© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
All the King's Men

All the King's Men

by Robert Penn Warren

All the King's Men Analysis

Literary Devices in All the King's Men

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Did you notice that Jack can be pretty rough on the elderly? Think of Miss Lily Mae Littlepaugh. Not only does Jack approach her creepily (somewhat like his midnight visit to Judge Irwin with Willi...

Setting

You might have noticed that All the King's Men is not a linear narrative. Instead of moving in a straight line from 1810 to 1939, it dips and curves back and forth in time, according to the landsca...

Narrator Point of View

Other than a few sections where Jack Burden talks about himself in the second or third person, All the King's Men is strictly first person. Jack is both a central and a peripheral narrator. He tell...

Genre

Since Robert Penn Warren won the Pulitzer Prize for this novel in 1947, it has to be literary fiction. You can stick anything in this genre that pays particular attention to character development,...

Tone

From the first page we get the sense that we are about to get wrapped up in something of sweeping importance, or at least in something that is sweepingly important to Jack. You could even say he wo...

Writing Style

The flashback style in All the King's Men is dazzling, like the highway mirages Jack warn of on the road to Mason City. It sometimes seems as if Jack can never move forward, because he is always br...

What's Up With the Title?

Robert Penn Warren took the title, All the King's Men, from the famous nursery rhyme "Humpty Dumpty," featuring the egg who falls off a wall, gets broken, and can't be put back together. In case yo...

What's Up With the Epigraph?

Mentre che la speranza ha fior del verde – La Divina Commedia, Purgatorio, IIIThanks to the Princeton Dante Project, we are able to translate this for you. In English, the epigraph reads, "As...

What's Up With the Ending?

It's difficult to say whether All the King's Men ends happily or tragically. The novel starts ending with the suicide of Judge Irwin. It continues ending with the deaths of Adam Stanton, and then W...

Plot Analysis

Driving directionsYep, that's how the novel opens. Jack telling us how to drive to the fictional town of Mason City. By the time we get to the conflict, both Jack and Willie have us in their clutch...

Three Act Plot Analysis

The first act begins in Judge Irwin's library, with Jack and Willie trying to bully him. We would close the curtains after Judge Irwin's suicide, and Mrs. Murrell's revelation to Jack that she love...

Trivia

As a young man starting college, Warren wasn't initially interested in writing. He said, "My ambitions were purely scientific, but I got cured of that fast by bad instruction in freshman chem...

Steaminess Rating

Willie Stark is married and has at least three girlfriends. We actually never see any of the alleged sex, but there is so much talk about it that we get the point. Jack on the other hand doesn't ha...

Allusions

Anthony Trollope (10.2)The Duke of Clarence (7.174)Joan of Arc (10.180)Governor Pettus (4.150)Jefferson Davis (4.150)Nell Gwyn (5.309)All Jolson (5.204)"Vengeance on Vinegar Creek" (7.3)Gene Autry...
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement