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  • Robert penn warren: the author and his times

    Huey P. Long, known as \"The Kingfish,\" controlled Louisiana politics for some ten 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 while serving as governor of the state (1928-31) and U.S. Senator (1931-35). But just as Humpty Dumpty in the nursery rhyme toppled off his perch, so did Robert Penn Warren\'s fictionalized Huey Long, Willie St ...


  • All the king's men: the plot

    Willie Stark, a young politician in an impoverished area of an unidentified Southern 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 reputation for using inferior bricks. But no one listened. Now, the building had collapsed, killing three children. Willie\'s unwavering conviction that the local politicians were in collusion with the contracto ...


  • 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. And 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 wit ...


  • All the king's men: jack burden

    Jack Burden is the narrator of All the King\'s Men. He is supposedly telling Willie\'s story. Yet, you will begin to sense, after reading several chapters, that Jack is using Willie\'s story as a vehicle for clarifying the meaning of his own life. Warren says that he chose Jack as the narrator because he is one of the empty, powerless people who need a character like Willie to bring them to life. Also, because Jack is intelligent and perceptive ...


  • 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 agility, and he\'s a deadly accurate target shooter. Beyond that, he stutters, appears to be mentally retarded, and is dominated by one emotion--intense loyalty to Willie. ^^^^^^^^^^ALL THE KING\'S MEN: TINY DUFFY When you first me ...


  • All the king's men: setting

    Robert Penn Warren began Proud Flesh, the unpublished verse drama that became All the King\'s Men, in Italy during the days preceding World War II. Mussolini, Italy\'s Fascist dictator, regularly marched his black-shirted thugs through the cobbled streets of Rome. Warren saw this display of force and was reminded of Louisiana governor Huey Long\'s private army, called \"Huey\'s Cossacks,\" composed of members of the National Guard and the highw ...


  • All the king's men: themes

    One mark of an outstanding novel is its power to stimulate a variety of interpretations. All the King\'s Men has generated many interpretations because it offers a wide scope of thematic questions, from politics to psychology, from philosophy 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. ...


  • All the king's men: style

    When discussing an author\'s style, you are referring to the distinctive way in which the writer uses language to tell a story or to express ideas. In All the King\'s Men, Warren brings together images of the real world and ideas he has fashioned from experience, and through the voice of Jack Burden he weaves these elements of style into a conversation with you. In general, then, the style of the novel is conversational, yet at times, as you\'l ...


  • 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 southern 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 country 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 the sides of the new blacktop highway are rows o ...


  • 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 childh ...


  • 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 Burden plays in it. The story begins in 1922, a few months after Jack first met Willie. 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 courthouse--\"that fellow Stark\" against the local political machine. The battle concerns the bids for building the new schoolh ...


  • 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 examination, but when he took the exam, he burst out laughing about the simplicity of \"those crappy little questions.\" Willie\'s reaction is not unusual for someone who has spent a long time working toward what s ...


  • All the king's men: section three: the great sleep

    In 1930, while Willie is running his own campaign for Governor, Jack quits his job 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 sleep infinitely inward to the center.\" Aimlessness, emptiness, and nothing are the order of the day, every day. ...


  • 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 Burden\'s Landing for a visit with his mother. He is reluctant to see her, knowing that his visit will end in argument. Nevertheless, he finds her charm irresistible 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 ...


  • All the king's men: section two: the boss

    Things are popping in the capital. One of Willie\'s appointees, State Auditor Byram White, is being threatened with impeachment. The MacMurfee bunch, wanting to regain their old political influence, have accused White of graft. White is indeed guilty and the Boss knows it, but he doesn\'t fire White. Instead, he scolds him harshly and enjoys watching him grovel. White doesn\'t have the courage or integrity to resign. When Jack asks why the Boss ...


  • 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 dishonest 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 w ...


  • 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 Irwin. And he does. Jack is an excellent researcher--perhaps too good. NOTE: Warren immediately follows the story of Jack\'s first piece of historical research--the Cass Mastern case--with the story of his second project, the \"Case of the Upright Judge.\" The purpose for putting these ...


  • All the king's men: section three: the answer

    From Adam, Jack learns that the Judge needed money in 1913 or 1914. The information gives him the direction he needs to break open the \"Case of the Upright Judge.\" Back in the capital, Jack finds Tiny Duffy pondering the Boss\'s decision to allocate $6 million for a hospital. Tiny wants the Boss to give the building contract to Gummy Larson, who is one of MacMurfee\'s friends, but who could easily be bought. Tiny figures that by tying Will ...


  • All the king's men: section two: the question

    Jack takes his question about Judge Irwin\'s past with him on a friendly visit with 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 he destroys her cheerful mood by suddenly asking: \"Was Judge Irwin ever broke?\" Instead of answering his question, she t ...


  • 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 other 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 drinking. Unfortunately, the young woman with him is permanently injured. Her father threatens to initiate a lawsuit. Willie makes threats ...



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