle" is a story in the American writer Washing ton Irving's first collection, The Sketch Book (1819-20). Rip, a simple, good-na tured fellow, wanders away from the village and his nagging wife to spend a peac eful day in the Kaatskill (Catskill) mountains. After meeting a group of odd-loo king, mysterious men and downing some of their liquor, he falls into a deep slee p. When he awakens and returns to town, he discovers that everything has changed

--his wife is dead and the American Revolution has come and gone. He has slept f or twenty years! Rip spends the rest of his days telling his tale to every passi ng stranger. Recent literary studies explore the psychological dimensions of this story, inte rpreting Rip's sleep as an escape from both his nagging wife and political turmo il (he sleeps through the American Revolution) and his awakening as a rebirth fa ntasy (his wife is dead and the Thirteen Colonies are independent). Perhaps Warr en wants you to compare Rip's tale to Jack's Great Sleep and his eventual awaken ing (later in the novel) to self-knowledge. ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: SECTION ONE: JACK BURDEN It is 1933 and Jack, now a research aide to Governor Stark, has come home to Bur den's Landing for a visit with his mother. He is reluctant to see her, knowing t hat his visit will end in argument. Nevertheless, he finds her charm irresistibl e and takes comfort in her affection. For instance, as he rests his head on her lap, she strokes his forehead and expresses concern over how tired he looks. His feelings toward his mother are ambivalent, but he doesn't exactly know why. While he sits in her parlor, he notices a new breakfront desk. In his memories o f this room the years unfold as a series of changes in furniture and changes in men. He remembers that when he was six years old his mother told him his father had gone and was never coming back. His father went away because, she said, "he didn't love Mother." After that Jack had a series of stepfathers. First, there w as the Tycoon, who died and left Jack's mother very rich. Then there was the Ita lian Count, whose passion was riding horses. And now there is the Young Executiv e, Theodore, who at forty-four is eleven years younger than Jack's mother. Jack has cute titles for all his mother's husbands, including his father, the Sc holarly Attorney. These titles reveal his cynicism and a disrespect for his moth er. But they also reveal a desire to give some order, through a categorization o f his mother's men, to his family life. About the argument that ends this visit home, an argument about working for Willie, Jack says: "Not that it mattered muc h what we rowed about. There was a shadow taller and darker than the shadow of W illie standing behind us." What do you think he means by this? NOTE: Some readers suggest that Jack's resentment toward his mother stems from a n unresolved conflict in early childhood, from the lack of an opportunity to tur n away from dependence on his mother toward an identification with, and respect for, his father. In Freudian terms, this source of adult personality disorders i s called an Oedipus complex. (In Sophocles' famous drama Oedipus the King, about 430 B.C., Oedipus, without knowing it, kills his father and marries his mother. ) Jack loses his father when he is six and then endures a series of stepfathers. Although none of the stepfathers appears to harm him in any way, perhaps Jack s aw himself as competing with them for his mother's affection. Could the theory o f an Oedipus complex explain Jack's ambivalent feelings toward his mother? Could it explain his emotional detachment in general? You'll soon see that Jack has a n abiding love for Anne Stanton. Consider whether she is a mother substitute for Jack. While in Burden's Landing, Jack is invited to Judge Irwin's home for dinner. All the guests, except Jack, are opposed to Governor Stark's new programs. To the w ealthy class of Burden's Landing, Willie is an ignoble Robin Hood who overtaxes the rich to help the poor and uses disreputable means for passing his programs t hrough the legislature. Coming to Willie's defense, the Judge says, "You don't m ake omelettes without breaking eggs." In other words, the Judge, an experienced politician himself, realizes that Willie has had to use questionable ways and me ans for reaching admirable ends so quickly. Nevertheless, the Judge is not one o f Willie's supporters. Does he defend Willie out of friendship for Jack? When cr

iticism of Willie grows harsher, in a spurt of enthusiasm Jack defends Willie's methods for helping the poor. His outburst bewilders the guests. They know, of c ourse, that Jack works for the governor, but they assumed that Jack's heart was really with them and the other Southern aristocrats of Burden's Landing. In this section you should note the ways in which Warren has revealed aspects of Jack's character--for example, his ambivalent feelings toward his mother, his t endency to clutch old memories, and his attitude toward Willie. Keep in mind tha t what you learn about Jack is what he, as narrator, chooses to tell you. To und erstand him well, you have to draw psychological lines between his memories of t he past and the immediate objects and events that trigger his memories. ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: SECTION TWO: THE BOSS Things are popping in the capital. One of Willie's appointees, State Auditor Byr am White, is being threatened with impeachment. The MacMurfee bunch, wanting to regain their old political influence, have accused White of graft. White is inde ed guilty and the Boss knows it, but he doesn't fire White. Instead, he scolds h im harshly and enjoys watching him grovel. White doesn't have the courage or int egrity to resign. When Jack asks why the Boss cruelly humiliates White, Willie s ays, "You do it because you are helping Byram fulfill his nature." Is Willie ser ious, or sarcastic? The most important question, however, is, Why does Willie save White from prosec ution, even after his wife, Lucy, and his attorney general, Hugh Miller, threate n to leave him if he supports White? Willie, remember, is a political creature. The White incident can weaken his power, can open him to attack, because an atta ck on one of Willie's men is an attack on Willie himself. Willie prepares to retaliate. He gives Jack two assignments--to gather incrimina ting evidence against one of MacMurfee's men and to make a second one realize th at going against Willie is not in that man's best interest. While Willie is outlining his plan, Hugh Miller enters and resigns as attorney g eneral. Clearly, Hugh likes having influenced the state supreme court in support of Willie's programs to help the common folk. Yet, as Willie points out, he is too "weak-kneed" to tolerate the underside of politics--that is, the harsh means Willie uses to persuade legislators to back his administration. The Boss questi ons not his resignation but why it took him so long to see that he could not kee p his feet clean while wading in muddy political waters. Willie and Hugh part as friends. Yet, behind him Hugh leaves an empty place, not just in Willie's polit ical organization but also on Willie's psychological scales, with their delicate balance between cold facts and high ideals. The representative of Willie's poli tical idealism is now gone. Thus, he has to create a new symbol of that idealism . He vows to build a new hospital, one that will serve without charge the poor p eople of the state. Before reading on, consider why Willie needs to have such a man of high ideals as Hugh on his staff. How is Hugh's political idealism differ ent from Jack's philosophical idealism? Would you rather have Hugh or Willie as governor of your state? What are your reasons? After Hugh leaves, Willie tells Jack he's worried that Lucy will leave him. Will ie and Sadie Burke are having an affair, and Willie even has brief affairs with other women when he is out of town. Lucy may know that Willie is unfaithful, but that isn't the reason she threatens to leave. She is opposed to Willie's protec tion of White and is afraid of the corruption that the White incident signals is creeping into Willie's administration. But Willie does protect White, and Lucy doesn't leave. She stays to help Willie through the bad times ahead, for the White impeachment attempt, it turns out, is merely the first step toward MacMurfee's ultimate goal--the impeachment of Will

