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All the King's Men
by Robert Penn Warren
All the King's Men Chapter 7 Summary
After his encounter with Anne that morning, Jack leaves town for just over a week. Doing seventy-five, Jack drives west. Jack tells us that West (check out how it's capitalized now)is a place everyone plans to go at some point. (There's a great paragraph about the different reasons people go West. You should definitely read it.) Jack goes because it's just where he goes. On day two of his travel west Jack is in Texas, then New Mexico, then Arizona. He crosses the Mojave Desert at night. Finally he reaches California, and then his destination, Long Beach. Jack says Long Beach "is the essence of California." He knows this because he has never been to any other part of the state. (Other than when he gets a haircut, Jack spends his-36-hour California stint in his room.) That evening, he has a shake and then takes a bottle of Bourbon to his room. He hadn't been drinking on the drive, but now he knows he needs it to sleep without having to think about everything that's gone down recently. Jack sleeps well, eats breakfast, and then sleeps more. The next morning he begins driving back. While he was driving out there his whole past was unwinding in his head like a "home movie." He sees himself as a child with his dad, his mother, Judge Irwin. He sees the "Young Executive." He sees himself on a boat with Adam. And then he sees Anne. In his mind, Jack remembers Anne from when she was just a little girl, to when she starts to grow into a woman. Anne is the beauty of both sunny and rainy days – but Jack didn't know it. He remembers when his nights were all about Anne Stanton. Jack was twenty-one. Anne was seventeen. He was home from college for summer break. When he got to the Stanton house, he saw Anne sitting on a swing with Adam. She was all grown up, and wearing a white linen dress. It was a once-in-a lifetime summer. During the day Anne, Adam, Jack and sometimes other friends played tennis, fished, and swam. At night it was often just Anne and Jack. One night, on the way back from a movie, Anne and Jack were sitting in the car. The moonlight was shining on Anne's face, and Jack felt like he could reach over and take Anne's hand, but something held him back. That night in bed Jack thought of Anne's face in the moonlight. Then he remembers that image from long ago of Anne was floating on her back under the storming sky. (See Chapter Three.) Suddenly, Jack realizes he is deeply in love with Anne. The next night, Anne and Jack had their first kiss, and Jack told her he loved her. After that, Anne and Jack were in their own world together. One night Anne asked Jack what he was going to do for a career. He told her the first thing that popped into his head – that he would study law. She told him she knew he just made that up, and tells him she doesn't care what he does, or even if they have to live poor. Their love affair continued, and they fooled around, but didn't sleep together. One day after Anne takes an incredibly deep dive, Jack jumped in after her, and they kissed under water. Jack didn't see her for a couple of days. This was September. Anne was due to go back to school. When he saw her again it was morning, on the tennis court. Jack demanded to know whether Anne loved him. She laughingly said she did. Then Adam showed up and they played. Something had changed with Anne, and she was more distant that week. A couple of days before her departure Anne and Jack went to a movie. It was raining, and after the show they went to Jack's mom's house to make coffee and sandwiches. It was around 9:30pm, and his mom was out with friends. Jack braided Anne's hair while she made sandwiches. His mother called to tell him she was going to be very late. Jack told Anne, and then they looked into each other's eyes. Then Jack walked up the stairs, and Anne followed him. They went in to his bedroom, and Jack undressed Anne, then himself. Naked, Anne got on the bed. Jack looked at her and in his mind, flashed the image of her floating in the water. Then he knew he couldn't have sex with her. Panicking, he told her "it wouldn't be right." If Jack had taken her hand, or said her name, things might be different now. But he didn't. Soon they heard the sound of tires in the driveway, and he knew his mom, and company, were back. He made Anne get in the bathroom, then ran downstairs and continued with the sandwich making. Anne came down and was nice and polite with everybody. She ate a sandwich, and Jack couldn't tell anything from her face. Jack kicked himself at first, for being so stupid, but then realized that it would have been worse if they had been caught in the act. (But, if