Study Guide

All the King's Men

All the King's Men Summary

Since the novel isn't linear, it's easy to get confused at various points. In keeping with the anti-chronological nature of All the King's Men, this summary will do a bit of time traveling, but we'll keep you up to speed on the time period in which the events are taking place.

When we first meet our protagonist, Jack Burden, he is remembering a road trip to Mason City with Willie Stark, Tom Stark (Willie's son), and Lucy Stark (Willie's wife). The year is 1933, three years before the "present" in the novel. After visiting the Stark family home, Willie and Jack go to Mason City to put political pressure on Jack's mentor, Judge Irwin. After the visit, Willie tells Jack to find out what secrets Judge Irwin might have in his past.

Jack remembers the first time he saw Mason City. The year is 1922 and he is trying to find out about Willie so he could write an article about him for the Chronicle. (At this point in time, Jack is a journalist for the newspaper.) He learns that Willie is fighting the Mason City big wigs because they want to give a contract to build the new school to a company that has bid extremely high. As it so happens, the company is connected to political power in the state. Willie loses this battle, but is vindicated when new school's faulty fire escapes built by the corrupt contractor collapse during a fire drill, injuring and killing many children. Willie becomes a Mason County hero for having sniffed out the corruption.

When some politicians convince Willie to run for governor, he has no idea they are doing it to fix the race so one of the other candidates will win. Since Willie's campaign speehes are so uninspiring, he has no chance of winning. When he learns he's just a pawn, he gets drunk for the first time in his life. To help him recover from his hangover, and face the political barbeque he's due to attend, Jack gets him drunk again. This allows the powerful speechmaker inside Willie to emerge for the first time.

Soon enough, Willie runs for governor again, and easily wins. He hires Jack to come and work for him. Meanwhile, Jack remembers a visit to his mother in 1933. We learn that she treats Jack a little strangely, that she's had a long history with men, and that she's wealthy. Driving back from her place, Jack imagines her meeting his father, Ellis Burden, in Arkansas in 1896.

When Jack gets back to the Capitol after visiting his mother, Willie tells Jack he wants to build a new hospital that will be completely free to the public. Basically, the new hospital will be the best of the best. Then Jack learns that in addition to other indiscretions, Willie has been having an affair with Sadie Burke, his secretary. By 1936, Lucy and Willie are no longer living together, but are still married.

We next move from the 1930s back to pre-Civil War times. We find out that while Jack was working toward his Ph.D. in history, he was sent some papers belonging to Cass Mastern, Ellis Burden's uncle. From the papers, Jack learns Cass's amazing story. Let's jump back in time into Cass's story.

As a young man, Cass Mastern learns plantation management from his brother Gilbert, a plantation owner, and is given a small plantation of his own. Cass also begins an affair with Annabelle, the beautiful twenty-nine-year-old wife of his good friend, Duncan Trice. When Duncan discovers the affair, he shoots himself. After the funeral Annabelle becomes convinced that her slave, Phebe, knows the whole sordid tale, and so sells her into sexual slavery. When Cass finds out, he suddenly realizes how horrible slavery is, and he tries to find Phebe.

Cass is unsuccessful in finding Phebe, but he does free all the slaves on his plantation and tries to help them succeed in life, even though this is before slavery was abolished in the U.S. Yet, before Cass accomplishes his dream of abolishing slavery, he dies. Sadly, he passes away feeling that he is a great sinner, both because of his affair with Annabelle and because of his involvement in slavery.

After Jack learns Cass's story, he is so disturbed by it that he walks out on his Ph.D. program. After the story about Cass, Jack tells us how he began his dig for the dirt on Judge Irwin. Since Irwin and Ellis Burden (Jack's father) were best friends at one time, Jack starts his search with Ellis. But, his father doesn't want to talk about the past. However, through lots of digging, Jack learns that Judge Irwin took a bribe that made him rich, but drove another man to suicide. Jack also discovers that then Governor Stanton, father of his best friend Adam and his own true love, Anne, were also implicated in the crime.

Soon, Willie asks Jack to convince Adam to be the director of his new hospital. Since Adam hates Willie, this isn't an easy task. Anne comes to Jack and begs him to help her convince Adam to accept. (She learned of the offer when having lunch with Willie, soliciting funds for the Children's Home.) Jack tells her that the only way to convince Adam is to reveal what he discovered about Stanton and Irwin.

Jack has a specific plan of action that he thinks will convince Adam to take the hospital directorship. Adam believes that Willie is corrupt because he uses blackmail to get what he wants politically. Jack knows that when Adam learns that both of his idols, Judge Irwin and his own father, were engaged in corruption for pure financial gain he will see that Willie is no worse than anyone else. Jack's hope is that Adam will see that he has no valid reason to condemn Willie, and thus no reason to refuse the directorship.

When Jack tells Anne the dirty truth about Governor Stanton (her father) and Judge Irwin, she takes it pretty hard. Anne ultimately decides that the best way to get Adam to take the hospital position is to tell him the truth about their father and Judge Irwin. This plan works, and Adam accepts the directorship. Shortly after, Jack learns that Anne and Willie have been having an affair.

Then Jack drives to California and relives his life in memory. He remembers growing up with Anne and the two of them falling in love, and also breaking off their relationship. He remembers his subsequent marriage to Lois Seager, and his divorce. By the time Jack is ready to go back home, he has developed a philosophy called the Great Twitch (sometimes referred to as the Big Twitch). Jack decides that all of life is just electrical impulse, and that nothing matters in the end. This is a kind of coping mechanism, a way for Jack to continue living despite his unbearable pain and heartbreak.

Back at the Capitol, Jack learns that Willie's son, Tom, might have gotten a girl named Sibyl Frey pregnant. It also turns out that Willie is being blackmailed with this information by Gummy Larson, who wants Willie to give him the hospital contract. Eventually, Willie thinks that the only way to solve the problem is by getting Judge Irwin to tell the blackmailers to lay off. Willie sends Jack to blackmail Irwin into stopping Willie's blackmailers. But rather than do what Jack and Willie ask, Judge Irwin kills himself. Jack learns that Irwin is really his father, and that his mother and Judge Irwin were lovers.

With Irwin dead, Willie gives Gummy and the blackmailers the hospital contract in order to stop them from leaning on Tom. Tom, however, is injured in a football game, and suffers substantial brain damage. He survives but will be permanently brain dead. Willie takes back the hospital contract from Gummy. This leads the blackmailers to put pressure on Willie through Adam Stanton. Gummy calls Adam and tells him that Willie is having an affair with Anne (Adam's sister), and that this was the only reason Adam was asked to be director. Adam believes it and shoots Willie. Sugar-Boy, Willie's driver, however, shoots Adam and kills him. Shortly after Willie dies, Tom also passes away.

After all the tragedy, Anne and Jack get married. They live with Ellis Burden, who is very sick. Now that he knows the truth about his past, Jack finds hope. He tells us that he is going to write a book about Cass Mastern, and then leave town with Anne.