ie himself. Willie is charged with using such illegal means as blackmail and bri bery to force legislators to drop impeachment charges against White. Willie responds to the charges by touring the state, making speeches to his supp orters. The day of the impeachment proceedings, the streets outside of the Capit ol are filled with people chanting "Willie, Willie, Willie--We want Willie!" Red necks, old women, gas station attendants, even county politicians gather from al l over the state to support Willie. That evening, on the Capitol steps, Willie t ells them that he is still governor. The crowd roars. What he doesn't tell them is that the decision in his favor wasn't made because of their chanting but beca use MacMurfee's men could be corrupted. As Jack looks out of a window high in the Capitol and sees the chanting crowd, h e reflects on an argument he had with his father, the Scholarly Attorney who bec ame a religious fanatic and pamphlet writer. His father had said, "God is Fullne ss of Being." Jack argued that "Life is Motion toward Knowledge." As such, he co ntinued, the existence of Complete Knowledge--God--must be denied because knowle dge can never be complete. Jack equates Knowledge with History. And knowledge is acquired by studying the links between the past and the present. The primary ac tivity of life, as he sees it, is the search for knowledge. But like history, th e search for knowledge never ends as long as life goes on. Nevertheless, as you will see, some people can make great strides toward acquiring self-knowledge. Ja ck is one of them. At this point in the story, however, Jack has only one kind of knowledge. He kno ws how the drama in the capital's streets will turn out. He has worked behind th e scenes toward the only possible conclusion--the corruption of MacMurfee's men. He says, "But even if I didn't believe in the old man's God... I felt like God brooding on History." In these passages several of the major themes of the novel come to light--the th emes of knowledge, of history, and of time. Keep these passages in mind as you c hart Jack's difficult and winding path toward self-knowledge. Willie returns to the mansion to find that Lucy has locked him out of her room. She did not attend his speech, nor did she let their son, Tom, go. Willie is ups et. He wishes that Lucy could understand the practical side of politics. But she cannot. She would, he says, be content to "sleep on the bare ground and eat red beans." Lucy stays with Willie through his reelection in 1934. Somewhat later, she goes to Florida for reasons of health, or so the public story goes. When she returns, she and Tom move to her sister's poultry farm outside the capital. ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: CASS MASTERN At the end of Chapter 1, the Boss tells Jack to dig up some dirty details about Judge Irwin's past. Jack doubts that the Judge has dabbled in any shady or disho nest deals. Nevertheless, here Jack tells you that his research was successful. But he does not reveal any details--not yet. Instead, he says that this research , which he calls the "Case of the Upright Judge," is his second major historical project. His first excursion into the past was undertaken when he was working o n his doctoral dissertation in American history. He did not finish his dissertat ion. But he does the next best thing (or perhaps this is the best thing): He sha res with you the story that haunted him as a graduate student and that haunts hi m still--the story of Cass Mastern. NOTE: A "FRAME" STORY This chapter is a complete story in itself--a compelling, romantic, yet tragic story. And it is a "frame" story, told in between descript ions of Jack's life in graduate school. The telling of Cass Mastern's story begi

ns in Jack's student apartment and ends when he walks out of it, leaving the puz zling documents behind. This is a natural way to tell a story that was intended to become Jack's dissertation. Many readers question why Warren included this story. William Faulkner, the bril liant southern novelist, after reading the publisher's draft of All the King's M en, suggested that Warren throw out the rest of the novel and publish only the C ass Mastern piece! But, as most other readers agree, the novel as a whole is a m asterpiece. And the Cass Mastern story is an important part of it. When seen in the light of later events, Jack's first excursion into the past helps him to dev elop his own sense of moral responsibility. When Jack came into possession of the Cass Mastern papers, he was studying Ameri can history at the university. A distant cousin sent him a parcel containing let ters and other documents that belonged to the cousin's grandfather, Gilbert Mast ern. Jack looked over the papers and saw some merit in them. He decided to write his dissertation on Cass Mastern's place in history, at least in the history of human emotion and responsibility. Cass Mastern was related to Jack on the Scholarly Attorney's side of the family. He lived during slave times and died in 1864 from a wound received while he was a Confederate soldier. But the part of his life that interests Jack starts when Cass was a student at Transylvania College in Kentucky. Cass began writing his journal then. The journal opens with a troubled sound. Cass writes: "For all men come naked in to the world, and in prosperity 'man is prone to evil as the sparks fly upward.' " Cass was born in poverty. But his brother, Gilbert, amassed much wealth and wa s able to send him to college. In college, Cass says, "I learned that there is a n education for vice as well as for virtue." He took up gambling, drinking, and womanizing. And his primary instructor in vice was a young banker, Duncan Trice. Cass, however, never mentions his name in the journal or the name of Duncan's w ife, Annabelle. Jack had to dig up this information out of old newspaper files. Jack's clue to the identities of Cass's friends was in his reference to the "acc idental" shooting death of the man who was Duncan Trice. But Annabelle Trice, not Duncan, is Cass's main concern in his journal. When Dun can brings Cass home with him, Cass falls in love with Annabelle at first sight. She was not a beautiful woman--"her beauty was in her eyes"--yet she was gracef ul and had a musical voice. Cass describes her every movement and expression, an d adds that Duncan was passionately devoted to her. A year later, in a garden, Duncan leaves Annabelle alone with Cass. In a subtle way, Annabelle lets Cass know that she is interested in him. Then, that summer, while Cass is away attending to plantation business, she sends him a note contai ning only two words: "Oh, Cass!" The following fall, they become lovers, and the affair continues that year and well into the next, until the day that Duncan is found dead in his library with a bullet in his chest. It appears that he has ac cidentally shot himself while cleaning his pistols. After the funeral, Cass meets Annabelle at the summerhouse. When she slips a gol d band--Duncan's wedding ring--on his finger, Cass discovers the truth: Duncan h ad deliberately shot himself. Annabelle's personal maid, a slave named Phebe, fo und the gold band underneath Annabelle's pillow. Somehow, Duncan had learned abo ut Cass and Annabelle's love affair. To rid herself of the constant reminder of guilt, Annabelle sells Phebe "down the river," even though Phebe has a husband w ho works near the Trice home. NOTE: SLAVERY IN THE SOUTH Until the Thirteenth Amendment (1865) to the U.S. Co nstitution abolished slavery, each state determined whether slavery was legal wi

thin its borders. For the most part, slaveholding states were confined to the So uth. Slavery helped to form Southern traditions, which were far different from t raditions in the rest of the nation. Slaves were white men's property, and they had no civil rights. For example, the y could not leave their plantations without written permission, and their marria ges were not legally recognized. In fact, as happened to Phebe and her husband, families were often separated when an owner sold a slave. Being sold "down the r iver" was one of the worst things that could happen to a slave, because it usual ly condemned the individual to a short life of hard labor or, sometimes in the c ase of female slaves, to sexual abuse. Annabelle's decision to sell Phebe "down the river" repulses Cass. To soften his own guilt, he goes in search of Phebe but never finds her. So, he returns to th e Mississippi plantation that his brother Gilbert gave him to manage, and he pro spers. After accumulating enough cash to buy the plantation from Gilbert, he fre es the slaves. In January 1861, Mississippi secedes from the Union, and soon thereafter, the Ci vil War begins. With his college background, Cass could have been a Confederate officer, but he enlists as a private. He wants to be on the front line of battle , because, he writes in his journal, "How can I who have taken the life of my fr iend, take the life of an enemy, for I have used up my right to blood." Looking for death, Cass marches into battle wearing Duncan's wedding ring on a string ar ound his neck, and he carries a musket that he never fires. Finally, a bullet fi nds him. Cass dies in an Atlanta hospital from the wound. Gilbert saved his jour nal, letters, and gold band, all of which, much later, come into Jack's possessi on. As a graduate student, Jack lived with the Mastern papers for a year and a half. And after all that time and research, he felt that he did not understand Cass. He had the facts but not the insights into human nature. So, Jack walked away fr om the feelings and left the facts in a box in his apartment. But as he moved fr om one apartment to another, the Mastern packet of papers somehow always seemed to catch up with him. NOTE: THE SPIDER WEB THEORY One of the passages most often quoted from All the King's Men is the following: Cass Mastern lived for a few years and in that time he learned that the world is all of one piece. He learned that the world is like an enormous spider web and if you touch it, however lightly, at any point, the vibration ripples to the rem otest perimeter and the drowsy spider feels the tingle and is drowsy no more but springs out to fling the gossamer coils about you who have touched the web and then inject the black, numbing poison under your hide. It does not matter whethe r or not you meant to brush the web of things. Your happy foot or your gay wing may have brushed it ever so lightly, but what happens always happens and there i s the spider, bearded black and with all his great faceted eyes glittering like mirrors in the sun, or like God's eye, and the fangs dripping. But how could Jack Burden, being what he was, understand that? Try to put the Spider Web Theory into your own words. What does it say about you r responsibility to friends, to acquaintances, to mankind, to history? What does it say about the consequences of your actions? ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: SECTION ONE: THE SCHOLARLY ATTORNEY In this chapter Jack tells you about the twists and turns of his second journey into the past. His assignment is to discover something scandalous about Judge Ir

