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All the King's Men

All the King's Men


by Robert Penn Warren

All the King's Men Slavery Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #1

When Gilbert gave him a small plantation, he managed it with such astuteness […] that at the end of the time he could repay Gilbert a substantial part of the purchase price. (4.34)

We don't know yet just how big a role slavery will play in the story of Cass Mastern, but we do know that he's a slave owner. He didn't even have to ask for it. It was put in his lap by his brother, and Cass didn't even know he should refuse. But he learns.

Quote #2

"Oh she'd stay right here and look at me and tell, tell what she knows and I will not abide it!" (4.104)

This is Annabelle's response to Cass's question about why she sold Phebe into sexual bondage instead of freeing her. We think Annabelle is being irrational here. Phebe would never be believed over Annabelle, and she knows better than to try. Annabelle's action ultimately speaks to a deeper shame.

Quote #3

"Oh, I see, you are very concerned for the honor of a black coachman." (4.112)

Cass judges Annabelle's action all the more harshly because Phebe was married to a neighboring coachmen, and was thus separated from family. Annabelle first accuses Cass of wanting her sexually, and then pokes fun at his sentiment. Cass is a plantation owner, after all. He has no right to judge anybody in the matter of slavery. But, he is starting to see the ills of slavery.

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