  • Chapter 1

    • All the King's Men begins with the sentence, "Mason City."
    • According to the narrator, if you want to go to Mason City you take "Highway 58" and travel "northeast" from a unnamed city. If you aren't careful, the shiny new road will hypnotize you and you'll get into an accident. Anyhow, if you don't get hypnotized, you'll keep going deeper "into the dazzle."
    • The narrator, who will introduce himself in a moment, is talking about a mirage
    • Eventually, the countryside will change, "the big cotton fields" will disappear, and so too the little shacks.
    • Instead you'll find small red hills, cotton patches, and cornfields.
    • Long ago there were forests of pine tree. When a sawmill was put up after the Civil War, the forests eventually disappeared, along with the jobs the mill had brought to the area.
    • Many of the people who lost their jobs stayed in Mason City.
    • And now it seems we've arrived in Mason City, a poor southern town, or at least it was three years ago, when the narrator (who will introduce himself in a moment) was there. The year is 1936.
    • (We're now heading into a flashback.)
    • Three years ago, the narrator is in the Cadillac with "the Boss," his wife and son, "Mr. Duffy," and Sugar-Boy. Another car contains reporters and a photographer, and Sadie Burke, secretary to the Boss.
    • Sugar-Boy is the Boss's driver, and he drives like a maniac, which is pleasing to the Boss.
    • (Sugar-Boy also has a stutter and is fond of the word "bastard" which he stutters.)
    • The narrator accuses us of thinking Sugar-Boy is a "Negro, from his name." But no, Sugar-Boy is a very short Irish man, under thirty, whose real name is O'Sheean. He's always sucking on sugar, hence the nickname.
    • Sugar-Boy, the Boss, and the Boss's son (Tom), who's around eighteen, are in the front. Tom is a football star.
    • From the backseat, the back of Tom's head looks just like Willie Stark's. We learn that Willie is the Boss.
    • In the back seat with the narrator we have Lucy Stark (the Boss's wife) and Tiny Duffy.
    • Since it's Saturday, "the square" is crowded, full of wagons, and shoppers.
    • When they get to the soda fountain shop, the group enters.
    • The presence of Willie Stark causes a great commotion as he is apparently a big political figure. A calendar on the wall features his picture.
    • The narrator has seen this picture everywhere.
    • Willie notices a rough looking man named Malaciah at the bar. He talks to him and learns Malaciah's son is in jail for killing another man in a fight.
    • After that interaction, Willie and his crew drink some cokes.
    • Meanwhile, people are begging Willie to make a speech.
    • Willie says he isn't here to speak, but instead to see his "pappy."
    • As he and his entourage make their way back to the Cadillac, a group of people follows.
    • Willie walks silently to the courthouse and goes up the steps.
    • The narrator watches Willie, and when he sees his "eyes bulge" and "glitter" he knows he's about to speak.
    • Sure enough, the Boss begins to make a speech.
    • His speech is about how he's not going to make a speech, because he's here to see his father.
    • He's taking the day off from politics, and he isn't going to ask them to give him anything, or vote for him.
    • As he walks back down the steps, everybody claps and cheers.
    • The Boss and his entourage get back in their cars, and the narrator is in the backseat of the Cadillac.
    • The narrator remembers when he first met Willie, fourteen years earlier in 1922.
    • We go into another flashback: we're actually in a flashback within a flashback.
    • Willie was the County Treasurer of Mason County back in 1922. He was in the (still nameless) city to talk about a "bond issue." He wanted a bond passed to provide funds to build a new schoolhouse.
    • The narrator was in "Slade's pool hall" with Tiny Duffy (then Tax Assessor), waiting for Alex Michel (then deputy sheriff).
    • The narrator was a journalist writing for the Chronicle. We learn that this newspaper favored Governor Joe Harris, Tiny Duffy's boss.
    • The narrator was at Slade's to get some information from Alex. It was morning, in June or July.
    • When Alex showed up, he had Willie Stark with him. Willie was nothing special to look at, wearing a cheap suit and following behind the impressive looking Alex Michel.
    • Alex introduced Willie as a "bookworm" and "teacher's pet." It's then announced that Willie married a teacher.
    • When Willie reached to shake the narrator's hand, the narrator was slightly confused because he felt like he had always known Willie.
    • He managed to lift his hand and Willie took it and said, "Glad to meetcha, Mr. Burden."
    • (Now we know that our narrator is named Mr. Burton)
    • Looking back now, Mr. Burden remembers that twelve years after he met Willie, he asked Willie if he had winked at him that first day. Willie didn't give him a straight answer.
    • Mr. Burden does remember that at that first meeting Willie did not wink at Tiny Duffy.
    • Back in 1922, they all sat down, and Duffy ordered beers. Willie said he didn't want one.
    • Duffy tried to pressure him, but Willie wouldn't be swayed. Apparently, his wife, Lucy, wasn't fond of booze.
    • Slade said he wasn't going to make anyone drink beer. Willie accepts the orange soda that Slade offers him.
    • The men talk about the bond issue.
    • Mr. Burden tells us that the bond passed, and Willie's school was built.
    • (Flashback within the flashback is now over. We're back to the original flashback.)
    • Willie turns to Mr. Jack Burden and tells him to investigate the situation with Malaciah's son, and get the young man a lawyer.
    • Duffy asks if the Boss knows the identity of the murdered boy. The Boss says he doesn't know and doesn't care.
    • Soon they arrive at Willie's dad's house.
    • It looks like an average farmhouse, plain and unpainted.
    • It does have indoor plumbing installed, and other amenities that can't be seen from the outside.
    • The unpainted house will make for much better publicity photos than a painted one.
    • Willie's dad, who is aged, and has pale blue eyes. He is waiting for Willie and company on the steps.
    • The Boss greets him, and then Lucy does. Willie's dad looks like he's going to pat Lucy on the back, but he doesn't.
    • Jack explains to us that Lucy understands his affection without the pat. She and Old Man Stark, a long time widower, bonded long ago when she and Willie were first married.
    • They would sit together without talking while Willie was up in his room, pouring over law books. The two shared the fact that they both had and didn't have Willie.
    • Willie introduces Tiny, then asks his dad if he remembers Jack Burden. (He does.)
    • They sit in the dusty, seemingly ancient parlor.
    • Then a servant brings in three glass, and some water.
    • Lucy and Sadie each take a glass, and the men share the third one.
    • Soon the photographer gets impatient and suggests they begin the photo shoot.
    • Willie stands on the steps, and the photographer decides that Willie's dog since childhood should be in the shot.
    • The dog is practically prehistoric and doesn't come when Willie calls. Willie asks Jack to pick up the huge dog.
    • The dog's breath is so hideous that Jack wilts when he gets a whiff. Finally, Tom Stark and a reporter help Jack lift up the dog.
    • They can't prop the beast up, so Willie has to sit on the steps for the photo.
    • After a brief recovery period, Jack leads them upstairs to Willie's old room. This was his idea for the photo shoot – to have the Boss at his old desk with his old books.
    • Jack thinks that Willie the child is what's missing from the room, and his imagines what Willie must have been like as a child.
    • Willie gets ready for the shot, and then the photographer begins his work.
    • Jack knows they don't need him, so he leaves.
    • Jack goes out past the chicken coops, and the barn, and the stables, and watches the sunset. He wonders about the night's sleeping arrangements, and then pulls out his flask and takes a drink.
    • He hears the gate open behind him, but doesn't look to see who it is.
    • If he doesn't look, it doesn't exist. Jack explains that this is part of the "Idealist" philosophy he was following at this time. (See his "Character Analysis" for more.)
    • The person Jack is ignoring asks Jack for a drink. Jack tells him to take it from his pant's pocket.
    • It's Willie. He needed a drink and couldn't get one around his dad.
    • Sadie Burke comes rushing through the gate.
    • She has something to say about a certain Judge Irwin, but is too out of breath to talk.
    • We get a description of Sadie: she has on high heels and a tight skirt. Her face is lightly pockmarked, and she has extremely short, wild hair.
    • Willie tells her to "spill it." This infuriates her and they begin to fight, something they do often.
    • Jack looks away from the scene. Even though he knows they think of him as "furniture," he thinks it's rude to stare.
    • Finally, Sadie tells Willie that Judge Irwin has announced his endorsement for someone named Callahan (and therefore not his endorsement for whoever Willie wants the Judge to endorse).
    • The boss can't believe it. He tells Sadie to get everybody out of the house, which Sadie quickly does.
    • Jack stretches out in a hammock, and Willie ponders the problem.
    • Jack hears something in the distance, and realizes it's Sugar-Boy, at target practice.
    • Then they all have dinner, and Jack admires Lucy.
    • When everybody is completely stuffed, the Boss announces that he and Jack and Sugar-Boy are leaving.
    • Lucy gives Willie a knowing look, and then Old Man Stark tells Willie he wants him to stay home.
    • Willie isn't having it; he prepares to leave.
    • His dad suggests that if it's business, he understands.
    • Willie says it's not business, but pleasure.
    • Then Sugar-Boy, Jack Burden, and Willie take off in the Cadillac for a place called Burden's Landing.
    • It's already about 9pm and Burden's Landing is 260 miles, round trip.
    • It's going to be a long night.
    • Jack Burden is related to the people for whom Burden's Landing is named. We learn that he was born there and grew up there.
    • The air in Burden's Landing is "salty" and fishy, and this time of year it's also hot.
    • Jack imagines his mother in bed with Theodore Murrell, the younger, blonde man to whom his mother is married. Theodore's not Jack's first stepfather.
    • Jack thinks of the "live oaks and magnolias" further out past his mother's house at the Stanton house.
    • It's empty because Anne and Adam Stanton (you'll hear all about them soon) live "in town" now, and their dad is dead.
    • Judge Irwin's house is nearby as well. Jack is sure that's where they are going.
    • At this point Jack breaks from his musings and asks the Boss what he plans to say to the Judge.
    • Willie says he'll know when the time comes.
    • Jack says that the Judge isn't easily frightened, and he has the memories to prove it. Looks like he has known the Judge for a long time, and is sure he won't "scare easy."
    • Then Jack hints that calling on old men in the middle of the night is undignified.
    • Willie, who we now learn is Governor (of an unnamed Southern state), says that to get anything "worth doing" done, you will have to give up some dignity.
    • Then he starts talking about when he becomes president, how nice it will be for Jack and Sugar-Boy, and how he will appoint Tiny Duffy as "Secretary of the Bedchamber of Jack Burden."
    • Jack says Willie will "go down in history."
    • They both laugh and then are quiet until they get to Burden's Landing.
    • Willie asks Jack to tell Sugar-Boy how to get to Irwin's, reminding Jack that his "pals" live here.
    • This sends Jack into another flashback, this time about Anne and Adam Stanton.
    • Their father (a widower) used to be the Governor, and they lived in his big white house in Burden's Landing.
    • They were Jack's friends.
    • They played, fished, and swam together. One moment Anne was a child, and then all of a sudden she wasn't any more. Jack fell in love with her, but they never got together.
    • Anne lives alone now, and even though she doesn't look bad, it's evident that she has aged.
    • She always looks like she's trying to remember something, and Jack wonders what.
    • Jack has the opposite problem – he remembers what doesn't want to recollect.
    • People would be better off without memories, Jack reasons.
    • He "was a student of history […] in a university" and that is what he learned.
    • Anne, Jack thinks, is "an old maid."
    • Adam is a "famous surgeon." He and Jack are friends but no longer fish together.
    • Judge Irwin is a friend of Jack's family, and he taught Jack to shoot, hunt, and ride. He also read history to Jack.
    • After Jack's father, Ellis Burden, left, the Judge was a father to Jack. (Judge Irwin was more of a father than Jacks mother's husbands.)
    • Jack gives Sugar-Boy directions and expects to see his young self on the street corner of the town as they drive through it.
    • He also imagines the voices of the older townspeople passing judgment on him and his family.
    • They get to Judge Irwin's house and Willie demands that Jack rouse the Judge.
    • The Judge comes to the door, sees Jack, and welcomes him.
    • Then Willie pops up from behind the door. The Judge goes cold. Willie basically forces himself in against the Judge's wishes.
    • Willie leads them to the Judge's library, and makes himself at home.
    • Judge Irwin doesn't sit, and doesn't speak.
    • Finally, Willie asks if Jack can pour him some of the Judge's booze.
    • The Judge says he didn't know Jack was Willie's "body servant."
    • Jack wants to smack the Judge upside the head, but doesn't.
    • Willie laughs and gets up, pours Jack a drink, and forces it on Jack.
    • Willie explains to the Judge that he isn't a gentleman, and then the sparring begins. Jack retreats to watch, and thinks "to hell with both of them."
    • Willie asks the Judge to confirm that he did endorse the other guy. Judge confirms the rumor.
    • Apparently, Judge Irwin e found out some things about Masters, Willie's pick for the office, and can no longer endorse him.
    • Furthermore, Irwin can't endorse someone who answers to Willie.
    • Willie asks how it would feel if Irwin lost his job.
    • The Judge responds that nobody can bully him into doing anything.
    • Willie says he didn't try. He's just wants the Judge to know that just like somebody found out Master's dirty secret, somebody can find out dirt on Callahan.
    • The Judge holds firm and tells Willie to leave.
    • On the way out, Willie asks the Judge again to change his mind, then tells Jack to go.
    • The Judge then makes another crack about Jack being Willie's slave.
    • Jack is mad, because now he has to respond: he warns the Judge not to tell anybody they came or people will think he was crafting shady political deals in the night.
    • On the road back to Mason City, the Boss tells Jack he needs to dig up dirt on Irwin.
    • Jack doesn't think there is any dirt to dig.
    • Willie says everybody has dirt. And he wants Jack to find the dirt on the Judge, "and make it stick."
    • Jack thinks that now – three years after that night – Masters, Adam Stanton, Judge Irwin, and the Boss, are all dead.
    • Jack followed the Boss's advice, and "made it stick."
    • The flashback ends with the chapter.
  • Chapter 2