win. And he does. Jack is an excellent researcher--perhaps too good. NOTE: Warren immediately follows the story of Jack's first piece of historical r esearch--the Cass Mastern case--with the story of his second project, the "Case of the Upright Judge." The purpose for putting these two historical projects one after the other is, in part, to reveal the process by which Jack comes to embra ce the Spider Web Theory of life. In the first half of All The King's Men, you see Jack attempting to live a life untouched by deep emotions. One significant element introduced by Warren is Jack 's failure to understand Cass Mastern's sense of guilt and responsibility for th e death of Duncan Trice and for Phebe's fate "down the river." And he becomes th e Boss's personal historian of the secret scandals of state politicians, with an attitude of indifference toward the effect that his findings may have on people 's lives. In the beginning of Chapter 5, Jack still does not see himself as a responsible agent in the web of life. Even though he is an experienced historical researcher , Jack has not yet realized, as Cass did, that "the world is all of one piece," and that the actions of all people, including his own, intertwine to give person al meaning to history. For Jack, history is an escape. Notice also, Jack's dispassionate attitude toward his search for incriminating i nformation against the Judge, a man who was like a father to him. Consider why J ack says that the Upright Judge case "was a perfect research job, marred in its technical perfection by only one thing: it meant something." Does Jack feel that practical results from a research project taint his efforts? Furthermore, why d oes Jack think that the Mastern research did not mean anything? After several excursions into the past--Willie's rise to power and the Cass Mast ern story--this chapter resumes where Chapter 1 ends. Sugar-Boy, the Boss, and J ack have returned to Mason City from their late-night visit with Judge Irwin in Burden's Landing. As you recall, the Judge refused to support Willie's candidate for senator. Willie then told Jack to dig up some dirt on the Judge. The Boss i s positive that his candidate will win. Nevertheless, he wants to have something against the Judge. And, unlike Jack, he is certain that there is something to b e found. Further, he does not care how long it takes to find, as Jack puts it, " the deceased fly among the raisins in the rice pudding." The next day, Jack goes to see the man who was once the Judge's closest friend-Ellis Burden, the Scholarly Attorney. Surely, if the Judge had ever stepped out of line, Jack's father would know. The Scholarly Attorney lives in the capital, above a Mexican restaurant. While w aiting for him, Jack sits in the restaurant, drinking beer and smoking cigarette s. The Scholarly Attorney enters, looking older than Jack remembers. The Mexican woman hands him a bag of bread crusts. Jack follows him when he leaves. The old man is taking the bread crusts upstairs to George, who, as the old man p uts it, is "an unfortunate." George does not eat the crusts. He chews them and m olds them into angels. The old man tries to feed him soup, but George will not e at anything except chocolate that the old man puts in his mouth. As Jack watches, an overwhelming feeling transports him back many years. In thei r white house by the sea, he sees his father tenderly holding out something for him to eat. Now, in the unfortunate's room, he feels a big lump dissolve in his chest. He says, "Father-" The old man asks what he said, but Jack does not repea t his broken call from the past. Instead, he again wonders why the Scholarly Att orney abandoned him and his mother. He breaks this painful train of thought by a sking, "Tell me about Judge Irwin."

The old man refuses to talk about the past. He says that the sinful man he was t hen is now dead. And when Jack tells him that it is the governor who wants to kn ow, he utters, "Foulness." The old man is determined never to be a part of polit ics again. Jack leaves, having learned one thing: There is indeed something buri ed in the Judge's past. Some readers see a similarity between the Scholarly Attorney and Cass Mastern. E llis Burden abandoned his successful law practice, his beautiful wife and home, and his young son, Jack. In a sense, he abandoned the materialistic world. Now, he spends his time helping unfortunates and writing religious pamphlets. Is he, as Cass was, trying to purge himself of some dreadful sin? As the story continue s, see whether you agree that the Scholarly Attorney and Cass Mastern are much a like. Are their "sins" similar? ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: SECTION TWO: THE QUESTION Jack takes his question about Judge Irwin's past with him on a friendly visit wi th Anne and Adam Stanton at their childhood home in Burden's Landing, the house the Stantons inherited from their father, the former governor. While Anne lights a fire, Jack watches her with admiration. She's happy and she's laughing. But h e destroys her cheerful mood by suddenly asking: "Was Judge Irwin ever broke?" Instead of answering his question, she tells Jack that she doesn't understand wh y he works for Willie, although, she confesses, she recently had lunch with him, hoping to convince him to divert some state money to the Children's Home. Jack is surprised that the daughter of the highly respected former governor would hav e lunch with the Boss. He warns her that such meetings could hurt her reputation . Could Jack be jealous? Anne defends her action by saying that she wants to do something important. Now, almost thirty-five and unmarried, she feels that she h asn't done enough with her life. Jack says that she could have married him, but marriage is not what she means. When Adam enters, Jack repeats his question about the Judge. Adam remembers that when he was a child, he heard an argument about money between the Judge and his father. Despite the serious note of Jack's question, the scene in the Stanton home is on e of the most light-hearted in the novel. Still, Jack can't seem to have a good time simply for the sake of having a good time. He must analyze it: "Were we hap py tonight because we were happy or because once, a long time back, we had been happy?" Why does Jack question everything? ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: SECTION THREE: THE ANSWER From Adam, Jack learns that the Judge needed money in 1913 or 1914. The informat ion gives him the direction he needs to break open the "Case of the Upright Judg e." Back in the capital, Jack finds Tiny Duffy pondering the Boss's decision to allo cate $6 million for a hospital. Tiny wants the Boss to give the building contrac t to Gummy Larson, who is one of MacMurfee's friends, but who could easily be bo ught. Tiny figures that by tying Willie up with Larson, Larson will substantiall y reward Tiny. Then Jack gets a call from Anne. She has discovered that the Judge solved his fi nancial problems by marrying a wealthy woman. Anne and Jack are both happy about her discovery. He really wants to prove that the Judge is a scandal-free man. B ut to prove it, he must follow up on all clues.

His wheels start spinning. If the Judge was broke, then he had to borrow money. To borrow money takes collateral. As collateral the Judge could use his home in Burden's Landing and a plantation he owned up river. If he needed a lot of money , he could mortgage the plantation. Jack goes to the courthouse in the county where the plantation is located. He di scovers that the plantation had indeed been mortgaged and that foreclosure proce edings had been started. But in 1914 the mortgage was paid in full. Of course, t he rich wife could have paid it. But was she really wealthy? Jack travels to Savannah to check into the background of the woman whom the Judg e had married. From all indications she had been very rich. Unfortunately, she h ad spent all her money before Judge Irwin married her. Jack's dogged research finally proves successful. He discovers that when Judge I rwin was state attorney general under Governor Stanton, he had accepted a bribe for dismissing a suit against an oil company that owed the state over $150,000 i n back royalties. After accepting the bribe, the Judge resigned as attorney general and took a job with a company that had interests in the oil company. A man named Littlepaugh h ad been fired to make room for the Judge. When Littlepaugh went to Governor Stan ton about the matter, Stanton refused to listen, Finally, Littlepaugh wrote a le tter to his sister about the situation and then jumped off his fifth-floor balco ny. Thus, not only was Judge Irwin indirectly responsible for Littlepaugh's deat h, but so was Governor Stanton. Jack ends this segment of the "Case of the Upright Judge" by saying that "all ti mes are one time, and all those dead in the past never lived before our definiti ons gave them life." Thus, a conviction that has been lying dormant in Jack sinc e the Cass Mastern case has come to light: The present defines the past. ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: SECTION ONE: THE HOSPITAL In the last chapter, Jack presented the details of his seven months of research on the "Case of the Upright Judge." In this chapter he tells you about several o ther important events that took place during the same seven months. For one thing, Willie's son, Tom Stark, wrecks his sports car. He had been drink ing. Unfortunately, the young woman with him is permanently injured. Her father threatens to initiate a lawsuit. Willie makes threats of his own and offers the father a substantial sum of money. Thus, the matter is hushed up. Except on Willie's home front. Willie's wife, Lucy, is tired of seeing her son b eing treated like a hero. She sees Tom becoming selfish, lazy, and wild. And she blames Willie: "You'll be the ruin of him." Willie, however, enjoys watching To m have the pleasures and opportunities that Willie himself never had as a young man. Other events occur during the months of Jack's research. Anne Stanton receives s tate funds for the Children's Home, and Willie, on national radio broadcasts, at tacks one of MacMurfee's men in the U.S. Congress. But for Jack, the most import ant events are those surrounding Willie's dream to build the biggest and best me dical facility in the nation. Planning the hospital has become Willie's chief concern. He visits some of the f inest hospitals in the country. He studies blueprints and reads books on hospita l management. The Willie Stark Hospital will be his gift to the rednecks of the state--a monument to his hidden idealistic nature. So, when Tiny Duffy approache s him one more time with his scheme to make Gummy Larson the hospital contractor

