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All the King's Men

All the King's Men

by Robert Penn Warren

Race Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

Then a nigger chopping cotton a mile away, he'll look up and […] say, "Lawd God, hit's a-nudder-one done hit!" (1.1-2)

This is scary stuff to find on the second page of ones novel. It's hard to tell if Jack is parodying stereotypes of speech, or imitating speech he has actually heard. It's also an odd moment because Jack is imagining what's going on "a mile away." This quote reveals that, even though its 1933, black men are still picking cotton in fields.

Quote #2

Yeah […] so that is the tale, for Mason country is red-neck country and they don't like niggers, not strange niggers, anyway, and they haven't got many of their own. (2.34)

Jack has some issues with race, but they pale in comparison to those of the old men from whom he gets "the tale." He uses the awful word to show just how freely this word was tossed around in Mason City.

Quote #3

"No sale," I said. "I like mine vanilla. But now you've raised the subject, what's nigger-loving got to do with it?" (2.100)

Jack finds that the story in the Sheriff's office is the same as the one on the bench outside the harness shop. He turns their racist remark into sexual innuendo, while echoing their speech back to them. Jack's speech often reflects the racist speech of his surroundings.

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