    • Jack tells us that it's now three years later, 1939, and that he hasn't been back to Mason City since that last trip with Willie to see Judge Irwin in 1936.
    • He wants to talk about that first time he went to Mason City, in 1922. The road was bumpy then – Willie was responsible for the next highway.
    • Back then Jack worked for The Chronicle. The editor, Jim Madison, had sent Jack down to find out why "that fellow Stark" is causing a ruckus about the school being built.
    • (If you are lost here, it's because Jack hasn't given us the information yet, but don't worry, he will.)
    • Jack reports what he heard during his coincidental meeting with Stark when he was trying to see Alex Michel (see Chapter One).
    • So Madison sends Jack to Mason City to cover the story of Willie Stark.
    • When Jack gets to Mason City he has a huge meal, and then finds the town bench and the town's old men. He listens to them, and brings up the school, at just the right moment.
    • Jack gets the lowdown: it's a matter of who gets to build the school.
    • The town has its own contractor in mind, and Willie wants to give the job to a different contractor.
    • The contractor Willie has in mind hires black men.
    • According to the old men, jobs will be taken away from the white men who work with the higher priced contractor.
    • Since the crew couldn't be all black men, white men would have to work alongside black men. Plus the white citizens don't want a gang of blacks invading their community.
    • (Think about it, this is somewhere in the Deep South, 1922. If these guys are say 70, they were born around 1852, some of them probably 1842 even. It's likely that many of them owned slaves, and then lost them during the Civil War.)
    • As Jack prepares to exit, and the men ask him about his work. He says he does no work, because he "lack[s] ambition."
    • Then it's on to the courthouse to get the story the proper way.
    • At the courthouse, Jack finds his way to the Sheriff's office. Three men are chilling in there, so Jack says hello and approaches the man with "the biggest face."
    • The man's says the schoolhouse situation is none of Jack Burden's business, or the paper's.
    • Then the big-faced man says that he's the Sheriff and it's not even his own business.
    • It happens to be the business of the County Commissioners of Mason County, one of whom is present.
    • The other guy is the Chairman, Dolph Pillsbury
    • So, Jack uses the information he got from the old men to ask the right questions.
    • And here's the official lowdown (for the papers):
    • Jeffers Construction is low bid.
    • The Board has chosen its own contractor because it is the best contractor for the job.
    • Jack asks Dolph if he's publicly stating that Jeffers Construction isn't good enough for the job.
    • Dolph gets irritated and tells Jack to leave.
    • Jack says, "Sure," and then asks where he can find Willie Stark.
    • The three men explode, and it comes out that they don't like Willie Stark because he's a "nigger-lover" and they accuse Jack of being one also. (For more on this see the "Character Analysis" for Jack, and for Willie.)
    • Jack leaves the courthouse and finds Willie at his dad's house, where he and Lucy are staying.
    • Willie doesn't mind talking about the schoolhouse. The two men talk until 11pm, at which point Lucy invites Jack to stay the night.
    • Willie won't be reelected as County Treasurer because he's fallen out of favor with Pillsbury. (He only got the job initially because he is distantly related to Pillsbury. This connection is an important one: along with the Sheriff, Pillsbury runs the county.)
    • Lucy has already lost her teaching job, due to her stance on the schoolhouse.
    • (Jack talks at length about Lucy: she's about 25 and has an unfortunately short hairdo.)
    • Willie 's preferred contractors lose, and the schoolhouse is built by Pillsbury's boys.
    • Jack explains Willie's version of the same story we've heard from the old men, and from the Sheriff and friends.
    • Jeffers Construction is the low bid. J.H. Moore is the contractor the county has chosen. (There are two other bids in between Moore and Jeffers.)
    • When Willie originally complained, Pillsbury began his attack on Jeffers, a big company that does have many black men working for it. These regular (black) employees would likely receive higher pay than the local (white) laborers would.
    • Willie knows some facts about the bricks that J.H. Moore would use for the building. Pillsbury's brother in law owns the "brick kiln" from which Moore would buy its bricks. A building inspector had already declared many bricks from this kiln to be "rotten." Surely rotten bricks would be used to build the schoolhouse. These bricks were cheap, because convicts in the state penitentiary provided the labor.
    • Willie wanted these facts known, and he canvassed the area. His efforts didn't do any good: he was too quiet, and couldn't reach the people.
    • Moore got the contract, and the school was in constant need of repairs from day one.
    • Willie is continuing his studies, helping his dad on the farm, and selling a "Fix-It Household Kit" door to door for money.
    • Willie seems obsessed by the fact that those old boys could treat him like "nothing," and get away with it.
    • Lucy reminds him that those guys are crooks.
    • Willie broods, and then takes to pacing, as Lucy and Jack talk.
    • When Lucy can't take the pacing anymore, she laughingly asks him to sit.
    • (Willie is lucky to have Pillsbury and the boys, but he doesn't know it yet.)
    • The Chronicle is trying to break down the corruption in the county, and Jack's stories on Willie and Mason City are the featured attraction.
    • Jack goes back to Mason City to get Willie's response to the newspaper stories.
    • They run into each other on the street, and have a coke.
    • Now Jack explains why Pillsbury and co. are part of Willie's luck.
    • The schoolhouse built by Moore with the crummy bricks had two fire escapes, both made iron steps and bolted onto the building.
    • There was one on each side of the school.
    • Approximately two years after construction, the school held a fire drill.
    • Little kids couldn't get down the stairs fast, and big kids were crowded up behind them. All the kids got tangled up together on the stairs. The stairs broke off from the building and collapsed, killing several kids, and seriously crippling many others.
    • Willie was an instant star, and soon "found himself running for Governor."
    • A guy named Harrison had been Governor in the past. The current Governor is MacMurfee. Both men are running in the next election, and it's going to be close.
    • The Harrison camp wanted to find another guy to run – a guy that can take lots of votes from MacMurfee, ensuring Harrison's victory.
    • Willie doesn't know it, but he is that guy.
    • Tiny Duffy, who was working for Harrison, came up to the Stark farm to talk to Willie about running.
    • Willie saw him as God's own messenger.
    • By this time Willie is a lawyer. We get a little of his history now.
    • He had dropped out of college due to lack of money, and had served during World War One, in an Oklahoma military camp. After the war he studied and read like crazy, self-educating himself in order to pass the bar.
    • The bar exam was ridiculously easy, but Willie was more interested in learning law than passing a test, so his hard work wasn't for nothing.
    • And now Willie is running for Governor.
    • He travels the state promoting himself. Jack comes along to cover the story for the paper.
    • Willie believes he'll get to be Governor, but his speeches are awful, and Jack thinks Willie is "a half-wit."
    • Willie's bad speeches are OK in the county, where the fire drill incident had given Willie undying approval. The rest of the state could care less about him.
    • Jack explains that the speeches need to reach the people's emotions. Numbers can't do that.
    • Willie still doesn't get it, as evidenced by his lack of connection with the audience at his next venue.
    • After the speech, Jack Burden is having coffee when Sadie Burke, who is involved in Willie's campaign and who Jack knows "from way back."
    • (Sadie is rumored to be with the guy who suggested Willie run to help Harrison get the vote for governor.)
    • Sadie isn't bad looking, in spite of the pockmarked face and crazy hair. She has beautiful eyes, and is very smart.
    • She's working as a secretary for Willie (though probably so she can "spy" on him).
    • Jack and Sadie talk about the fact that Willie is a big loser who doesn't have a chance.
    • They talk about his horrible speeches.
    • There is barbeque planned at Upton, in the western part of the state.
    • The night before the event, Willie comes into Jack's room and is obviously worried.
    • He's resigned to the fact that he will lose the race.
    • Sadie shows up, and tells the truth. Willie learns that he is just a pawn in everybody's game.
    • When the awful fact sinks in, Willie pours himself a big drink of Jack's liquor.
    • Willie wants revenge, and Sadie begins to tear him up, calling him "a sap" and an idiot.
    • Jack is disgusted, and leaves them alone in his hotel room.
    • When Jack gets back to his room Sadie is smoking in a chair, the bottle has been emptied, and Willie is asleep on Jack's bed.
    • Jack and Sadie leave Willie to sleep in Jacks' bed, and Jack goes to Willie's room to sleep.
    • The next day Jack finds Willie awake.
    • Willie has come to the realization that he was "drunk" the night before. It was his first time being drunk, and only his second time having alcohol.
    • After Jack asks, Willie says he's still planning on going to the barbeque.
    • (Sadie and Duffy are already there.)
    • Jack tries to help Willie get over his hangover in time for the barbeque.
    • Jack's formula is to feed Willie large amounts of coffee, and when that doesn't work, more booze.
    • As Jack points out to Willie this is during Prohibition, so alcohol is illegal.
    • By the time they get to the barbeque, Willie is drunk.
    • OK, now, the big moment, time for Willie to give his speech.
    • He tells the people that the speech contains ideas for how the state can help the people. But, he says, the people already know what they need. He says that he's just like them, "a hick" and "a red-neck," a hard worker that has pulled himself up by his own bootstraps. He also brings up the schoolhouse story, and then – he begins telling the story of how he's been set up to help Harrison win the Governorship.
    • He points at Sadie and says she's the one who revealed the truth. Tiny Duffy is making his way up to the stage. Willie points at him, calls him a "Judas Iscariot" and "Joe Harrison's dummy!"
    • Duffy is on the stage, calling Willie a liar.
    • Willie taps Duffy. As he is backing away, Duffy falls off the stage.
    • Willie says he is resigning from the campaign, and that he's supporting MacMurfee, even though he still thinks he's no good.
    • Jack tells Sadie to grab Willie as soon as he's done, and runs off to call the paper to report.
    • As Jack goes he sees Willie tossing his speech to the wind, and yelling about the "the truth."
    • After the speech, Willie goes around the state blasting Harrison.
    • MacMurfee gets the Governorship.
    • Willie returns to Mason City and to his law practice.
    • He and Jack don't see each other until about 1930 when Willie announces his plan to re-run for Governor.
    • Sadie Burke, a man named Hugh Miller, along with some ex-Harrison guys including Tiny Duffy, are helping him with the campaign.
    • Jack thinks Willie keeps Duffy around because he destroyed Tiny, and then put him back together, thus proving Willie's success.
    • Willie becomes Governor.
    • The Chronicle favors MacMurfee during the campaign. Jack doesn't want to help elect MacMurfee, so he gives up his job.
    • While Willie is working the state to get elected, Jack is mostly sleeping.
    • Jack notes that this is his third period of heavy sleeping. He calls these periods "The Great Sleep."
    • The last time Jack was like this, he was almost finished writing the dissertation that would have earned him a Ph.D. in American History. Jack walked out of his dorm room, leaving his dissertation, and didn't come back.
    • The first time he experienced The Great Sleep was just before he left his then wife, Lois.
    • During the current "Great Sleep," Jack visits his childhood friend, Adam Stanton.
    • Adam isn't married, and lives in a crummy apartment. He spends his time either working or writing papers, which he publishes in medical journals.
    • Jack and Adam's hangout sessions consist of Adam playing the piano and Jack listening.
    • One night Jack and Adam reflect on their childhood. This spurs Jack to call Anne, Adam's sister.
    • Anne and Jack have several dinners together.
    • At one of these dinners, Anne asks Jack if he's seen his father.
    • (Apparently Jack thinks his father is a religious fanatic of some sort.)
    • Anne saw him a couple of weeks back, on the street. He'd given her some kind of religious speech, and didn't look well.
    • Jack resents the talk. He thinks his father is an idiot for having given up Jack's mother.
    • Anne accuses him of being bitter, which he denies.
    • Jack says he's sorry for feeling the way he does about them.
    • They argue about whether or not Jack is really sorry.
    • He doesn't have dinner with her again during "The Great Sleep," but he does see his father. His dad is just as he expects.
    • After some time, Jack gets a call from Sadie Burke. Willie Stark, now Governor, wants to see him.
    • Willie offers Jack a vague sounding job, and asks him to come to dinner at the Governor's Mansion.
    • Jack accepts both invitations.
  • Chapter 3

