Study Guide

All the King's Men Love

By Robert Penn Warren

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She was a big girl and I was so much in love with her that I lived in a dream. (1.314)

Ahh. The love story. It's a good one too, isn't it? A bright spot in all the tragedy of this novel.

I am merely pointing to something which is different from love but which sometimes goes by the name of love. (1.276)

Jack is talking about the way Willie's dad wants Willie's company. As you might have noticed, Jack's views on father-son relationships tend toward the negative for most of the novel. Not to say that his statement doesn't have some truth to it. We're just warning you that Jack isn't the most reliable narrator on this issue.

"He's a n*****-lover," the little old bald, knotty-headed fellow submitted. (2.97)

The guys in the Mason City courthouse are saying they don't like Willie because Willie wants to see equality for all people. This is part of why we love Willie.

"I love you, Mother," I said. "I'll always love you." (3.39)

This is six-year-old Jack's response to his mother's statement that Ellis left because he didn't love her. We can be pretty sure by the end of the story that Jack's six-year-old promise is upheld. Jack will always love his mother, more so now that he knows that she too is capable of love.

I asked: "What about love?"

I was perfectly sure that the Judge had has his innings, but I was also perfectly sure that nobody around the Landing had anyone on him in that respect. (4.135-6)

Boy, was Jack wrong about that. This also shows just how well the Judge and Mrs. Murrell have kept their secret. The only other person who knows is Ellis Burden, and he appears to have permanently wiped it from his memory.

[Anne Stanton:] "Sure, I love you, Jackie-Boy, Jackie-Jackie Bird, who said I didn't love poor old Jackie-Bird?" (7.82)

She's probably telling the truth. After the incident, though, Anne might be confused about what love means. We certainly think that Jack is confused.

By that time, too, you wouldn't be able to tell if it was the frenzy of love or hate that coiled and tangled them together. (8.156)

Jack is talking about the fighting that is a huge part of the relationship between Sadie and Willie. She definitely loves him, and if we know the Boss, he loves her too. But then again he kind of loves everybody. Sadie probably only loves him.

[Anne:] "He [Willie] called me early this afternoon. I went there. He is going back to his wife." (9.450)

Jack's reaction to this is one of surprise and relief. He is surprised because he can't imagine choosing anyone over Anne. Why he's relieved is obvious. At least now he has a chance to get back together with the love of his life.

With me is my wife, Anne Stanton, and the man who was once married to my mother. (10.439)

What a long way this trio has come. We find this to be a loving moment that speaks for it self.

Besides, Jude Irwin was my father and he was good to me, and in a way, he was a man and I loved him. (10.450)

What Jack probably means by "in a way, he was a man," is that he can understand how the Judge's idea of suicide fit the Judge's idea of what it means to be a man. This is an idea, by the way, that the Judge has passed down to Jack. Because Jack can empathize with the act on some level, he is able to love the Judge in spite of it.

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