All the King's Men Analysis

Suggested Readings (Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Bohner, Charles. Robert Penn Warren. Rev. ed. Boston: Twayne, 1981. A good general introduction to Warren’s writings. Views the novel as the story of Jack Burden’s philosophical growth. By examining the past, Jack comes to recognize the paradoxical nature of human isolation and simultaneous kinship through the oppressions of sin that bind all humankind.

Casper, Leonard. Robert Penn Warren: The Dark and Bloody Ground. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1960.

Chambers, Robert H., ed. Twentieth Century Interpretations of “All the King’s Men.” Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1977. The best collection of criticism on the novel. Discusses such topics as point of view, character studies, significance of the title, the centrality of the Cass Mastern episode, and the search of Jack Burden for a father.

Feldman, Robert. “Responsibility in Crisis: Jack Burden’s Struggle in All the King’s Men.” In “To Love So Well the World”: A Festschrift in Honor of Robert Penn Warren, compiled by Dennis L. Weeks. New York: Peter Lang, 1992.

Guttenberg, Barnett. Web of Being: The Novels of Robert Penn Warren. Nashville, Tenn.: Vanderbilt University Press, 1975. An existentialist reading of Warren’s novels. Asserts that the greatness of All the King’s Men results from Warren’s decision to make Jack Burden the narrator of and a chief participant in Willie Stark’s story.

Justus, James H. The Achievement of Robert Penn Warren. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1981. Examines the entire body of Warren’s work and in that context views All the King’s Men as both a moral fiction and a political novel.

Mizener, Arthur. “Robert Penn Warren: All the King’s Men.” The Southern Review 3, no. 4 (Autumn, 1967): 874-894.

Watkins, Floyd C., and John T. Hiers, eds. Robert Penn Warren Talking: Interviews 1950-1978. New York: Random House, 1980. Contains brief but valuable comments by Warren on the relationship of All the King’s Men to the dramatic versions, the significance of the epigraph, and various other aspects of the novel.

All the King's Men Places Discussed (Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

Southern state

Southern state. Unnamed state in the Deep South that appears to be modeled on Louisiana, whose governor Huey P. Long had a political career during the 1930’s closely resembling that of Warren’s fictional governor, Willie Stark. Warren always denied that Willie Stark, the corrupted politician at the center of the novel, was a fictional version of Huey P. Long. However, there are many parallels between his fictional state and Louisiana, and there can be little doubt that Louisiana’s famous populist governor was the inspiration for the fictional Stark.

Mason City

Mason City. Stark’s hometown, where he begins his climb to political power, is the seat of Mason County. Lying northeast of the unnamed capital of the fictional state, on Highway 58, Mason City represents Stark’s “hick” background, his original innocence and his lack of sophistication at the beginning of his career. It is aptly named because it is also the place where Stark begins his efforts to build a better world by campaigning against the shoddy masonry in a local school building.

Upton

Upton. Town in the western part of the state that is a center of the state’s rural vote. Immediately north of Upton are coal mines, whose workers constitute an important source of votes for political candidates appealing to socially disadvantaged voters. Upton is a pivotal location, because it is there that Stark...

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All the King's Men Historical Context

Louisiana Politics and Huey P. Long
The Populist Movement, which espoused increased powers for the farmer and the working man,...

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All the King's Men Setting

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...

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All the King's Men Literary Style

Point-of-View
The character of Jack Burden tells the story of All the King’s Men from his point of view. While most of...

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All the King's Men Literary Techniques

One of the major concerns of Warren's novel is to discourage the romantic views of history and historical eras that often develop as time...

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All the King's Men Literary Qualities

All the King's Men draws on a rich tradition of literature, ranging from Jacobean drama to the novels of William Faulkner. Parallels...

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All the King's Men Social Concerns

Set in the Deep South, All the King's Men examines the complex web of influence that members of a closed society have on one another. Most of...

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All the King's Men Ideas for Group Discussions

All the King's Men abounds with moral ambiguities. Violence, betrayal, blackmail, infidelity, and political corruption shape the plot line,...

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All the King's Men Compare and Contrast

1930s: A huge dust storm, described by some as a “Black Blizzard,” strikes Kansas in 1934. For the next six years, farmers in the...

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All the King's Men Topics for Discussion

1. What attracts passive characters such Jack Burden and Anne Stanton to Willie Stark?

2. Sometimes Stark seems to be less of an...

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All the King's Men Ideas for Reports and Papers

1. Throughout the novel Jack seems to have been telling Willie Stark's story, but in the end the reader learns that the story equally belongs...

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All the King's Men Topics for Further Study

All the King’s Men was made into a movie in 1949. If you were making a new movie of the novel, what actors would star in your version?...

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All the King's Men Literary Precedents

All the King's Men draws on a rich tradition of literature, ranging from Jacobean drama to the novels of William Faulkner. Parallels with...

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All the King's Men Related Titles / Adaptations

Robert Rossen directed a black and white film adaptation of All the King's Men in 1949. This picture was considered the kind of...

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All the King's Men Media Adaptations

In 1949, Columbia Pictures released a film based on All the King’s Men and having the same title. It stars Broderick Crawford, John...

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All the King's Men What Do I Read Next?

The Collected Poems of Robert Penn Warren (1998), edited by John Burt, Warren’s literary executor, gathers together every poem...

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All the King's Men For Further Reference

Bloom, Harold, ed. Robert Penn Warren. New York: Chelsea House, 1986. A useful collection of essays on Warren's work, including good...

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All the King's Men Bibliography and Further Reading

Sources
Allen, Walter, Review in New Statesman & Nation, Vol. 25, No. 900, June 5, 1948, p. 464.

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All the King's Men Bibliography (Masterpieces of American Literature)

Suggested Readings

Bohner, Charles. Robert Penn Warren. Rev. ed. Boston: Twayne, 1981. A good general introduction to Warren’s writings. Views the novel as the story of Jack Burden’s philosophical growth. By examining the past, Jack comes to recognize the paradoxical nature of human isolation and simultaneous kinship through the oppressions of sin that bind all humankind.

Casper, Leonard. Robert Penn Warren: The Dark and Bloody Ground. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1960.

Chambers, Robert H., ed. Twentieth Century Interpretations of “All the King’s Men.”...

(The entire section is 328 words.)