    • Even though Jack knows what to expect when he goes home to visit his mom, he's always surprised.
    • He always comes home believing that his mother, Mrs. Murrell, considers him just another one of her men. (Apparently, she needs to have men around her, and she knows how to make them do what she wants.)
    • She always greets him with innocent eyes, and grabs his coat and pulls him toward her.
    • This time, in 1933, is no different.
    • Jack was last home about eight months ago, and he and his mother had fought about his job with Willie. (The fighting between mother and son is nothing new. What is new, is that now it's about Willie.)
    • When he gets to his mom's place, she pushes Jack on the couch and puts a drink in his hand. In the light of the fire Jack sees how small she is, and how "hungry" the space under her cheek is.
    • (You are going to hear lots about this check thing. We talk about it in her "Character Analysis."
    • When Jack was old enough to know, he decided that it was that space under her cheekbone that made her irresistible to men.)
    • We then get a detailed description of his mother: she has yellow and gray metallic hair, perfectly done. You can tell she spends lots of money on her hair, and it's worth it.
    • Jack thinks his mother is looking good for 54. Next to her, 35 feels old.
    • (Since Jack's 35 in 1933, he was born in1898.)
    • When Jack's drink is done, she says he looks like he's tired. He says he isn't. She insists that he is and pulls him toward her. He tries to resist, but can't. Soon he is "on [his] back, with [his] head on her lap." She has one hand on his chest; with the other she is touching his face.
    • She asks him about his work, and brings up Willie. She says Theodore (her husband) could get him a job.
    • He tries to get up but she pushes him down, covering his eyes with her hand.
    • Soon Jack hears Theodore Murrell coming in and he tries to get up again, but she pushes him down again, and doesn't let him up until her man in the room.
    • Jack gets to his feet and observes the man who has "a beautiful blond mustache," and "taffy colored hair."
    • Theodore kisses his wife, who grabs him and pushes him toward Jack.
    • He asks Jack how he's doing, calling him "the old politician."
    • Theodore says he knows Jack and the Governor are tight. Jack responds that the Governor is only tight with himself.
    • Mrs. Murrell tells them to sit, and Jack looks at the furniture.
    • Every time he comes home, his mother has some new, expensive furniture in the room. He compares her home to a beautiful museum, and which he has known all his life.
    • Pieces of furniture are not the only things that have changed; the people coming and going have changed as well.
    • The first change happened when his father left.
    • Jack asked his mother if his father was dead. She said he wasn't, but that Jack could pretend he was. When asked why he left, she told Jack it was, "Because he didn't love Mother." Jack told her he would always love her. (He was about six when his father, whom he calls the "Scholarly Attorney," left.)
    • After the "Scholarly Attorney", she married "the Tycoon," a.k.a. "Daddy Ross." The Tycoon was fairly advanced in age and soon died.
    • Then she scooted over to Europe and brought back Covelli, a.k.a. "the Count." Covelli bruised his mother's arm, but was a great horse rider.
    • After the Count came the current husband, the "Young Executive," who is 44.
    • Jack has sat in the room with all those different men, and all the different furniture.
    • It rains for several days while Jack is at Burden's Landing. Jack goes on walks in the rain, and briefly visits Judge Irwin.
    • During his stay at his mother's house, Jack walks to the cove off the bay, and remembers picnicking there with Anne and Adam Stanton as a boy.
    • Jack goes into a flashback.
    • One day he, Anne, and Adam came here to swim and fish.
    • Toward the afternoon it looked like rain, and Adam wanted to head indoors.
    • But Anne wanted to swim. She was determined and ran toward the water, pulling Adam with her.
    • Jack was watching her run, when he suddenly realized that Adam was watching him watch Anne.
    • The two young men raced to the water.
    • Adam, an ace swimmer, swam way out at sea. Anne dove under the water like a seal, and then floated on her back. Jack followed suit. At one point he watched her float. Her arms were spread, her eyes closed, and her hair fanned out. A seagull was flying over head.
    • Then she broke the pose and swam in to shore.
    • Jack followed and it started to rain.
    • On the shore they watched nervously as Adam came back to shore.
    • Adam and Jack were seventeen then, and Anne around thirteen.
    • Jack never forgets the picnic, because it's the first time he understood that Anne and Adam are truly individuals.
    • He might have understood even that day that he is also an individual person.
    • Why the heck is all this importance attached to that picnic?
    • Because Jack got the picture of Anne floating stuck in his head, and could never get it out again.
    • Over the years this image becomes increasingly meaningful.
    • He didn't fall in love with her then, but he admits that he's been in love with her for years, off and on.
    • The first time he fell in love with Anne was in 1915, just before he left for college.
    • We then get an in-depth perspective on Jack's life.
    • At the time when he first fell for Anne, his mother was pressuring to attend a fancy school. Jack insisted on going to his State university. She was shocked, and found it hard to believe a man would not give in to her demands.
    • Later, when Jack was working hard to pay for school himself, he regretted refusing to let her pay.
    • Still, she always sent him money for his birthday and Christmas.
    • Jack wasn't accepted into the army because he had "bad feet."
    • Jack abruptly switches to thinking about Judge Irwin. The Judge enjoyed the war, feeling that all his historical study of war was put to good use.
    • Jack thinks back to before the war when young Jack helped the Judge build models of various war machines. Through these models, Jack learned about the history of war.
    • The Judge was "a brave man" both in and out of the army. Once a man the Judge had sentenced to prison saw the Judge on the street and said he wanted to kill him. The Judge had laughed, and took away the gun that was pointed at him.
    • After this trip down memory lane, Jack goes to dinner with his mother and the Young Executive at Judge Irwin's house.
    • They are joined by the Pattons, a couple who lives nearby.
    • In what Jack thinks is an attempt to set him up, somebody has also invited a girl named Dumonde.
    • Everybody talks about "old times" during dinner. As guest of honor, Jack is the focus.
    • Before dessert, someone brings up the models Jack and the Judge used to make.
    • The Judge gets out a twenty-inch model of a ballista. He props it up on the table demonstrates that the thing works. He fires a bread pellet. It hits the chandelier, scaring Mrs. Patton, and throwing glass shards on the table.
    • Jack checks out the ballista and notices that someone has recent worked on it.
    • Jack liked the memory of the Judge working on the models, but knowing that the Judge still does somehow cheapens the memory.
    • Talk turns to Jack's job, a conversation which he evades.
    • Dumonde keeps saying that Jack's job in politics is "fascinating."
    • Mr. Patton tells Jack to ask Willie how he'll feel when he's impeached, and implies that Willie is corrupt.
    • The Judge defends Willie, saying that the Governor has improved social services. He adds that Willie has "broken plenty of eggs" and might "make his omelets."
    • Then the political conversation gets hotter as they get deeper into things.
    • Jack notices that they talk about Willie as if Jack is loyal to them over Willie.
    • (Jack is not sure if he is or not, but he doesn't like that they assume it.)
    • He asks why, if the previous leaders had done so much for the people, was Willie able to break up corruption?
    • Silence.
    • The Pattons are shocked. They can't believe Jack is in favor of Willie.
    • He says he's just asking a question.
    • The political arguments continue until the evening ends.
    • The next day Jack asks his mom who Dumonde is. Apparently she's a girl who will inherit money.
    • Jack says he's not interested in money but he could get as much money as he wanted any day.
    • Mr. Murrell warns him not to take "graft," (i.e., getting money through illegal means). Jack clarifies that he's talking about selling information for money. But he doesn't want money, and neither does the Boss.
    • Jack's mother doesn't like the way her son is talking and expresses concern for him. In general, Jack seems different to her. If only he would get a nice girl, and let the Judge or Theodore get him a job.
    • Jack responds that he doesn't want any of those things. She asks him if he knows that everything she has is his, holding his hand tightly.
    • Jack apologizes. After dinner, he leaves Burden's Landing.
    • Driving in the rain, Jack thinks about why he is in this car tonight.
    • Begin flashback.
    • In 1896 the "Scholarly Attorney," who was about 44 at the time, was investigating a land case at a "lumber town in Arkansas".
    • Jack's never seen the town, or even Arkansas, but he can picture the scene vividly.
    • He imagines a girl there, with blond braids, a pale green dress, and amazing cheekbones. She is standing on the steps of the commissary, where her father works.
    • The "Scholarly Attorney" spends his evening walking with the girl. When his legal business is over, he takes the girl home to the house on the ocean built by his father's father (the house Jack just left).
    • She is fascinated by the ocean, but soon gets used to it.
    • Because "the Scholarly Attorney went to Arkansas," and because "the girl was on the steps," Jack Burden's parents got together. This is the reason why he is alive tonight, driving a car in the rain.
    • Now back to the present…
    • Jack gets to his hotel at 12pm. There are urgent messages for him to call Sadie Burke.
    • Something crazy has happened and she wants Jack to get to her hotel immediately.
    • Sadie is sitting outside "Suite 905" by the phone stand, and chain smoking.
    • Jack arrives and kisses her hard on the forehead.
    • She tells him to go in and see the Boss.
    • He finds Willie with Byram B. White, the State Auditor. Willie is humiliating the man, taking him to task for some financial issue. Finally, Willie tells Byram to write a letter of resignation, sign it, and leave it undated. If Willie ever wants to get rid of him, all he has to do is fill in the date. Willie isn't firing Byram, but feels sure he'll stay honest now.
    • (Willie has letters like this for most of his employees. If they don't do what he wants, he just has to fill in the date.)
    • The Boss explains that Byram didn't have to take it. He could have walked out, let Willie fire him.
    • Willie tells him Byram had put together some kind of corrupt get-rich-quick scheme. Somebody leaked it to rival politicians and it was in the papers.
    • On to the next topic of discussion, Willie says they need to focus on rumors that he's going to face impeachment proceedings. He wants Jack to lean on some people, and gather dirt on others.
    • Sadie comes in and announces that Hugh Miller, the Attorney General is here to see Willie.
    • Hugh enters and wants to know why Willie isn't firing Byram White, even though the guy is clearly guilty.
    • Willie's logic is that it's more important to keep his administration intact than to get rid of one corrupt man in a system full of corrupt men.
    • Hugh doesn't think Byram should be allowed to commit a felony and get away with it. He's giving Willie his resignation out of protest. Willie comments that Hugh is too concerned with keeping his hands clean, but hopes they can remain friends.
    • After Hugh leaves, Willie tells Jack that Lucy is leaving him.
    • Jack is surprised, and asks if it's because Willie is sleeping with Sadie. Willie responds that it's because he wouldn't fire Byram.
    • Willie says he plans to build a new hospital, a great free facility for everybody to use.
    • Jack tells us that he couldn't imagine that Lucy didn't know about the Boss's infidelities. He remembers when he found out.
    • Begin flashback.
    • Willie and Jack had gone to Chicago eight months after Willie was elected. A man named Josh Conklin was in charge of showing them the town. Josh took them to a club that featured exotic ice skaters. Willie had never seen anything like it, and he hooked up with one of the skaters.
    • Jack doesn't know if Lucy knew about that, but he knew Sadie did.
    • When the two men got back from Chicago, Sadie confronted Jack. Her short crazy hair and her pale, pockmarked face made her look like a "plaster-of-Paris mask of Medusa" but with burning eyes. She couldn't believe Willie would "two-time" her, and was furiously screaming about ruining and killing him.
    • Jack explained that maybe Willie is three or four timing Sadie, but the only one he's two-timing is Lucy. Sadie sputtered about Lucy for a bit, and then claimed that Willie will leave her eventually. Jack got slapped for basically agreeing.
    • Sadie cried, and tried to pump Jack for information about the skater's looks. She took Jack's hand and made him feel her face, explaining that she and her brother had smallpox. Her father was an alcoholic, and didn't take care of them, and her brother died of the disease. Her father then alternated between drunkenly kissing her pocked face, and slapping it. It was as if she was being punished because she had lived and her brother had died.
    • Jack suggested she "let [Willie] go." Sadie couldn't imagine doing it, partly because she knows Willie needs her, and because she knows he'll always come back to her.
    • Jack tells us she was right.
    • End flashback.
    • As for Lucy, she doesn't leave Willie over the Byram White incident. Willie's enemies were turning up the heat on the impeachment thing, and she might have felt bad leaving him at such a time.
    • During this period, Willie travels all around giving powerful speeches. Jack is with him, waiting for the inevitable roar of the crowd that Willie always manages to provoke.
    • In addition to Willie's speeches, and the roar of the crowd, there are several scenes of blackmail and intimidation.
    • Jack describes one such scene.
    • On April 5th, a crowd gathered at the Capitol building, chanting "Willie, Willie, Willie – We want Willie!"
    • Jack is looking down from a second floor window when he sees a black car arrive. Tiny Duffy gets out and announces to the crowd that Willie will talk to them at 8pm tonight.
    • Jack knows Willie will tell them that the impeachment if off, and that he is still Governor. He knows because the night before he blackmailed a guy into putting his signature on a piece of paper withdrawing the impeachment proceedings.
    • Willie does speak to the crowd on the night of April 5.
    • Jack is there with Adam and Anne Stanton. When the speech is over, he leaves them and rides to the Mansion with Willie and Sugar-Boy.
    • Willie tells Jack he's afraid Lucy is turning their son Tom into "a sissy." He's mad because she made Tom stay home and study instead of letting him hear Willie speak.
    • Tiny Duffy shows up with a bunch of men, wanting to celebrate. The Boss tells them to go party in a more secluded part of the house, because Lucy is trying to rest.
    • We then get the inside scoop about Lucy and Willie's relationship.
    • Lucy didn't leave Willie then, nor after he won a second term as Governor in 1934.
    • Eventually she did leave, but quietly.
    • She went on a trip to Florida, and then moved to her sister's "poultry farm and hatchery" outside of Mason City.
    • Tom was a star football quarterback by then.
    • She did put in public appearances with Willie from time to time. One example is that day in 1936, when Willie and Jack went to visit Judge Irwin in the night. Sometimes Willie would even visit Lucy at the poultry farm and have a family picture taken for the papers.
  • Chapter 4