, Willie flies into a rage. He tells Jack that he does not want his hospital def iled by any political dealings. Further, he is going to hire the best man in the country to run it--Dr. Adam Stanton. The first section of this chapter reveals several sides of Willie's character, Y ou see Willie the doting father, who refuses to temper Tom's wild impulses. Will ie values the "manly" pursuit of being a football hero. Thus, he does not feel, as Lucy does, a need to insist that Tom lead a more disciplined life. Willie is blinded by his own vanity and by his need to compensate for his own unheroic you th. You also see Willie the practical politician, who knows how to get things done a nd how to take the pressure off himself. He uses a variety of ways to do so, off ering bribes, threatening to cut off a man's source of income (he did both with the injured woman's father), and publicly exposing a man's secret sins (as with MacMurfee's man in Washington). But in addition you see Willie the idealist, who wants to be remembered in histo ry for his good deeds. The Willie Stark Hospital is to be the symbol of his love for the common folk. And he cannot let swindlers like Tiny Duffy lay their dirt y hands on what he sees as his greatest contribution to the good of the people. Hence, he wants an idealist to run his hospital. In a sense, then, Adam Stanton represents the part of Willie that is committed to ideals, to sacred human value s. ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: SECTION TWO: FRIENDS Willie tells Jack, "Get Stanton." This new assignment amuses Jack. After all, Ad am is a friend of his youth, and he knows that Adam is not at all fond of the Bo ss. In fact, Jack sees the task of convincing Adam to head the Boss's hospital a s being more nearly impossible than it was to unearth a past scandal about Judge Irwin. Nevertheless, Jack goes to Adam's apartment to make Willie's offer: "Governor St ark wants you to be director of the new hospital and medical center." Adam sits in stunned silence while Jack presents his argument. In Willie's hospital, Adam would be able to see that all the poor people of the state were taken care of, a nd he would be paid rather handsomely. Moreover, he could run the hospital in wh atever way he liked, without any political interference. Adam responds that he w ill not be bought by the Boss. Growing impatient, Jack warns Adam that he will find what he needs to convince A dam to become the hospital director. Although he doesn't tell Adam, Jack is goin g to Memphis to pick up the letter that implicates Adam's father, the former gov ernor, in the Judge's scandal. Jack leaves, slamming the door. After he returns from Memphis, Jack responds to an urgent call from Anne. She de mands that Jack make Adam accept the Boss's offer, because, she explains, Adam i s trying to cut himself off from the world and being hospital director will keep him in touch with reality. Then she insists on knowing why Adam does not want t o take advantage of this career opportunity. Jack tells her that it is because A dam is the descendant of a long line of high-minded idealists who thought the wo rld should conform to their standards, and if Anne wants Adam to take the job, s he will have to change Adam's idealistic view of the world. When she asks how, J ack says, "I can give him a history lesson." What Jack means by "history lesson" is, of course, the papers he has on Governor Stanton's role in the Littlepaugh suicide and Irwin bribe affair. By seeing his father as less than perfect morally, Adam may change his view of the world. But will a change in Adam's viewpoint cause him to accept Willie's political practi

ces? What is Adam's view of the world? As Jack tells Anne, Adam is both a scientist a nd a romantic. The scientist in him sees everything as a tidy and orderly system ; the romantic in him sees the moral world of human conduct in a similar way. Fo r Adam, the bad molecules always behave badly, and the good ones always act in a ccordance with goodness. Thus, he has no place in his thinking for good molecule s that sometimes act badly. Yet, he is about to discover just such a set of mole cules when he learns one aspect of his father and Judge Irwin's place in history . With this new knowledge will Adam's view of the world change? Little does Anne know that her own view of the world is about to change. When Ja ck tells her about her father's indiscretion, Anne refuses at first to believe i t. Several days later, with the incriminating papers in her hand, she visits Ada m and then calls Jack with the news: Adam has accepted Willie's offer. But she a sks Jack for one favor--not to use the information against Judge Irwin until aft er the Judge has seen it. Jack agrees. Jack's news about Adam's acceptance both surprises and pleases Willie. He insist s on going to see Adam. Adam emphasizes his lack of respect for Willie's adminis tration, and the Boss lets Adam know that his opinions don't mean a thing to him . Then, Willie shares some of his philosophy with Adam. He says that goodness is not something inherited; goodness is made, and it is made out of badness, becau se there is nothing else to make it out of. Later, Jack thinks about the Boss's remarks on goodness. If Willie thinks that y ou make good from bad, why is he against letting Tiny Duffy make a deal on the h ospital contract? Gummy Larson is as competent a builder as any in the state. Something else is also bothering Jack. If he did not tell Anne about the Boss's offer to Adam and if Adam did not tell her, how did she find out? The answer com es from a raging Sadie Burke, who has just discovered that the Boss is once agai n "two-timing" her. Jack jokingly points out that Willie may be two-timing his w ife, but he can't be two-timing Sadie. Making threats against the Boss and his n ew mistress, the irate woman even accuses Jack of being involved. Then the truth finally dawns on Jack. The Boss's new mistress is Anne Stanton. In a daze, Jack walks to Anne's apartment. No words are exchanged. Anne simply n ods. NOTE: IRONY This chapter exhibits Warren's skillful use of irony. Irony is an a uthor's technique for presenting a set of circumstances in which the consequence s and the implications of someone's behavior turn out to be different from what the characters expected and, often, from what you expected. For example, while thinking about Adam's reaction to Judge Irwin's bribe, Jack s ays: "I couldn't cut the truth to match his ideas. Well, he'd have to make his i deas match the truth." But when Jack discovers Anne's involvement with the Boss, it is he who has to adapt his picture of the world to the truth. ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: ANNE STANTON The discovery of Anne's involvement with the Boss deeply disturbs Jack, and he f lees to California. NOTE: ANOTHER FRAME STORY Like Chapter 4, this chapter is a frame story. It is the story of the youthful romance between Jack Burden and Anne Stanton, framed i n the narrative between Jack's description of his eight-day trip to California a nd back. Jack's way of telling the story, however, differs from the way he tells the Cass Mastern story. This is a personal story that is close to his heart.

His romance with Anne has been in a state of limbo for many years. Yet, even wit h the new development, he does not see their romance as over. His love for Anne is still alive. And this love may be the only intense emotion that he has not su ppressed with his relentless cynicism and dispassionate investigations into othe r people's pasts. He could view the Mastern story with emotional distance, but h e is intimately involved with the Burden-Stanton romance. Further, this story is not over, not even at the chapter's end. Driving at seventy-five miles per hour through the mostly desert lands of the So uthwest, Jack describes himself as "moving back through time into my memory." He says it is like seeing an old home movie. He sees his father giving him candy. He sees himself hunting with Judge Irwin. And he sees a succession of stepfather s. But his memories focus on Anne Stanton. Jack grew up with Governor Stanton's two children, Adam and Anne. Adam is about Jack's age and Anne is four years younger. He remembers her as the little girl w ho always seemed to be around when he and Adam were playing. But then, in his tw enty-first summer, he began to see her in a different light. In his memory Jack goes back to that time. He is home from the university. In th e mornings he, Adam, and Anne play tennis, and in the afternoons they swim and s ail. They are a threesome. Then, one evening, when Adam is away, Jack and Anne g o to a movie. On the way home they stop at Hardin Point to watch the moonlight o n the bay. They sit in silence, as Jack tries to decide whether to kiss her. He does not. After that evening, however, things change between them. The romance h as begun. Anne and Jack spend an affectionate, happy summer together. Often they talk abou t what they will do when they get married. And one time she asks how he will mak e a living. Like most women in those days--about 1918--she, of course, will be a mother and a housewife. But Jack needs a career. However, he has not given the matter much thought, so he tells her that he is thinking of studying law. Making money is not important to her, but she does expect him to commit himself to som ething in life besides simply loving her. Jack lets their relationship drift along. He thinks of her as a young, sensitive , somewhat timid girl. And he thinks of himself as an older man of the world. Th ey never make love, but they come close one rainy night near summer's end. As Jack is driving to California, he thinks about what would have happened if he had not refused to make love to Anne and if they had been discovered in his bed room. Most certainly, he decides, everyone would have insisted on a wedding. Thu s, in this intermission in his home movies, Jack thinks, "My nobility (or whatev er it was) had had in my world almost as dire a consequence as Cass Mastern's si n had had in his." In other words, perhaps his marriage to Anne could have saved him. But saved him from what? A year later, Jack starts law school and hates it. Anne says that she doesn't ca re if he studies law; she just wants him to want to do something. He wants to ma rry her, but she refuses until he has found a purpose in life. Eventually, they go their separate ways. After flunking out of law school, he discovers that he h as a keen interest in history and so begins work on a Ph.D. in American history. But a year and a half later he abandons his dissertation, begins working as a r eporter for the Chronicle, and marries Lois Seager. Jack describes Lois as extremely attractive, as better looking than Anne. Yet, h e can't figure out why Lois married him--she has plenty of money and is not inte rested in brilliant conversation. He decides she must have married him for the B urden name. He does, however, include the possibility that she loves him.

