All the Kings Men

All the Kings Men

All the Kings Men, by Robert Penn Warren is the story of a political icon in the 1930s. Rising from a poverty-stricken home to become governor of the state was not an easy life. Politics is a game of willpower and manipulation, not ideals (Warren 30). Willie puts forth a great deal of energy into keeping his powerful political position. By the use of blackmail and bullying, he coaxes his enemies into submission. His most fearful enemy is Sam MacMurfee; he constantly tries to pull Willie down off his political throne. The author puts emphasis on the fact that Willie starts out a good, honest man opposed to a system filled with blackmail, bribery, and trickery; but he is ultimately forced to master it.
All the Kings Men is also the story of Jack Burden, Willies right hand man. Jack turns away from his good-natured upbringing, joins Willies rough group of allies and hired thugs, and just walks away from all his past interests. Jacks job is to use his gifts as a historical researcher to dig up information and secrets of Willies enemies. Jack struggles with the idea of responsibility.

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