    • After the many flashbacks and sidebar comments, Jack returns to where he was at the end of Chapter One. It's 1936 and Jack is in the car, with the Boss, receiving instructions to "dig up" the dirt on Judge Irwin.
    • Jack tells us that because he "was once a student of history" this is a good job for him because students of history don't care what they find.
    • This marks the second time that Jack will go rooting around in the past. This time will be successful. (The first time was not successful, because Jack had "walked out" on the research he had been doing for his Ph.D.)
    • Now Jack is going to tell us about that time, and that research.
    • Begin flashback on Jack's Ph.D. research.
    • He lived in a messy apartment with two other graduate students, one who was "industrious" and "unlucky," and the other who was "idle" and "lucky."
    • Both of them were alcoholics, at least at the beginnings of months, when the University paid them for teaching. Neither of them was much interested in their work, and their futures look grim. Eventually they would have to leave behind the comforts of graduate student life to teach in some repressive school.
    • Jack liked living with them in the messy apartment.
    • When his mother visited, she couldn't understand why he was living like that. She sent him money to buy new clothes, but he and his roommates went on a five-day bender. After their alcoholic binge, the "unlucky" roommate lost his job, and the "lucky" one got a sexually transmitted disease. Jack alone remained unscathed.
    • The student who got fired stayed in the apartment, but didn't pay rent and became depressed. One day the unemployed roommate left and they never heard from him again.
    • Before that the three lived together like brothers – the two students "hiding from the future […] in the present," while Jack was "hiding from the present […] in the past."
    • Jack's "past" consisted of a bunch of letters, eight journals, a photo, and a man's gold ring.
    • These were the papers of Cass Mastern, an uncle of Ellis Burden. Cass's brother, Gilbert Mastern, died a rich man in 1914 at the age of 94.
    • Ten years later Gilbert's heir sent Cass's papers to Jack, hoping to sell them to the University library. Jack told him that since Cass wasn't a famous historical figure, the papers probably weren't worth anything.
    • We now get some background on Cass Mastern.
    • Cass "died in 1864 at a military hospital in Atlanta." The last letter in the bundle of letters was a dictated good-bye letter to brother Gilbert. Cass, Gilbert, and sister Lavinia had been born in Atlanta in a log cabin.
    • When Cass was a student at Transylvania College in Kentucky, he had begun the journal. This was after what Cass called "the darkness and trouble." The journals are Cass's confession – he considered himself a great sinner.
    • They begin with some brief background.
    • Cass was fifteen years younger than his brother, Gilbert. Gilbert ran away from home when he was about seventeen, and when he returned, fifteen years later, he was already well on his way to being a wealthy plantation owner.
    • In that final letter to Gilbert, Cass suggests that he is lucky to die, and that Gilbert is unlucky to live. Cass predicts that as a result of his brother's involvement in slavery, his life will be "bitter."
    • Jack got involved in these papers when one of his professors suggested Jack write his dissertation on them.
    • The research went smoothly at first. Jack could easily put together the man's life. The Mastern parents died, and Gilbert came home. Gilbert put Lavinia in school in Atlanta, and took Cass home with him.
    • At Gilbert's plantation a tutor gave Cass a basic education, and Gilbert taught him how to run a plantation. After that Gilbert sent him to school at Transylvania.
    • Cass "discovered pleasure" While at college.
    • During that time a woman, unnamed in the journal, was pursuing Cass.
    • Jack was able to find out her name: Annabelle Trice. Her husband was Duncan Trice, a Kentucky banker, and a friend of Cass's.
    • (Jack found out Annabelle's name in an 1850s newspaper reporting on Duncan's death.
    • He had accidentally shot himself while cleaning his gun.)
    • Back to Annabelle and Cass. The two met when Duncan brought Cass home. Cass found her beautiful, and in the journal likened her to Venus.
    • A few years passed and Duncan and Cass grew closer. Duncan taught Cass to drink and gamble, but not to chase women. (Duncan was completely in love with Annabelle.)
    • One night, when Duncan left them alone for a few minutes, Annabelle put the moves on Cass, beneath some jasmine bushes. Annabelle informed Cass that she' basically his age: she's twenty-nine and he's twenty-two. Duncan came back before anything can happen.
    • Cass left soon after to work for his brother over the summer.
    • He was thinking about heading back to school, when one day he got a letter. In the envelope was a jasmine blossom, and a letter with the words, "Oh, Cass!"
    • Back in Lexington, Cass visited Annabelle one day when Duncan wasn't home.
    • Cass and Annabelle shook hands, and then looked at each other. Annabelle opened her mouth like she was about to moan, and then they fell into each other's arms. They held each other for a long time, until Annabelle looked up at Cass. She had been crying quietly. Cass wasn't sure exactly why she was crying, but the tears humanized her, and made Cass melt inside. She told him to kiss her, and he did. Then they "performed the act."
    • Soon after, Annabelle's husband Duncan came home. Cass didn't feel ashamed before him, but rather extremely jealous.
    • That year, Cass Mastern was a regular visitor at the Trice house, and he still caroused with Duncan.
    • Cass learned to relax about the situation and enjoyed his love affair with Annabelle, who didn't seem bothered by it at all. The two lovers pretty much had sex everywhere in the Trice house.
    • Jack Burden had gone to look at the house, and wandered around it imagining Cass and Annabelle there.
    • Then, on March 19, 1854, Duncan Trice shot himself.
    • Cass was at the funeral and helped carry the coffin, which felt empty and light. He couldn't quite believe Duncan was dead.
    • When the coffin was in the ground, Cass "felt a great relief" and wanted Annabelle badly as he watched her kneel in front of the gravesite.
    • Cass went to the Trice house that night, and found Annabelle in the summerhouse. He watched her, to see how she was taking Duncan's death.
    • He no longer felt the desire of that afternoon.
    • After a time he said her name, but she didn't respond, so he repeated it twice until she acknowledged him. He asked her what's going on, and she hints that she thought it was the ghost of Duncan Trice calling her name.
    • He kissed her cold lips.
    • She told him that if he hadn't come tonight she would have taken it as a sign that their love was doomed, and would have never seen him again.
    • She asked for his hand, and he gave it to her. Then she put a ring on his wedding ring finger, and when he asked, told him it was Duncan's wedding ring. Cass asked if she took it off his dead hand. Annabelle replied that it was Duncan who removed it, before he died.
    • The night of March 19, after Duncan's death, Annabelle was getting ready for bed.
    • Her servant, Phebe, (who is described as "yellow," meaning she has light skin) was turning down the bed. She found the ring under what used to be Duncan's pillow, and gave it to Annabelle, who noticed that Phebe's skin was the same gold color as the ring. Phebe Looked at Annabelle.
    • Then Annabelle knew that Phebe knew that Duncan had found out about the affair, removed the ring, and then shot himself.
    • Annabelle is horrified because she thinks Phebe will tell the other servants, and that they will all look at her and judge her while they wait on her. She says she can't let that happen, and then she runs off, leaving Cass with the ring on his finger.
    • Annabelle left with Phebe to see some friends out of town. One her return, Cass went to the Trice house and again found Annabelle in the summerhouse sitting in the dark.
    • She greeted him and told him she had gone "down the river to Paducah" after visiting her friends.
    • When Cass asked why, she accused him of interfering in her business and told him to stop.
    • Then she tells him that she sold Phebe "down the river" so she could never look at Annabelle again.
    • She got a good price for Phebe, and then she gave the money to a blind, old black man. Cass asked why she didn't just set Phebe free. Annabelle explains that Phebe wouldn't have left, that she would have stayed there looking at Annabelle. Phebe wouldn't have left because she was married to another slave of another family.
    • Cass said that if Annabelle had come to him, he would have helped her buy and free both Phebe and her husband.
    • Annabelle got mad and told him to stay out of her business.
    • Cass didn't stop though. He reminded Annabelle that she got so much money for Phebe because Phebe is good looking, and will be used as a sex slave.
    • Annabelle says she wishes Cass had shown this much care about her dead husband, Duncan Trice.
    • The injustice of everything welled up in Cass.
    • He wanted to do something good, and tried to asked Annabelle for the name of Phebe's new owner. Annabelle wouldn't say.
    • Cass told her he was going to find out, buy Phebe, and set her free.
    • Annabelle went frantic and scratched Cass's cheek with her nails. She told him it was over between them if he did it.
    • The next day Cass left on his mission. He tracked down Phebe's original buyer, but found out that Phebe had been sold yet again.
    • Cass decided to visit the Lewis C. Robards barracks. Robards was a big slave trader, and might know something.
    • Mr. Robarbs wasn't in, but the office boy told Cass to go next door where a Mr. Simms was displaying some slaves for purchase.
    • Cass went in and Simms was showing a young woman to a "Frenchman."
    • (The description of the showing is painful to read – see your book for more.)
    • When that was over, Cass described Phebe and asked if he's seen her.
    • Simms says he hasn't seen her, but will keep his eyes open.
    • He suggested that Cass might prefer a whiter slave, like the one he was just showing.
    • One of the men in the audience made a comment about Cass wanting to have sex with a "yeller" woman. Cass punched him in the mouth, and drew blood. The man stabbed Cass in the shoulder with a Bowie knife. Cass broke the man's arm, and then knocked him down, and went to where he was staying.
    • With Annabelle gone, and his stab wound infected, Cass wished he would die.
    • Cass didn't die, but instead went back to his plantation in Mississippi.
    • He spent two years praying, reading the Bible, and somehow managed to make lots of money.
    • He used it to pay back his brother. Cass then freed his own slaves and hired them back for a working wage.
    • Gilbert objected to this practice. He thought there would be problems if the black workers on one plantation were free, and the black workers on a neighboring plantation were slaves. Gilbert suggested that Cass send the freed slaves "out of this country."
    • Gilbert also advised Cass to go to school and make a career, or to preach, putting his Bible study to work. Alternatively, Cass could preach abolition.
    • Cass said he wasn't ready to teach anybody anything, but that he might be in the future.
    • Tragedy struck one day.
    • One of the black men that worked for Cass had a wife on another plantation.
    • The two ran away together. The man was shot, and his wife returned to the plantation.
    • Cass decided to send the black people he had freed away, as Gilbert had once suggested.
    • He knew nothing good was waiting for them, though they all thought he was doing them a big favor, and were grateful.
    • Cass realized that he let the black people go for the same reason Annabelle sold Phebe, because he couldn't "bear their eyes upon them."
    • Cass elaborated on what he meant. In his journal, he wrote a story he had heard.
    • A Kentucky lawyer marries a wealthy woman from Boston.
    • She had been raised to believe that slavery was wrong, and had never been around black people. Yet, she abused the slaves at her husband's house horribly.
    • So horribly that "all persons of the community" told her to stop.
    • One day she was whipping a slave in a room on the second floor of her house, a little black boy came in and "began to whimper."
    • She threw him out the window, breaking his back.
    • Her husband had her committed, but the doctors said she wasn't crazy.
    • When her husband died, he didn't leave her any slaves, but she got some on her own.
    • She chained up one gentle man, and was beating him, but he broke free and choked her and then was hanged for the killing.
    • Cass never understood why until he sent his freed slaves away.
    • In some twisted way, the woman abused slaves because she knew slavery was evil. She couldn't stand having them look at her, and got angry when they did.
    • (Don't worry if you're confused by this strange story. Cass is essentially saying that slavery is so awful that it warps everything with which it comes into contact.)
    • Once his own slaves are sent away, Cass decided to study law. Gilbert asked if he could run Cass's plantation, but Cass refused.
    • To keep his land from being worked by slaves, he refused to sell it or work it.
    • Meanwhile, Civil War threatens to erupt. "On January 9, 1861 Mississippi passed the order of succession."
    • Gilbert became a colonel in the cavalry regiment, while Cass joined the Mississippi Rifles. This way, Cass could march with the soldiers, but wouldn't be forced to kill other men. He wore the ring of Duncan Trice on a chain around his neck.
    • Eventually Cass was shot in the leg, and died in an Atlanta hospital. Atlanta fell as he was dying, so his grave was never marked.
    • A man from the hospital saved the ring and the papers and sent them to Gilbert, and they eventually came to Jack Burden.
    • Jack studies this history for about a year and a half. He thought he "knew" Gilbert, but he never quite "knew" Cass. To get his Ph.D., he wasn't required to know the man, only his "world." But without understanding Cass, Jack didn't think he could understand his world.
    • Jack didn't know why he couldn't understand Cass. Maybe it's because he could never understand how trapped Cass was in the time he lived. Or, maybe he was afraid to understand Cass, such understanding might lead to self-criticism.
    • Whatever the reason, Jack put Cass away and started "one of the periods of the Great Sleep."
    • During this time he only got out of bed so he would have the pleasure of returning to it later.
    • Eventually, Jack walked away from Cass, and his life as a PhD student.
    • Later, the landlady sent him the papers, and since then, he carries that unopened package with him wherever he goes.
  • Chapter 5