The intriguing question, though, is why Jack married Lois. He doesn't love her o r respect her. He says that "the only things Lois knew about love was how to spe ll the word and how to make the physiological adjustments traditionally associat ed with the idea." As long as Lois simply behaves as a lovable, good-looking, se xy animal, the marriage goes well. But when she talks or acts in any way resembl ing a conscious human being, Jack becomes incredibly annoyed. Finally, Jack goes into his Great Sleep phase and one morning packs his suitcase and walks out of the apartment. Just as he left his dissertation, he abandons Lois. He never sees her again. Was his love for Anne responsible for his refusal to see Lois as a h uman being? Why did he like the "machine-Lois" but not the flesh-and-blood Lois? What do you think about Jack's way of dealing with his problems with Lois? In his role as narrator, Jack then brings the Burden-Stanton relationship up to date. After their breakup, Anne attended a two-year woman's college in Virginia, something of a finishing school. She became engaged several times but never mar ried. When Governor Stanton's health began to fail, she moved home to care for h im. He died seven years later. By the time Anne moves to the capital, she is alm ost thirty. In the city she finally does become engaged, but, again, does not marry. She rea ds books, keeps up her appearance, and does volunteer work for an orphanage. The n, Willie comes into the picture, and she becomes his mistress. Feeling betrayed, Jack heads west, away from the troubling situation. He feels t hat Anne never really loved him. Instead, he thinks that she "merely had a myste rious itch in the blood." But in his heart Jack knows that there was more to it than an itch. In fact, by the end of his reverie in California, Jack comes to se e that Anne has always known his problem--his lack of confidence in the world an d in himself. And he sees that, in a sense, he handed Anne over to Willie. Jack is beginning to take responsibility for his position in life and in history. He decides to go home. NOTE: Why is Anne having an affair with Willie? For a short time, Jack seems to be taking all the blame for Anne's affair. But this answer is too simple. For on e thing, it does not explain why Anne is attracted to Willie. Perhaps she feels an emptiness of her own that Willie's dynamic personality and self-confidence fu lfills. Jack sees that he did not live up to Anne's expectations. But why does s he have these expectations? Why has she always insisted that Jack exhibit a sens e of purposefulness? Some readers feel that she is looking for a father figure. ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: SECTION ONE: THE GREAT TWITCH Jack leaves California with a new confidence, acquired by his sense of having di scovered a secret knowledge. He doesn't really understand this knowledge until h e picks up an old hitchhiker in New Mexico. Jack becomes fascinated by a twitch on the old man's leathery cheek. The hitchhiker is not even aware of his twitch. Yet, the twitch seems to reveal all there is about the desperate conditions of the man's life. Suddenly, Jack feels that he has unraveled one of life's well-ke pt secrets: Life holds no more meaning than does the twitch on the old man's fac e. Jack experiences a feeling of liberation. He is at peace with the Great Twitc h. NOTE: BEHAVIORISM Some readers view the theory of the Great Twitch as a literar y version of the psychological theory of behaviorism. Behaviorism is the theory that human actions can be explained in terms of how people respond to external, observable influences. As such, people are considered to be no more than complic ated mechanisms. Their actions are caused by external forces, over which they ha ve no control. They may believe that they can choose to do this or that. But the notion of having a choice, along with the notion of having a mind, is a delusio

n. There is no such thing as free will. Therefore, no one is ever responsible fo r anything. One's actions are no more meaningful than the twitch caused by an el ectric current passing through the leg of a dead frog. As long as Jack believes in the Great Twitch, he can deny responsibility for Ann e's corruption or for anything else. He is absolved of guilt. His intense disill usionment vanishes. Now he can go on with his life, protected by his secret know ledge. Thus, the second phase in Jack's growth toward self-knowledge is his chan ge from "brassbound" idealist to unreflective behaviorist. By rejecting idealism he is no longer denying the reality of the physical world, and so is no longer escaping into his own ideas about the world. Rather, he is now escaping from res ponsibility by believing that life is basically meaningless and does not operate according to moral principles but according to physical laws--and nothing more. With his secret knowledge, Jack returns to the capital. He feels smug, yet cut o ff from others. After all, such a secret as his is not something you can simply whisper to another person. You are stuck with it, alone. For the most part, Jack keeps to himself. One day, however, he visits Adam, who is busy with the new medical center project. But he seems to Jack to be more wit hdrawn than usual. Nevertheless, Adam talks at length about an operation he is g oing to perform, a prefrontal lobectomy on a schizophrenic patient. This operati on, Adam explains, involves removing a piece of the brain in an attempt to turn someone who is depressed into a cheerful, friendly person. Jack is immensely cur ious about the possibility of changing someone's personality and moral values th rough an operation. He requests and receives permission to watch the procedures. It seems that this scientific manipulation confirms Jack's notion of the Great Twitch. Indeed, even human values can be changed with the flick of a scalpel. Jack doesn't see Adam for a while. Then he learns that Hubert Coffee, one of Gum my Larson's men, has tried to bribe Adam to award the medical contract to Larson . Anne was visiting Adam the night it happened. She tells Jack that Adam hit Cof fee, then wrote his resignation to the Boss. Jack's plan is to convince Willie to arrest Coffee for attempting to bribe an of ficial. This will prove that the governor had nothing to do with the bribe. Of c ourse, Adam will have to swear to the charges. But to make the charges stick, An ne will probably have to testify also. Anne quickly agrees. Then Jack changes hi s mind, worried that a smart lawyer will discover that Anne is the Boss's mistre ss. Anne says she doesn't care. Suddenly, Jack is overcome by a feeling of betrayal. He grows angry. He tells An ne that she is forgetting about Adam's feelings. Then, without thinking, he asks why she became Willie's mistress. Anne says she loves Willie. After she found out about her father's part in the j udge's bribe, she didn't see any reason not to have an affair with him. Besides, Willie wants to marry her, but not now. He can't get a divorce until after he r uns for the U.S. Senate. The Senate business is news to Jack. But that is not what he thinks about as he walks home. He returns to the idea that perhaps he is to blame for what Anne did . But he only told her the truth about her father. Could he be blamed for doing so? He turns the question over and over in his mind. The Boss readily agrees to swear out a warrant on Coffee. Now, Jack has a twofol d task: He has to show Adam that, by swearing out a warrant, the Boss is being t rue to his word to keep politics out of the hospital deal, and he has to convinc e Adam not to bring the matter to court. Succeeding, he leaves Adam's apartment with the torn pieces of the letter of resignation in his pocket.

Jack has protected Anne's honor. He thinks everyone is keeping the affair a secr et. Probably Sugar-Boy knows, but he is absolutely loyal to the Boss. And Sadie will not tell. She is biding her time, waiting for the affair to blow over. All seems to be going smoothly that summer. Then, Tom Stark is threatened with a paternity suit by Marvin Frey and his daughter. He admits that he may be the ba by's father, but maintains that he was only one of many who might have fathered the child. At first it seems a simple matter to solve, but it turns out that Fre y and MacMurfee are working together to cause Willie a public scandal. MacMurfee wants to run for the Senate. So does the Boss. A scandal is one way to lessen t he Boss's chances. But as Willie sees it, the case against Tom must not be solid or the suit would already have been in court. So, the Boss has some time to dra w up his plans. Meanwhile, Lucy Stark feels that something is going on, but doesn't know exactly what. Jack drives out to her farm and tells her about the paternity suit. He ex plains that the baby may not be Tom's, that MacMurfee is trying to cause a scand al. Lucy is disgusted by the idea that politics could play a part in the possibi lity of her being a grandmother. And she is saddened, too. She doesn't understan d why her love for Tom and Willie, and their love for her, hasn't been enough. In this section, you see Jack become emotionally more involved in the lives of o thers. When he is in the operating-room pit observing Adam perform a lobectomy, he seems to be in the dark depths of meaninglessness, which he calls the Great T witch. But gradually he pulls himself back into the light of human involvement. He helps Anne make certain that Adam remains hospital director. In doing so, he is careful to protect Anne's honor. And he never once questions whether he shoul d visit Lucy. He goes to her, he says, not because he feels he owes her anything but because he cares about her. ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: SECTION TWO: JUDGE IRWIN Governor Stark arrives at a plan for squelching the paternity suit against Tom. He's unable to arrange a deal with Frey and his daughter, because MacMurfee has hidden them in another state. His only alternative is to approach MacMurfee, his archenemy. Willie decides to use someone to whom MacMurfee owes a favor. He thi nks of Judge Irwin. The Boss asks Jack whether he has found anything on the Judge. Jack indicates th at he has, but before revealing what it is, Jack says he has promised to give th e Judge a chance to prove the findings false, a promise he made to himself and t o someone else. He doesn't tell Willie that the other person is Anne. The Boss is not used to having Jack withhold information from him and is slightl y angered by Jack's unusual display of conscience. Nevertheless, he tells Jack t o do what he has to do. Jack drives to Burden's Landing. For nearly twenty years Jack thought of himself as an idealist. But after only a few months of being a believer in the Great Twitch, a seed of doubt is again gr owing in his mind. If he abandons this belief, will he replace it with an even m ore cynical one? Or will he replace it with a more optimistic view of human natu re? That afternoon Jack pays a visit to Judge Irwin, but not before first strengthen ing his emotional armor by having had an argument with his mother. The Judge is lying down. He has not been well. As always, he seems glad to see Jack. Jack, ho wever, is less than cordial. Yet, as he sits in the library, he fervently hopes the Judge can prove that the charges are false. After having a friendly drink wi th the Judge, he even thinks of destroying the evidence. But Jack feels he must