they had been caught, they would have had to get married, and then, presumably, Anne and Willie would not have had an affair, and Jack would not have to be driving west now.) The next day Anne told Jack she still loved him, and wanted to marry him, but they didn't get anymore time alone together. Anne and Jack both went back to school. Jack ached for Anne, and finally got to see her for the ten days of Christmas break. Jack wanted her to marry him right away. But she wouldn't get married, and wouldn't have sex with him. They had a big fight, and Anne didn't write Jack when they were back at school. Finally, Jack wrote to apologizing and she started writing him again. They were able to meet briefly in June, but it was even worse than at Christmas. Jack had graduated and was planning to go to law school, which he didn't want to do, but thought he had to for Anne. We learn that there was also another problem for Jack. When Jack and Anne kissed in June, he could tell she had learned a new kissing style and was using it on him. Jack could tell she had been kissing other guys in Maine (where she went to school). She said she had, and tried to explain that she had done it to get over him when they were fighting. So Anne stopped kissing him like that, and this made him mad too. One night he kissed her like that. She understood, and told him to forget about everything else and just be with her. He tried, but there was still tension. Even though Anne told him she doesn't care if he went to law school, he couldn't see another option at the time, and went anyway. Jack hated it, and screwed things up to the point where he could never go back. He wanted to make sure he couldn't go back. To celebrate he, a friend, and two girls got caught in some kind of scandalous behavior, which was even in the paper. He and Anne were pretty much over. Jack started working for a paper, and eventually went back to school, this time pursuing a history degree. He walked out (as you now know) on that degree too. Then he met Lois, who was very beautiful. Things were fine between them until a few issues got in the way. First of all, Jack began to realize that Lois was actually a person, not just an object. Jack also couldn't relate to Lois's friends, and hated her apartment. Jack wanted to move but he didn't. They had some fights over those matters, which ended in Lois not having sex with him. The third problem had to do with Jack's fashion. He was a bit of a slob. So she bought him lots of new clothes. He wasn't quiet about the fact that he didn't appreciate her efforts to clean him up, and they fought about it. This also led to Lois not having sex with him. Other than that they had a pretty great sex life. But, Jack grew further and further away from Lois, until the second Great Sleep happened. (See Chapter Four.) He would go to bed right after dinner, sometimes even before. Lois and Jack already had separate bedrooms by then, but Lois would come into his room while he was sleeping and try to wake him. She tried loud music, physically pushing, etc. but Jack could not be disturbed. One morning he just left, and never saw Lois again. During the time Jack was married to Lois, Anne finished school and came home. Adam was still in medical school. After about a year, Anne got engaged, but didn't actually marry. Her father couldn't take care of himself anymore, so Anne spent all her time with him, caring for him. After her father had died, and Adam had moved back to Mason City, Anne moved there to be near him. She got engaged again, but again did not marry. Soon she was thirty-five, living alone, reading a lot. Jack still enjoyed her company. And so, apparently did Willie. The Anne that Willie enjoyed had "betrayed" Jack, or at least an "idea" of his. And that's why he headed West, and why he was seeing the movie of his life in his head. That's why he was in Long Beach Hotel room. When he was lying in that bed, he realized that Anne hadn't really been beautiful that summer She hadn't really loved him. Anne was really no different from Lois. Lying there in that bed, Jack "discovered the dream." We'll go ahead and quote it for you: "That dream was the dream that all life is but the dark heave of blood and the twitch of the nerve." (Jack will delve much deeper into this concept in Chapter Eight. We also cover this under "the Great Twitch" section of "Symbols, Imagery, Allegory." After the dream, Anne no longer really existed. Both she and Jack were just complicated machines, or pieces of machines. This dream was like strong medicine. He felt like he could go back now in a good mood. If he believed the dream, he could be reborn, innocent, and ready for a new start.
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