    • Jack tells us that that's how his first "job of historical research ended in failure.
    • Now he's going to tell us about the second job, which was quite successful. (Remember that the second job is to dig up dirt on Judge Irwin.)
    • Jack calls this "the Case of the Upright Judge." The only problem with this journey into the past was that it "meant something."
    • That night after Jack and Willie visited Judge Irwin, they return to the Stark farm.
    • Jack goes to bed around 3:30 am, but can't sleep right away because he's thinking about Irwin.
    • The next day Jack begins looking. He does find the dirt, but he finds it slowly.
    • First Jack thinks about the reasons people get into trouble: "Ambition, love, fear, money."
    • He rules out ambition, then love, then fear, and settles on money, thinking there might have been a time when the Judge didn't have enough of it to "make him happy."
    • He remembers seeing his father, Ellis Burden, and the Judge talking one day. He also remembers that they stopped talking when they saw Jack. Jack tries to recall their conversation but can't.
    • So he goes to visit his father, who had been best friends with the Judge for a long time, before he moved.
    • Ellis now lives above a Mexican restaurant.
    • Jack can see the religious signs tied to the third floor balcony, and he knows Ellis still lives there.
    • He goes into the restaurant to buy a pack of cigarettes, and learns that his dad is not home.
    • The people who run the restaurant seem to think his dad is a saint. Jack tells them that his dad is also crazy.
    • Soon the old man himself arrives.
    • He greets the people in the restaurant. They point to Jack and say he's waiting.
    • His father doesn't recognize him. Jack says he wants to go with him, though, and his father gives Jack his hand.
    • As they move to leave, one of the men in the bar gives Ellis a bag of old bread.
    • Jack asks Ellis if he plans to feed pigeons with that bread. Jack says the bread is for someone named George, who is an "unfortunate."
    • "Unfortunate" apparently means bum who is lucky enough to have a softhearted person like Ellis help.
    • Ellis tells Jack that George uses the bread in his work.
    • When the enter Ellis's apartment, George tells Ellis he's out of bread.
    • When Ellis gives George the bread, George starts chewing pieces of it and spitting them out. He makes angels out of this chewed up bread.
    • Ellis points Jack to one of the finished products, and then starts warming some soup and tells Jack the story of George.
    • George and his wife were in the circus together, and George's wife was killed. After that, George became mentally ill.
    • At the end of the story Jack and Ellis notice that George is crying.
    • Ellis calls himself "stupid" for telling the story in front of the Judge. Then he tries to comfort George with soup but it doesn't help. Finally, Ellis busts out a chocolate bar and begins feeding it to George. This works.
    • Jack is hit by a memory of his dad feeding him chocolate in a similar way when he was a kid. Watching his father and having his memory softens something in Jack and he says, "Father." Ellis asks him what he said, but Jack knows that he's no longer a child and he says, "Oh, nothing."
    • Then he asks Ellis to tell him about the Judge, and about whether he was ever broke.
    • Ellis says, "That time is dead," refused to discuss the matter, even though Jack pushes him extremely hard.
    • Still, Ellis's reaction convinces Jack that there is something to be known, and someone besides Ellis who knows it.
    • Jack then goes to a football game where Tom Stark has just lead his team to victory.
    • Willie was ecstatic, and they all go to the Boss's hotel.
    • Now we leave Willie and go to the Stanton house in Burden's Landing.
    • Jack is there in the living room watching Anne light the fire, just as she had as a girl, long ago.
    • Anne has invited Jack up for the weekend to hang out with her and Adam.
    • Anne and Jack are laughing and holding hands, just as they had done fifteen and twenty years ago.
    • All of the sudden Anne stops laughing, and the connection is broken.
    • So Jack asks her if Judge Irwin ever needed money, hoping that by asking the question fast, Anne will let something spill. She doesn't though, and instead asks Jack why he wants to know. He tells her it's Willie that wants to know, not him.
    • Anne asks Jack why he has to ruin things. She says she and Jack had great times in the past, and wants to know why he has to spoil their reunion.
    • He asks her why she didn't marry him if they had such a wonderful time in those days. And why things are so bad now if they were so good before.
    • She tells him to stop talking and soon brings up Willie, calling him "that man."
    • Jack brings up the new hospital.
    • Anne says she knows about it because she had lunch with Willie just the other day. She did it to ask him for money for the "Children's Home," where she is a volunteer .
    • Apparently Willie agreed to give her the money.
    • Jack insinuates that if people see Anne and Willie together, they will think she's sleeping with him.
    • They go on arguing like this for some time until Anne puts her head on Jack's chest, and while he pats her back, tells him he has "to be her friend." He agrees.
    • Then Adam arrives, smiling and with packages.
    • Quickly, Jack asks him if Judge Irwin was ever in need of money.
    • Adam immediately says, "Yes," and speaks of a memory of overhearing adults talking about it in 1913 or 1914.
    • Anne tattles to Adam that the info is for Willie, but Adam says it couldn't possibly matter if Willie knows that the Judge was broke way back then.
    • Then he breaks the tension by playfully ordering Anne to start cooking.
    • The three friends have lots of fun that night, eating and drinking. Adam plays the piano and Anne and Jack dance and play.
    • The next day, Jack goes back to the Capitol and listens to Tiny and Sadie discuss the hospital the Boss wants to build.
    • Soon, Anne calls him laughing. She tells him that "old Cousin Mathilde" told her that the Judge was indeed broke back then, but that he "married money" and got out of it.
    • Jack remembers that the Judge had been married twice.
    • The first wife had fallen off a horse, and had died when Jack was still a child.
    • He barely remembers the second wife, though he thinks she wasn't pretty, and that she wasn't from around here. She had gotten sick, and lived upstairs in the Irwin house, forgotten by the world, and eventually died.
    • This second wife was apparently wealthy. This, Jack thinks, explains why the Judge would marry her even though she wasn't pretty.
    • So, according to Anne, that settles the matter.
    • But Jack wasn't sure. He decided that he should continue digging.
    • Jack thinks that if the Judge needed a big chunk of change, he would have borrowed on his plantation.
    • Jack drives out to the Mortonville Courthouse, where the records of such transactions are kept.
    • Sure enough, in 1907 the Judge had borrowed forty two thousand dollars on his plantation.
    • It was due to be repaid on January 1, 1910. He paid some of it back, and refinanced the mortgage, but in March 1914, the bank was foreclosing.
    • Somehow, the Judge paid everything back by May 1914, and never mortgaged it again.
    • Now Jack needs to find out about the wife.
    • He looks in the society pages of old newspapers in the library. Her name was Mabel Carruthers from Savannah Georgia. She was Le Moyne Carruthers's only child.
    • She married the Judge in January 1914.
    • Jack visits Le Moyne's old house. As the record of his will indicated, Le Moyne was rich when he died in 1903, and left Mabel a hefty inheritance.
    • She managed her funds just fine until 1911. But in 1911 she began spending extravagantly.
    • Jack travels to a Savannah bank to find out about a small loan on which Mabel had defaulted.
    • He learns that she was already broke and deep in debt when the Judge married her.
    • Jack imagines that the Judge had married her for her money (for she'd had the means to make herself look rich) but soon found out the truth.
    • So…how had the Judge paid off the mortgage on his plantation.
    • Jack knows that in 1915 the Judge gave up his job of Attorney General.
    • He went to work as the lawyer for the American Electric Power Company. This was a high paying job, but it hadn't come in time to pay off that money.
    • But Jack has a hunch.
    • To get access to the Power Company's records, Jack buys a little bit of their stock.
    • He learns that in May of 1914 Judge Irwin sold stock in this company to some officials of the company. This sale would have earned the Judge enough to pay off his loan, and, the dates fit.
    • So, the question is, where did the Judge get the stock in the first place?
    • Jack suspects that as Attorney General, the Judge had done the Power Company some favors, and got the stock in exchange.
    • This theory doesn't pan out – the Company didn't have any legal issues then.
    • It turns out there was another company involved, the Southern Belle Fuel Company.
    • The Fuel Company had operated on State land, and the State was suing the Fuel Company for royalties.
    • The contract between the State and the Fuel Company wasn't clear.
    • In February 1914 the Attorney General (Judge Irwin) had decided that the contract was so unclear that the State couldn't win against the Fuel Company.
    • Now Jack has to connect The Power Company and the Fuel Company.
    • One night as he's falling asleep a name pops into his head: Mortimer L. Littlepaugh. This name isn't as random as it seems: when Jack was digging through old newspapers he had seen the name.
    • There was an article reporting that Littlepaugh's death had been accidental.
    • Jack looks it up and learns that Mortimer had "fallen" from a fifth story window of a hotel. His sister said he had been sick, and had fallen from dizziness.
    • Two things don't sit right with Jack. First of all, when Mortimer died his finances were a big mess. Secondly, the railing was high. Not to mention the fact that there was talk he had jumped.
    • A bellhop reported that Mortimer had sent a letter to his sister the evening of his death, but his sister says she never got a letter.
    • Jack learns that Mortimer also happened to be the lawyer for American Electric.
    • He manages to locate Mortimer's sister, Miss Lily Mae Littlepaugh, who lives in a nasty smelling room.
    • She's old an a little out of it, and apparently can communicate with the dead.
    • Jack is visiting her on the pretext of having her lead a séance for him.
    • In the middle of it, he tells her he wants to talk to Mortimer.
    • She says that "the vibrations are bad."
    • Jack says he wants to ask Mortimer about his suicide.
    • Miss Lily goes silent. Then she is furious and she accuses Jack of lying to her.
    • Jack says he wasn't lying; he really wants to ask Mortimer why he killed himself.
    • She says that Mortimer didn't kill himself.
    • So Jack gives her three hundred dollars. He tells her nobody will blame her now for lying back then.
    • She insists it was an accident.
    • Jack tells her his guess: Judge Irwin got the job with the Power Company by doing that favor for the Fuel Company (saving them millions of dollars).
    • Mortimer knew what was going on and said so, but didn't have proof. So he lost his job. He even complained to Governor Stanton about the matter, but the Governor didn't listen, and didn't look into it.
    • Jack is shocked, and grabs the old woman roughly and asks if she's telling the truth.
    • She says it is true, and that she has that final letter from her brother to prove it.
    • Jack wants to see the letter, and offers her another three hundred.
    • She is reluctant. She thinks Jack wants to get rid of the letter to bury the truth.
    • He promises he will only use the letter against Irwin, and that the insurance company won't bother her either.
    • She says that after her brother's death she too went to Governor Stanton and demanded justice, showing him her brother's letter.
    • Stanton told her she had sworn that she didn't get the letter, and if she changed her story, she'd be prosecuted for lying under oath.
    • So she dropped her case.
    • Jack tells her that he will protect her now.
    • She gives him the letter, which proves what Jack suspected, and what Miss Lily had just confirmed.
    • In the postscript Mortimer tells his sister to make sure the insurance company doesn't find out he killed himself.
    • Otherwise, she won't be able to collect the little bit of money left on his policy.
    • Jack tells Miss Lily that he's going to make a copy of the letter and bring her back the original.
    • He also wants her to go with him so she can make a sworn statement about her conversation with Stanton.
    • And now he has it. The dirt on Irwin that Willie wanted.
  • Chapter 6