learn the truth. He begins by asking why the Judge supports MacMurfee instead of Willie, Judge Ir win explains that, although he believes Willie is making some important changes, he is worried about the methods Willie uses. Jack tells the judge about some of MacMurfee's methods, including the paternity suit, which is MacMurfee's way of trying to blackmail Willie not to run for the Senate. When he asks the Judge to convince MacMurfee not to pursue the suit, the Judge refuses. Jack pleads, but s till he refuses. Feeling pushed into a corner, Jack shows the Judge the papers testifying that th e Judge many years ago took a bribe. Among the papers is Littlepaugh's suicide l etter. Jolted by these remembrances of things past, the Judge confesses they are true. But he refuses to be blackmailed into helping the Boss. Also, he has a fe w sharp words to say about Jack's part in the dirty business. Jack says he will return tomorrow and hopes the Judge will change his mind. Later, back at his own house, a scream awakens Jack from an afternoon nap, and h e runs to his mother's bedroom. She repeats hysterically, "You killed him!" When he demands to know whom she is talking about, she says that he killed his fathe r. Judge Irwin has shot himself. In this tragic way, Jack learns that the Judge was his father. Jack's mother is sick from shock. As Jack sits at her bedside, watching her slee p, he sees everything fall into place. The Scholarly Attorney abandoned Jack and his mother because he could no longer live with the woman who loved the Judge a nd with the child who was the Judge's son. And for all these years, his mother h as loved the Judge. Jack wonders why they had never married. But he feels love f or his mother, because, he says, he now sees that she had indeed loved someone. After the funeral, Jack returns to the capital. He receives a call from the exec utor of the Judge's will. Jack is the sole heir to Judge Irwin's estate, the sam e estate that the Judge saved years ago by taking a bribe. Jack bursts out laugh ing. Then he weeps. NOTE: ON HONOR AND RESPONSIBILITY As you have seen, the Judge was an honorable man. But his honor, in Jack's view, was "twisted." He never married Jack's mothe r or revealed to Jack, even when it might have saved his life, that he was Jack' s father. Perhaps the Judge recognized the absurdity of his "honor" in matters o f the heart. He shot himself through the heart. In the end, the Judge could not face his responsibility for misfortunes of the p ast. Can Jack face his responsibility for the Judge's death? Jack finds it ironi c that the suicide for which the Judge was responsible results in the Judge's ow n suicide. And he also sees the irony in his inheritance from the Judge. Of course, learning that he is the Judge's son is just as traumatic for Jack as learning about the Judge's death. He is now left alone to create, if he can, his own life of honor and responsibility. ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: SECTION ONE: TOM STARK Jack begins this chapter by observing that no story is ever over. The "Case of t he Upright Judge" ends tragically; yet, life goes on. The Judge's story, he says , is merely a chapter in the longer story of Willie Stark. Instead of going into a Great Sleep or escaping West, as he has done during othe r crises, Jack returns to work, filled with resolve. He tells Willie that he wil l no longer do any of his dirty work. Surely, the Boss teases, he will help him to blackmail MacMurfee. Not even MacMurfee, Jack replies. From then on, Jack kee

ps apart from the dirty business of politics and goes about his "innocent little chores." One little chore, for instance, is helping the Boss put together a tax bill. Meanwhile, the governor has to find a solution to the threat posed by MacMurfee. With Judge Irwin dead, Willie seems to have only two options--either to give up his plans to run for the Senate or to award the hospital contract to Gummy Lars on. Either way he emerges a loser. If he buckles under to MacMurfee's pressure, he sacrifices power and pride. If he bribes Larson, he contaminates the hospital with political wheeling and dealing and cuts loose one of his few remaining tie s to the political ideals of his youth. He chooses power over ideals. One night, when Jack visits the governor's mansion, he finds the Boss quite drun k, in the company of Gummy Larson and Tiny Duffy. Apparently, the hospital deal is being cinched. And Willie is obviously miserable, even though Larson has agre ed to take care of MacMurfee for him. Before Larson leaves, the Boss threatens t hat he will rip him open if he so much as leaves off one window latch: "You hear --that's my hospital--it's mine!" After Larson and Tiny leave, the Boss continues cursing Larson. And he curses hi mself for letting dirty politics touch the hospital. Jack thinks about Tom's role in the Boss's current misery. And he thinks that Wi llie, in part, brought this on himself by making Tom what he is. In appearance, Tom resembles his father as a young man. But their similarities end there. As a young man, the Boss was energetically trying to discover his purpose in life. To m, however, is content to be a flashy, arrogant football hero. He breaks trainin g whenever he likes, and the coach ignores it--until one of his tavern fights ma kes the newspapers. Then he and another player are suspended. Without their star quarterback, State loses the next game till has a chance of winning the Conference championship, next game. After the Boss puts pressure on the coach, Tom the team wins. The next game is an easy one. Tom doesn't field in the second half, but the coach sends him in for showing off a bit when he gets hit. He doesn't get up. to Georgia. The team s but they must win the is allowed to play and even need to be on the some exercise. Tom is

When Tom is taken to the hospital, Adam Stanton is put on the case. Tom's neck i s broken and he's paralyzed. Adam advises an immediate operation but admits to W illie that the operation is risky. Without consulting Lucy, the Boss agrees to t he operation. Adam looks at Lucy. She also agrees. While they are waiting for th e outcome, the Boss says that he is going to name his new hospital the Tom Stark Hospital. Lucy quietly says, "Oh, Willie, don't you see? Those things don't mat ter." Hours later Adam returns from surgery. Tom will live, but he will be paralyzed. His spinal cord is crushed. NOTE: DIRECTION In this section, Jack withdraws into his shell. He shuns involv ements of all kinds, from social outings to dirty politics. Perhaps he is recupe rating from the loss of his father and from his disillusionment over Anne. Then again, he may be gathering his energies so that he will be able to find a purpos e for himself. Until now, he has been drifting along without direction. After the judge's suicide, Jack witnesses another series of sad events--the Boss 's sacrifice of goodness for power and the crippling of Tom Stark. Yet, he sees that all these events are tied together. Tom's sexual excursion leads to Jack's having to tell the Judge that his sinful past has been discovered. The judge's d eath causes the Boss to turn to Gummy Larson. The Boss's pressure on the coach l eads to Tom's paralysis. And time rolls on, with the past affecting the present,

