Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Willie Stark

Willie Stark, called “the Boss,” the governor of the state. A relentless, unyielding man, Willie has the capacity and the will to break anyone who opposes him. Often ruthless, he is not entirely bad, but his dictatorial powers grow until he is the leader of a powerful political machine. Nevertheless, he does more for the ordinary people of his state than did his more aristocratic predecessors. By improving schools, roads, and hospitals, he leaves these things behind him as monuments after his death. At last, even Jack Burden realizes that there was a streak of greatness in Stark.

Jack Burden

Jack Burden, the narrator and Willie Stark’s factotum. Although a capable man, Burden has spells he calls the “Great Sleep.” During these periods, he becomes completely indifferent to what he is doing at the time. While attempting to finish his Ph.D. dissertation, he went into the “Great Sleep”; as a result, the degree was never completed. A cynical man, he realizes after Willie’s death the hidden greatness in the “Boss’s” character. Somehow, this realization makes Jack feel better about himself and the rest of humankind.

Anne Stanton

Anne Stanton, Jack Burden’s former sweetheart and the daughter of an earlier governor. After meeting Willie Stark, Anne becomes his mistress, thus bringing destruction to him and to her brother Adam. After Stark’s death, she...

(The entire section is 589 words.)

All the King's Men Themes and Characters

Instead of presenting Stark as a monster of evil and iniquity, a nightmarish demagogue who exploits the poor and middle-class citizens who...

(The entire section is 1284 words.)

All the King's Men Characters

All the King's Men describes the rise and fall of Willie Stark, a political boss and governor of an unnamed southern state, during the late...

(The entire section is 745 words.)

All the King's Men Character Analysis

All the King's Men Jack Burden

Jack is the first-person narrator of the novel. He is the only son of a well-to-do family in Burden’s Landing, named for his relatives....

(The entire section is 334 words.)

All the King's Men Willie Stark

Willie Stark (“Boss”) is the state governor, elected in 1930. He began his political career in the early 1920s as the county treasurer...

(The entire section is 262 words.)

All the King's Men Other Characters

Ellis Burden
Ellis is Jack’s father. He was formerly a wellrespected and wealthy attorney from Burden’s Landing but left his...

(The entire section is 1642 words.)