    • Jack's visit to Miss Lily was in March 1937. It had taken him almost seven months.
    • Lots of stuff has happened during that time.
    • Tom Stark, a sophomore in college, wrecks his expensive car.
    • A cop finds the wreck, recognizes Tom as the Governor's son, and tosses the booze bottle into the swamp.
    • A girl, Caresse Jones, is in the car. She's badly hurt, but doesn't die.
    • Her father threatens to make a stink, but is silenced with the usual threats from the Willie administration.
    • Tom is not injured in the wreck, but is hospitalized.
    • In the hospital Lucy begs Willie to do something to tame Tom. Willie thinks she's wants Tom to be a "sissy." He tells her he wants Tom to enjoy life the way Willie wasn't able to when he was his age.
    • They continue arguing, but Jack, who was listening at the door, wanders off and doesn't hear the rest.
    • Also during this time, Anne Stanton is very happy because she's managed to get lots of "state money" for the Children's Home.
    • Meanwhile, Tiny Duffy is trying to persuade the Boss to give someone named Gummy Larson the contract to build the hospital.
    • The Boss ignores him, but is himself obsessed with the hospital project.
    • Tiny persists and even tries to sneak Gummy in to see Willie. Willie responds by getting extremely upset and humiliating both men.
    • When Jack asks Willie what the big deal is, he says he doesn't want anyone else trying to run his show. He announces that he will call the new hospital Willie Stark Hospital.
    • Willie wants Jack to convince Adam Stanton to be his hospital director.
    • Jack tells Willie he knows Adam quite well; Adam despises Willie.
    • Willie tells him it doesn't matter if Adam likes him or not – he wants him.
    • Jack goes to visit Adam and puts Willie's proposal to him.
    • Adam immediately declines. Jack tells him to think about it. But Adam says there's no need.
    • Jack says that Willie knows Adam can't be bribed, threatened, or flattered into it. Willie knows Adam is an honest doctor who wants to do good. This is precisely why Willie thinks Adam will accept because; he will be able to do a huge amount of good as the director of the hospital.
    • Eventually Jack leaves, a bit hot under the collar.
    • Jack stands outside the building for some time, thinking about Adam.
    • When he hears Adam start playing the piano he leaves for Memphis where he visits Miss Lilly (see Chapter Five to refresh on this trip) and learns about Judge Irwin and Governor Stanton.
    • When he gets back from that trip he finds he has a message from Anne Stanton.
    • He calls her and they plan to meet at Slade's place.
    • Jack arrives first and has a drink with Slade. When Anne shows up, Jack thinks about how beautiful she is, and then teases her, telling Slade they are getting married.
    • They have a drink and then Anne says she wants to take a walk with Jack.
    • They walk for hours until they come to the river.
    • Finally Anne begins to talk.
    • First Jack thinks she's angry because he went to Adam about the position of hospital director. However, he soon realizes she wants Jack to convince Adam to take the job.
    • When he asks why, she tells him it's because she went to visit Adam and is convinced he needs to take the job. She wasn't sure he should take it until she saw him.
    • Apparently she and Adam had a bad fight about the matter.
    • Though Anne tried to convince him the job would be good , he wouldn't listen. He believes anything connected to Willie had to be dirty.
    • Jack explains the reason Adam won't do it.
    • He thinks that Adam's father and grandfather had principles, and would never involve themselves with anything even slightly corrupt. In order to change his mind on the job, Adam would have to be shown that history doesn't work this way.
    • Jack asks Anne if she would "do anything" to make Adam take the job.
    • She says she would.
    • Jack looks at her, thinking she's beautiful.
    • She touches his arm.
    • He tells her he can make Adam take the job, but that Anne won't like the way he's going to have to do it. When she asks how he'll do it, he says he'll give Adam a "history lesson."
    • She wants to know what he means.
    • Jack explains that both Irwin and her father were involved in some corrupt business and he has the documents to prove it.
    • She says he's lying, and accuses him of making up trash to help Willie. She leaves
    • Jack chases her but is stopped by a policeman. He tells the cop that Anne is hysterical because she got some bad news, and that he's trying to get her home.
    • The cop threatens to arrest him, and so he mouths off to the cop.
    • When the cop starts messing with him, Jack asks him if he's heard of Willie Stark and Jack Burden.
    • After the cop says he has, Jack gives the cop his card.
    • The cop apologizes, and Jack tells him to call them a cab.
    • In the cab, Jack apologizes to Anne, but she's mad, and she kicks him out of the cab.
    • Just under a week later Anne calls Jack and asks to see the papers he mentioned.
    • He says he'll have copies made and sent to her.
    • After almost a week goes by, Jack finds her waiting next to his hotel room door.
    • She repeatedly tells Jack that reading those papers "was awful."
    • Apparently, she showed them to Adam, and now Adam has forgotten their dead father's love, and turned against him. After three days Adam gave the papers back to Anne and told her to tell Jack he'd take the job at the hospital.
    • Before Anne leaves she asks Jack to show Judge Irwin the papers before he shows them to Willie.
    • If the Judge can change his position in time, the papers won't have to be made public.
    • Jack says he'll do it.
    • One night, not too long after, the Boss, Sugar-Boy and Jack are on their way to see Adam at home.
    • Willie is friendly, but Adam is cold. He tells Willie that he won't stand for anyone to "interfere" with him in his position as hospital director.
    • Willie says he might "fire" Adam, but he'll never interfere.
    • Adam tells Willie that even though he's taking the job, he doesn't now, and won't ever endorse Willie or his administration.
    • Willie tells Adam he doesn't understand politics. He tells Adam the story of Hugh Miller, his ex-attorney general.
    • Hugh, according to Willie, is like a man who loves steak but judges the men who slaughter animals. He wants the good things, but doesn't want to see the ugly side that always goes with it.
    • The world is bad, and you have to make good out of bad.
    • Adam asks how you can know what's good if you have to make the good from the bad.
    • Willie says, "You just make it up as you go along."
    • They have a fairly long discussion about this idea.
    • Finally, Adam gets frustrated with Willie's philosophizing and tells Willie to can it.
    • Willie says he just wanted them to get to know each other a little.
    • The conversation ends with Willie telling Adam he can meet with the architects, and revise any of their plans. Adam can also begin choosing the people he wants to work under him.
    • On the street the Boss tells Jack and Sugar-Boy to go on without him. He needs to walk.
    • As they drive off, Jack hears Adam playing the piano.
    • In the car Jack wonders if Willie believes what he told Adam about good and bad. He also wonders how Anne knew that Adam had been offered the position. He knows he didn't tell her.
    • The next day he visits Adam and asks Anne if he told her.
    • Adam says he did not.
    • Soon, Jack finds out the truth.
    • It's a gorgeous day in mid-May. Jack sits on his desk in the Capitol building watching the beauty from his window.
    • He hears loud noises and then Sadie Burke is in his office, angry about something.
    • Jack hasn't seen her like this since the episode with the exotic ice skater.
    • Sadie says Willie has "done it again." Willie, she says, is once again "two-timing" her.
    • Jack reminds her that only Lucy can be two-timed.
    • Sadie accuses him of sticking up for his fancy friends. But Jack doesn't know what she means.
    • She starts hinting things about Anne Stanton.
    • Jack tries to ask her if she's saying Willie and Anne are having an affair, but he can't say the words.
    • Sadie supplies the words for him, confirming that Willie and Anne are having an affair.
    • Suddenly Jack feels extremely sad for Sadie.
    • Stunned, he somehow manages to walk out of his office and the building.
    • Outside, everything looks huge to him.
    • He walks to Anne Stanton's house. She opens the door.
    • He doesn't say anything, but Anne nods, confirming what Sadie told him.
  • Chapter 7