the present giving meaning to the past, and the future always being only a brea th away. As Jack says, "But this only affirms what we must affirm: that directio n is all." Jack is growing in wisdom. ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: SECTION TWO: THE FALL Telegrams expressing sympathy flood Willie's office. Jack watches the Boss's men as they enter the office. Tiny comes in, his face a marvel of gloom. But when h e discovers that the Boss isn't in, he perks up. Sadie arrives, looks around at the mournful gathering, curses, and goes into her office. For Jack, it's a rathe r pleasant day. Peering out a window, he describes the landscape as looking like "the face of a person who has been sick a long time and now feels better and th inks maybe he is going to get well." NOTE: You have probably noticed that Jack is fond of describing both the interio r design and the outdoor surroundings of the places he visits. Often, the way he sees these places reflects his attitude toward life. In the line just quoted, y ou can see Jack projecting onto the landscape his feelings of having overcome a long illness. And, as you will see shortly, he is not the only person overcoming a long spiritual illness. The Boss enters the office. His face shows the ravages of pain, but his eyes are clear. He tells Tiny that the deal with Larson is off. Jack goes back into his office. Later in the afternoon, he discovers that Sadie tore out of her office like a wildcat after prey. He wonders what is going on. T hings seem a bit strange. Then he gets a call from Anne. When he arrives at her apartment, Anne is in tears. Some man called Adam to tell him that Anne is Willie's mistress, that Adam is the hospital director only bec ause of Anne's hold over Willie, and that now Adam is going to be fired because he has paralyzed Tom by performing a bad operation. Telling Anne that he will no t "be paid pimp to his sister's whore," Adam has run out of her apartment. Anne now asks Jack to find Adam and talk to him. "Get him," she pleads. "For he's all I've got now." Jack goes in search of Adam, He looks all day and leaves messages everywhere. Bu t he doesn't find him. That evening Jack is called to the Capitol. The legislators are milling around after ending a late session on the new tax bi ll. Jack sees the Boss talking to several senators. Sugar-Boy is leaning against a marble wall. Jack leans with him and waits. Shortly, the Boss calls Jack over . He says that he has something to tell him. As they walk into the great lobby under the dome, Jack sees Adam standing near o ne of the statues. Adam is wet and muddy. Jack calls his name, but Adam ignores him and walks toward the Boss. Willie puts out his hand. Adam puts out his hand. Holding a small pistol, he fires twice. These shots are immediately followed by a series of louder shots, and Adam falls to the floor. Jack runs to him, but he is already dead. Sugar-Boy stands nearby with a smoking pistol in his hand. At first, Jack thinks that the Boss was not hit. Then he pushes through a crowd and sees Willie sitting on the floor with both hands covering a wound in his che st. He is taken to the hospital, survives an operation, but dies several days la ter from an infection. Before he dies, he says, "It might have all been differen t, Jack. You got to believe that." During his political career, Willie steadily gained more and more control over t

he state government and over the people who run it. Except for MacMurfee's oppos ition, Willie's control was practically absolute. But after Tom Stark became par alyzed, something happened to Willie. This situation was one over which he had n o control. Apparently, he took stock of himself and decided to turn things aroun d. First, he told Tiny to call off the Larson deal. He appeared to have called o ff his affair with Anne. Also, something upset Sadie but, at this point, you can only assume that the Boss had cleaned out this unsavory aspect of his life, too . Willie wanted to talk to Jack. But before he could, Adam shot him. He died, sa ying how it might have all been different. In the few days before he was shot, h e seemed to be trying to make things different, perhaps to return to the ideals of his youth. But all the king's horses and all the king's men could not put Wil lie back together again. This chapter ends with many issues left unresolved. For instance, what decisions had Willie made that led to his death? Who was the anonymous caller who incited Adam to assassinate the Boss? These questions are answered in the next chapter. ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: SECTION ONE: THE BLOODY GROUND Jack attends Adam's funeral in Burden's Landing and the Boss's funeral in the ca pital. Then he returns to Burden's Landing to stay a while. Anne is also staying in Burden's Landing. So, as would seem natural, they spend much time together. Most of it is spent in peaceful silence or with Jack reading to Anne. Neither of them talks about what has happened. They drift along in a kind of numbness. But one day the question of who phoned Adam becomes urgent to Jack. NOTE: THE NARRATOR AS THE CENTRAL CHARACTER As a final chapter should, Chapter 10 resolves several conflicts that were developed earlier in the book. Among the m is the question of the underlying reasons for Willie's assassination. Yet, the primary conflict in All the King's Men has been within the consciousness of the narrator. As one reader puts it, this novel is, at least on one level, an "auto biography of a mind." And as most readers agree, the moving force of the novel i s the narrator's struggle to reveal the pattern of events that leads to his self -acceptance and self-knowledge, to his sense of direction and sense of responsib ility. Nevertheless, some believe that Jack Burden's dual role as narrator and c entral character is a flaw in an otherwise outstanding novel. They argue that be cause all the events are filtered through Jack's observations, you cannot know w hether you are getting the straight story. In other words, they question the rel iability of the narrator. And they cite Jack's introspective digressions and his philosophical flights as examples. Whether or not you decide that Jack is a reliable narrator, you should notice th e ways in which he resolves the conflicts of his life. In particular, notice how he comes to terms with the differences between himself and Willie and with the conflicts in his relationship with his mother. Also, notice that, through a symp athetic understanding of Tiny, Sadie, and Sugar-Boy, Jack gains a greater sense of both the tragic and the heroic aspects of life. Jack gathers his courage to break the "conspiracy of silence" that he and Anne h ave formed in order not to look at the blood on their hands. Jack must know who else is responsible--who is more directly responsible--for the deaths of his fri ends. But Anne doesn't know who called Adam. She knows only that it was a man. I n search of the truth, Jack leaves Burden's Landing. First, Jack decides to talk to Sadie Burke. He finds her in a sanatorium, where fairly well-to-do people bring their problems and nervous symptoms. Sadie's only beautiful feature was always her fire-ember eyes. But now Jack sees just ashes. She is burnt out. She explains that she is in a rest home simply be cause she is tired. Jack has one question for her: Who called Adam? Sadie says t

hat she hasn't any idea. Jack humors her for a moment. Then he quickly turns and tells her that she knows it was Tiny. Sadie curses Jack. But Jack keeps repeating, "How do you know?" Without putting up much of a fight, Sadie confesses that she told Tiny to do it. Jack is surpris ed. He did not suspect Sadie. He hears himself telling her, "You killed him." Ja ck is thinking of Adam. But Sadie is thinking of Willie. She says that Willie du mped her because he was going back to Lucy. She told Willie she would kill him, and she did. And in so doing, she also killed Adam Stanton. Jack can forgive Sadie because she acted from passion, but he cannot forgive Tin y Duffy. He lets his hatred for Tiny fester. Then he visits Sadie again. Sadie v olunteers to make a statement against Tiny. She doesn't want to protect herself. Rather, she resents the gleeful and arrogant way that Tiny acted after the Boss was shot. Tiny, who had been Willie's lieutenant-governor, is now governor. He tells Jack that all the boys at the Capitol miss him. Further, Tiny wants Jack to work for him. Jack responds, "You are the stinkingest louse God ever let live." And he te lls Tiny that he has talked to Sadie and so now knows that Tiny killed the Boss just as surely as if he had pulled the trigger himself. Jack leaves, feeling lik e an avenging hero. A few days later he receives a notarized statement from Sadie verifying Tiny's a ction in the Boss's death. She also includes a personal letter to Jack in which she offers some advice. She gives Jack several reasons for not pressing charges against Tiny. For one thing, they won't stand up in court. For another, Tiny doe s not have the respect of the Party and will not be nominated to run for governo r in the next election. And finally, Anne's affair with Willie will become publi c knowledge, and there is no reason for her to suffer any more. Nevertheless, sh e says that if Jack persists in being an Eagle Scout, he has her support. Jack sees the wisdom in her words. Even before her letter arrived, he had reflec ted on his motives for wanting to kick Tiny around. Tiny's confidence that Jack would work for him spurred Jack's reflection, and he began wondering what kind o f image he has been projecting all these years. Now he sees himself to be as muc h of a political leech as Tiny. Revolted by his own behavior, Jack sinks back into the despair of the Great Twit ch-only this time more severely than before. He is experiencing the realization of loss. Although Jack does not resort to a Great Sleep this time, he engages in somethin g similar. He sits in his room, doesn't open his mail, and hangs out in the city . He goes to movies, bars, and the public library. One day, in the library, he r uns into Sugar-Boy. Sugar-Boy seems to be hanging out, too. With the Boss gone, he doesn't know what to do with himself. But he is still clinging to his ferocio us loyalty to Willie. Jack thinks about taking advantage of Sugar-Boy's loyalty. He presents him with a hypothetical question: What if you knew that Adam had be en framed so that he would shoot the Boss and you knew who did it--what would yo u do? Sugar-Boy says that he would kill him, and Jack knows that indeed he would . Also, Jack thinks that, by killing Tiny, Sugar-Boy would perhaps fulfill his r eason for existing. But then Jack sees Tiny's face winking at him as if they are brothers of the blood. So, Jack tells Sugar-Boy that he is just kidding. He wis hes Sugar-Boy good luck and walks away. ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: SECTION TWO: THE AWFUL RESPONSIBILITY OF TIME After Jack meets with Sugar-Boy, his need for revenge vanishes but his need to b ecome involved grows. He decides to visit Lucy. She seems fine and asks Jack whe

ther he knows that Tom is dead. He does. Then she shows him a baby, Tom's baby. She has named him Willie Stark, because, she says, "Willie was a great man." And she adds, "I have to believe that." Jack realizes that he, too, has to believe that Willie was a great man. By belie ving in Willie's inherent goodness, Jack can believe in the goodness of other pe ople, including himself. But it also gives him the right to condemn himself. In particular, he is thinking of his relationship to his mother. His mother calls and asks him to come to Burden's Landing as soon as he can. Whe n he arrives, she tells him that she is leaving her husband, Theodore. She expla ins that the Judge's death shocked her into realizing that he had been the only man she ever loved. She cannot go on living a lie with Theodore. Jack walks into the garden and thinks that, by killing his father, perhaps he ha d saved his mother's soul. Then he thinks that "all knowledge that is worth anyt hing is maybe paid for by blood." If so, Jack has paid dearly for his growth in self-knowledge. The cost has been the blood of his three closest friends--the Ju dge, Adam, and Willie. Before Jack's mother leaves to get a divorce in Reno, she wants Jack to tell her what he and Judge Irwin talked about that afternoon before the Judge killed him self. Jack tells her that the Judge talked mostly about his failing health. As h er train pulls away, he wonders whether he lied to protect himself or to protect his mother. He decides that his lie had been his going-away present to her, per haps even a kind of wedding present. In a sense, Jack's mother and the Judge hav e had a spiritual reunion. And Jack's mother gave him a present. She gave him back the past and filled in t he empty spot in his heart. For years he had condemned her as a heartless woman who amused herself with a parade of husbands. He even felt that she used him. An d he hated himself for being both attracted to and repelled by her. Now, however , he understands that she loved deeply and continues to love deeply the man who was his father, Judge Irwin. Now Jack has a past he can embrace, and he feels at peace. That evening Jack visits Anne. He dge Irwin. And together, Jack and cept the past, because out of the ps in his father's house. And not er as man and wife. shares with her the story of his mother and Ju Anne share the wisdom of time that you must ac past you make the future. That night Jack slee long thereafter, he and Anne live there togeth

NOTE: Jack's new perspective on life grew out of tragedy and is nurtured by an a wareness of "the awful responsibility of time." Jack has learned the most by ref lecting on the deaths of Adam and Willie. Adam was a man of high ideals who did not really belong to this world. On the other hand, Willie was a man of fact, a man who got things done. One man thought that goodness is an idea valuable for i ts own sake; the other thought that nothing is valuable until it is a realized f act. In the end, they were doomed to destroy each other. Jack took lessons from both of them. In a sense, he is a blend of the two. But t o say that ignores the complexity of Jack's character. In Chapter 9, Jack compar es himself with Willie. He suggests that he is an intellectual who sees history with detachment, while Willie is a man who makes history. Before the assassinati on, Jack was indeed a detached, cynical intellectual, who believed in the moral neutrality of the Great Twitch. But now he has come down into the real world and is heading "out of history into history." After Jack and Anne are married, the Scholarly Attorney lives with them. He is v ery sick and will soon die. Yet, he occasionally has the energy to dictate to An

ne or Jack material for his religious pamphlets. And Jack is writing, too. He is writing a book on the life of Cass Mastern. When the old man dies and Jack's bo ok is finished, Anne and Jack plan to leave Burden's Landing. And here the novel ends. But as Jack said earlier, no story is ever over. ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: ON ROBERT PENN WARREN The poetry, the fiction, and even the critical essays of Robert Penn Warren form a highly unified and consistent body of work. But it would be impossible to red uce it, without distorting simplifications, to some thesis about human life. The work is not tailored to fit a thesis. In the best sense, it is inductive: it ex plores the human situation and tests against the fullness of human experience ou r various abstract statements about it. But Warren has his characteristic themes . He is constantly concerned with the meaning of the past and the need for one t o accept the past if he is to live meaningfully in the present. In this concern there are resemblances to Faulkner, though Warren's treatment is his own. Again, there are resemblances to W. B. Yeats in Warren's almost obsessive concern to g rasp the truth so that "all is redeemed / In knowledge." -Cleanth Brooks, The Hidden God, 1963 ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: THE SOUTHERN SETTING Richard Gray has asserted that All the King's Men is typically Southern in its c oncern with the way past and present are inextricably linked. That is certainly a central theme of the novel, but that is precisely the problem: its generality. Surely all sorts of works in modernist literature are organized around this the me without thereby making them uniquely Southern. Thus in All the King's Men, and in most of Warren's fiction, the South serves as a setting rather than a theme itself. More important, Warren's dominant concern in All the King's Men is less an evaluation of the collective Southern past tha n, first, an exploration of the problem of power and political insurgency and, s econd, of self-definition and identity. -Richard H. King, A Southern Renaissance, 1980 ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: ON TECHNIQUE The point at which to get a grasp on the technique of All the King's Men is the narrative of Jack Burden, for the basic observation about the form of the novel is simply that it consists entirely of a story related by a created character wh o has observed and participated in the action that makes it up. It is Burden's s upposed recollection of past events from a present time, but the attempt through out (with the exception of the Cass Mastern chapter, occasional remarks of a sen tence or two, and the final few pages) is to represent the consciousness of Jack Burden as it was at each past moment rendered, not to exhibit the past as inter preted through a viewpoint achieved in the fictional present. These moments rang e over his whole earlier life, and thus his narrative constitutes in one sense t he autobiography of a mind. -Neal Woodruff, Jr., in All the King's Men: A Symposium, ed. Fred A. Sochatoff, 1957 ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: WILLIE AND ADAM Stanton's decision to assassinate Willie, whom he knows only as an abstraction, characterizes the objective scientist in him. To Stanton, Willie is a cancer, no t a human being. The doctor's temporary substitution of "pure force" for "pure i

dea," therefore, is no reversal since both positions are remote from the human m edian. What Adam's action does allow, however, is the double irony of a man's be ing killed by his favorite weapon at the very moment he has decided to lay it as ide--a dramatic assertion of the penalties attendant on evil self-willed. Althou gh Willie dies ignorant of Adam's motives and perhaps of his own, yet when he in sists on his deathbed that life could have been different he is accepting the no tion that his will has always been to some degree free and that he can be blamed or credited to that extent for actions now formally his. In this manner he atte mpts to rescue identity, to prevent himself from being reduced to mere function in a mechanical universe. -Leonard Casper, Robert Penn Warren, 1960 ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: HUMAN NATURE AND HISTORY Man as well as history, Warren believes, has a dark and evil side, for his natur e is depraved. Warren sees man as both good and bad, a coiling, confused darknes s of motives which no one can completely understand. This enormous complexity of motives and hidden desires is one reason why we can never fully understand hist ory, which consists as much of the actions of men as of non-human forces. Then, too, Warren believes that man must understand and accept his own individual evil nature before he can formulate values from history and his own past without mer ely flattering his own black and hidden needs. The nature of man's self conseque ntly limits his ability to make sense of the past, both its human and non-human aspects, and self-understanding is a prerequisite of a right relationship to his tory. And since man's acts are to Warren the most important part of history, his views on the nature of the self are directly relevant to a study of his philoso phy of history. -L. Hugh Moore, Jr., Robert Penn Warren and History, 1970 ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING'S MEN: SELF-KNOWLEDGE What of the book's political morality? It was a pity that the reviewers regarded All the King's Men as primarily another life of Huey Long to be compared with t he other lives of Long and not with the other works of Warren. It must be obviou s by now, if my account of the book is half-way accurate, that it is not a polit ical treatise about Long or anything else. Like Proud Flesh, it is another study of Warren's constant theme: self-knowledge. Nevertheless, it has political impl ications--and we will understand them correctly if we see them within the broade r frame. Indeed, to say that we must see politics within a broader frame--the fr ame being morality and human life in general--is precisely Warren's thesis. Will ie Stark, Adam Stanton, and Tiny Duffy are wrong politically because they are wr ong humanly. -Eric Bentley, "The Meaning of Robert Penn Warren's Novels," Kenyon Review, 1948 THE END