    • 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.
  • Chapter 8

    • After the bed in Long Beach, Jack gets up refreshed, and drives into the light, back the way he came.
    • Jack feels that he gained powerful, "secret knowledge."
    • He used to "envy" people with secret knowledge," but now he doesn't have to, because he has it too.
    • In New Mexico he meets an elderly man, who happens to have a "twitch" under his left eye.
    • Jack gives the man a ride, and learns he's also coming from California, headed home to Arkansas.
    • He gets out in Shreveport, Louisiana.
    • Jack thinks the man must have "learned the truth in California." The man's twitch is the evidence.
    • Jack obsesses over what he's learned. He feels "clean and free," and "at one with the Great Twitch."
    • (See Jack's "Character Analysis" for a discussion of this – we know it sounds weird.)
    • Late that night Jack gets home, and goes to bed.
    • In the morning he pays a visit to the Boss, and tells him he took a little vacation.
    • They make small talk, but now that Jack has his secret knowledge, he can't relate to people who don't have it – people like Willie.
    • It's June and Jack goes about his usual business.
    • He sees Adam a few times.
    • Adam is consumed with his work, as usual.
    • One night Adam says he's doing an operation in the morning.
    • Jack asks him about the patient.
    • Adam says that the man has "catatonic schizophrenia," and plans to give the man a prefrontal lobectomy.
    • (For more on this controversial topic, see our "Lobotomy" discussion in Adam's "Character Analysis.")
    • Adam explains that by removing a certain part of the brain, the man, if he lives, will have a "different personality."
    • Jack asks if he can watch the operation, and Adam says yes.
    • Jack watches it. It's pretty rough, involving drilling holes in the skull and "burning" the part of the brain they thought was malfunctioning.
    • The smell of burning brain reminds Jack of the smell of horses burning in a barn that had caught on fire when he was a child.
    • After that, Jack and Adam didn't meet for a while, because Adam was out of town.
    • When Adam returned, he had dinner with Anne, and they went to his apartment afterwards. They are interrupted by a man named Hubert Coffee.
    • Thinking Coffee is a patient, Anne goes to the kitchen.
    • She soon hears Adam yelling at the man to leave immediately. Coffee had tried to bribe Adam into choosing Gummy Larson to build the hospital.
    • Adam had punched him and now wants to resign from his position as hospital director.
    • When Anne gets home, she calls Jack and they meet.
    • She tells him she wants him to stop Adam from resigning.
    • He says he'll get Willie to fire Coffee.
    • Anne offers to testify. Jack tells her he thinks this is a bad idea.
    • If she testifies, Coffee's lawyer will dig up the dirt on her and Willie, and their affair will be made public.
    • Anne says she doesn't care.
    • This angers Jack, and he reminds her that Adam will be there in court looking at her when the affair is revealed.
    • She goes pale, and looks desperate.
    • Jack asks her why she started sleeping with Willie.
    • She says he's different from any man she's known, and that she loves him and he loves her. Willie has proposed to her.
    • She wants to marry him, but later, at a time when a divorce won't hurt him politically.
    • Anne says Jack doesn't know Willie, and she says she's "not sorry […] for anything that's happened."
    • After leaving Anne's, Jack calls Willie and gives him the lowdown.
    • Willie agrees to Jack's suggestion to arrest Coffee, and in the morning Jack goes to Adam's.
    • Jack doesn't want to have Coffee arrested, because this could start a war.
    • First he has to convince Adam to prosecute. Then he has to hint that justice could be better served another way, and let Adam decide not to prosecute.
    • This way, nobody gets hurt, but Adam will feel like he and the Boss are fighting corruption together.
    • As Jack and Adam leave Adam's place, Jack sees the letter of resignation that Adam had written.
    • He grabs it, and tells Adam he won't need it now, and then tears it into pieces.
    • Then Jack rides to Adam's office with him, and hangs out with him as long as possible.
    • He wants to watch him, and make sure he doesn't get any ideas.
    • The summer continues, and Jack does his usual thing, and sees the usual people, like Sadie and the Boss.
    • He doesn't see Anne or Adam for a good while.
    • He also doesn't see Lucy for a good while, but the Boss does.
    • He and Tom would go out to the chicken farm where Lucy was living and have photos made.
    • It was common knowledge that the Boss had women on the side.
    • So, seeing that the Boss could do that, and still hang on to Lucy impressed the voters.
    • They themselves "wanted both Mom's gingerbread, and the black-lace negligee."
    • (Women weren't allowed to vote in the US until 1920 – this is some seventeen years later, but it's obvious Jack is talking about male voters.)
    • Anyhow, these voters could deal with extramarital affairs, but not with divorce. Divorce would have scared them, and disrupted their own sense of well-being.
    • Jack notes that while many of the Boss's mistresses were household names in the state, nobody knew about Anne except for him, Sadie, and probably Sugar-Boy.
    • Jack says that both Sugar-Boy and Sadie are "dependable," meaning they are completely loyal to the Boss.
    • Sadie and the Boss keep up both their affair, and their fighting.
    • We learn of a new intrigue involving Tom Stark.
    • MacMurfee has learned of a man named Marvin Frey, who has a daughter named Sibyl.
    • Sibyl is pregnant and says Tom is the father.
    • Marvin comes to the Boss and voices his accusation.
    • The Boss tells Jack to go find Tom.
    • It takes Jack all day, but he finds him at a fishing lodge with friends. Tom is brought to his father.
    • Jack waits outside until Tom comes out, slamming the door behind him.
    • Willie tells Jack that Tom first said he didn't even know Sibyl.
    • But then admitted that he had slept with her, but so had lots of other guys. Tom didn't think he was the father.
    • Jack is sent to investigate Marvin.
    • Marvin is just an average guy, a barber, and a widower with two daughters.
    • It wouldn't have gone any further, but MacMurfee hears about it, and sends a guy to talk to Willie about it.
    • MacMurfee wants Willie to endorse him for the Senate and shove some cash Sibyl's way.
    • In exchange, MacMurfee will make Frey, who is in his district, calm down and forget the matter.
    • But, as Jack had learned from Anne, the Boss has his eyes on the Senate.
    • But Willie isn't going to play that game. He knows that if MacMurfee and Frey weren't doubtful of their own position, they wouldn't have come to him. Instead, they would have done a surprise attack.
    • In the meantime, Lucy writes Jack, asking him to come visit her on the chicken ranch to talk about Tom.
    • Jack goes – he had decided long ago that if Lucy ever asked him to do something, he would do it.
    • Out at her place, Lucy leads Jack into the parlor.
    • W get a brief description of Lucy. Her hair has recovered from the bad haircut she had when Jack first met her. She still has a good body, and the kind of face you put on a box of cake mix.
    • Lucy gets right to the point – she thinks something is wrong with Tom.
    • She asks Jack to tell her "the truth."
    • So he tells her about Marvin Frey and his daughter Sybil.
    • Lucy says that Tom must marry Sibyl.
    • Jack explains awkwardly that there are other fellows involved. He continues, explaining (less awkwardly) the political side, and MacMurfee's offer.
    • Lucy, upset, says she's tried to love and do right by her son and her husband. She tells Jack that she thinks they love her. This is her only hope, and she has to believe it.
    • The conversation continues this way for a little longer, and then Jack tries to comfort Lucy saying, "It will be all right."
    • Lucy brings up the baby. She tells him the baby is innocent and might be her flesh and blood.
    • As a parting comment, she says she would love the baby if she got the chance.
    • Now Jack works to get Tom (and Willie) out of this mess. The Boss's first plan was to deal directly with Frey.
    • But, MacMurfee anticipates this and gets Sibyl and her dad out of town.
    • MacMurfee sends "one of his boys" to watch them.
    • This guy makes sure that neither Sibyl not her father have unsupervised contact with the outside world.
    • Jack and the Boss try to find out where they are, but are unsuccessful until much later.
    • So, the Boss's plan B is Judge Irwin.
    • The Judge can make MacMurfee do whatever he wants.
    • The Boss calls in Jack and asks if he found the dirt on Irwin.
    • Jack says he did, but that he promised a couple of people he'd show it to Irwin first, giving him a chance to prove his innocence.
    • The Boss wants to know which two people.
    • Jack says he promised himself, and doesn't tell him who the other person (Anne) is.
    • Willie gives his OK, then tells Jack that if the dirt on Irwin is real, he better use it correctly.
    • Jack says he won't "frame" Irwin.
    • Willie says he doesn't want anyone framed. He's never had to ask Jack to frame anyone, because "the truth" is always good enough.
    • Jack accuses Willie of cynicism.
    • In reply, Willie says he learned to think that way in Presbyterian Sunday school.
    • Jack leaves and heads out to Burden's Landing.
    • After breakfast the next morning in his mom's house, Jack takes a walk on the beach.
    • He finds a spot and reads the entire newspaper.
    • A boy and a girl appear on the nearby tennis court, and begin to play.
    • Jack is sad that it isn't he and Anne out there.
    • Suddenly, Jack wants be mean to the boy and girl. He wants to go over and make them stop playing, and warn them about the future. But he knows they wouldn't understand.
    • Jack begins to doubts the Great Twitch theory, but then he knows it's true.
    • Jack goes back home, has a swim, and then has lunch with his mother.
    • He asks his mom, if Judge Irwin is around, and learns that he is.
    • Jack rests for about an hour, and when he comes down from his room, his mother calls to him.
    • She asks if he wants to see Irwin about a political thing.
    • Jack says yes.
    • His mother suggests he see the Judge at a better time.
    • Jack tells her that there is no good time for what he has to tell Irwin.
    • She begs him, saying the Judge is ill.
    • Jack says he has to do it, and walks over to the Judge's.
    • When he arrives, the Judge's black servant tells him the Judge is taking a nap.
    • He says he'll wait, and barges in, headed for the library.
    • In the library, Jack chills out, and soon the Judge arrives. He asks Jack why he didn't make his servant wake him.
    • It's been a long time since he's seen Jack.
    • Jack knows that the last time was when he came with the Boss and Sugar-Boy in the middle of the night.
    • The Judge is very happy to see him, and offers him a drink. Jack declines.
    • The Judge tries to get Jack to drink. But Jack is firm.
    • So the Judge doesn't drink either.
    • Jack hopes the dirt on the Judge is untrue.
    • For a moment he thinks of having that drink after all, and just leaving.
    • He thinks of telling the Boss that there is no truth to what he's found.
    • But something in him needs to know.
    • Jack he genuinely likes him, but still needs to know the truth.
    • He brings up Willie.
    • The Judge say he doesn't "approve" of him, but does "respect him."
    • He admits he was worried about Willie's political power.
    • Jack asks if that's why he was supporting MacMurfee.
    • The Judge says politics is messy and that only with time can we know who is wrong and who is right.
    • He hopes he and Jack can be friends and put politics aside.
    • Jack tells the Judge that since he thinks Willie way of doing things is so bad, he wants to tell him about MacMurfee's way of doing things.
    • He gives him the rundown on the whole Sybil situation.
    • The Judge doesn't like this.
    • Jack tells Judge Irwin that he can easily stop MacMurfee, since the Judge is one of his few friends.
    • Things will go badly for MacMurfee is he keeps pushing this issue, Jack explains, bringing up Sibyl's sexual history.
    • Flatly, Judge Irwin says "No."
    • Trying to persuade him, Jack tells him they will give Sibyl a good deal, even though they will have some evidence in reserve in case she ever tries to come after Tom again.
    • Judge Irwin explains that he isn't concerned about Sibyl, he just doesn't think it's his place to butt into MacMurfee's business.
    • Really begging, Jack asks the Judge to think about it, and decide tomorrow.
    • The Judge says he doesn't need to think about it.
    • His voice quiet, Jack tells the Judge that he tried, that he begged him, and then asks him if he has ever heard of Mortimer L. Littlepaugh.
    • Judge Irwin says no, and Jack can tell he's telling the truth.
    • So Jack asks if he remembers American Electric Power Company.
    • Of course, says the Judge. He was the Power Company's lawyer for some ten years.
    • Jack asks the Judge if he recalls how he got the job.
    • Judge Irwin's memory is jolted. Jack gives him one more chance, before picking up the envelope containing the dirt, and putting it near the Judge.
    • After examining the papers, the Judge can't believe he forgot Littlepaugh's name.
    • He tells Jack that there are days when he doesn't remember any of that stuff at all, like it had happened to another person.
    • It's hard for him to believe it happened to him.
    • Jack tells him it's hard for him to believe, too, and the Judge thanks him for not believing.
    • Now Irwin tells Jack that all this would be worthless in a court of law.
    • Jack says he knows, but reminds the Judge that people have less strict standards than courts do.
    • This would damage the Judge in the eyes of the people.
    • Irwin asks if Willie knows yet, and Jack says no.
    • If the Judge will go ahead and lean on MacMurfee, Jack won't have to tell Willie.
    • Irwin says he can think of other ways to stop Jack, and Jack thinks he might be about to get shot.
    • Laughing the Judge says he wouldn't need a weapon. He could just tell him something, but he won't.
    • Jack wants to know what, but the Judge won't say.
    • So Jack repeats that he'll be back the next day to have the Judge's final decision.
    • Once again the Judge says he won't change his mind.
    • Not saying good-bye, Jack heads leaves.
    • Calling after him, the Judge tells Jack that he did learn something from the papers Jack showed him.
    • He learned that Governor Stanton cared about him so much he gave up his honor to protect him. He wants Jack to understand that.
    • Jack leaves and goes walking back home. He considers going back to Willie and telling him that the Judge wouldn't play ball.
    • Jack decides to wait another day, and goes home to get to sleep.
    • Suddenly, he is awakened by a scream. Then another one comes.
    • After racing to his mother's room, he finds her there, holding the phone.
    • When she sees Jack she screams, "You killed him!"
    • As she is laughing hysterically, Jack demands to know who he killed.
    • She says he killed his father.
    • And that's how Jack learns that Judge Irwin was his father.
    • The Judge's death has pushed Mrs. Murrell over the edge.
    • She babbles about how she loved the Judge, and about how he was Jack's father, and that Jack had killed him.
    • Dr. Bland is on the scene and he gives her a shot of something to sedate her.
    • The doctor orders Jack to stay with his mother until a nurse comes, and not to let anyone see her until he says it's OK.
    • Jack asks the doctor if the Judge had a stroke, and the doctor says no.
    • Judge Irwin shot himself that very afternoon.
    • According to the doctor the Judge shot himself because he was in bad health.
    • The doctor leaves, but Jack runs after him, asking if the Judge shot himself in the head.
    • Nope – he shot himself in the heart.
    • Jack goes back to his mother's room and holds her hand.
    • While he's holding it he wonders why his mother and the Judge never got married, but stops wondering when he sees the question is pointless.
    • Jack realizes his mother really loved the Judge.
    • Before this day he was sure she never really loved any man.
    • Knowing she had loved someone made Jack love her too.
    • A couple of days later Judge Irwin's funeral is held. It's an open casket service.
    • At the funeral, Jack thinks about Mortimer Littlepaugh and the Judge.
    • He thinks that the Judge killed Littlepaugh, and then Littlepaugh killed the Judge.
    • Or maybe it was Jack who killed the Judge, he thinks.
    • After the funeral Jack leaves, now used to the idea that the Judge was his father.
    • He's actually relieved that the Scholarly Attorney is not his father, that he wouldn't be prone to the man's weakness through heredity.
    • The Scholarly Attorney had been a good man, but he had let another man take his wife and make her pregnant.
    • Judge Irwin had not been a good man, but he had been a good Judge.
    • Jack admires the pride that kept the Judge from revealing that he was Jack's father to keep Jack from using the dirt.
    • Soon after Jack gets back in town he gets a call from the executor of the Judge's will.
    • Jack has inherited everything from the Judge.
    • Pondering the irony that this very fortune had been saved by the Judge's betrayal of Littlepaugh, and that Jack had punished him for the crime, Jack bursts out laughing.
    • But then he realizes that he's not laughing, but crying, crying for his poor, dead father.
  • Chapter 9

    • As you might expect, Jack is a bundle of nerves from the shock.
    • After he gets used to everything that has happened, he feels like he's finally gotten to the end of the story.
    • But, the story isn't over yet.
    • The Judge Irwin story is just one chapter in the story of the Boss.
    • And the Boss' story is just one chapter in some humongous other story.
    • Speaking of the Boss, he actually kids Jack about the Judge Irwin situation.
    • Jack quickly establishes that he doesn't want to talk about it.
    • The Boss apologizes, and changes the subject to MacMurfee. He still needs to deal with the Tom situation.
    • Jack says he's out of that deal.
    • The Boss asks if Jack is leaving him, and Jack says he isn't.
    • Not being able to help himself, Willie asks, in a round about way, if the Judge did commit suicide. Jack says he did.
    • Jack thinks of Tom playing football on Saturday nights, the crowd screaming his name.
    • But Tom is getting to Willie, and Willie is in a foul mood, as any member of his staff will tell you.
    • Yet, on game nights the Boss was happy and alive.
    • Apparently, Tom is being pretty rough on Willie, and it was hurting the man.
    • Willie does manage to take care of the Sibyl Frey situation.
    • He has no alternative but to bribe Gummy Larson.
    • (Remember, he's the guy that wants the hospital contract.)
    • Gummy basically owns MacMurfee, and if Gummy tells him to stop everything, including his run for the Senate, he will have no choice but to do it.
    • See, the Boss has to run for Senate now, while he's hot.
    • It's an expensive deal.
    • The Boss has to let Gummy build the hospital.
    • Jack didn't get his hands dirty on this one. This was Tiny Duffy's baby. Jack isn't really aware of what's going down.
    • Maybe if he had been he would have left the scene.
    • He could certainly afford to do so. He has inherited from the Judge, and will inherit from the Scholarly Attorney.
    • The money from the Judge could take him on vacation, but instead it makes him feel more connected to where he is.
    • So Jack reads books and does tax work.
    • One night Jack goes to see the Boss about the tax work and he finds Gummy there.
    • Tiny is of course there too, and quite uncomfortable.
    • Nobody is drinking but the Boss.
    • He's so drunk now he's taken off his shoes.
    • Willie is not pleased to be giving Gummy the hospital contract, and is showing his displeasure.
    • He says everybody feels good about this deal but him.
    • Gunny takes it because the price is right. The man is all business.
    • After it's gone on quite a while, Gummy says he'll be going.
    • The Boss gets up and walks toward him, somehow throwing his drink in Tiny's face.
    • Tiny asks why, and the Boss says he should have "done it long ago."
    • Now Willie tells Gunny that that hospital has to be perfect down to the last detail, and if it's not, he'll tear the man apart.
    • Gunny is cool as a cucumber.
    • Then the Boss backs off, and Gummy splits.
    • From Tiny, Jack catches a glimpse of complete anger at the Boss.
    • In that moment Tiny is, for once, a human in Jack's eyes.
    • Jack makes his usual smart-alecky comment to the Boss, and says he has to split.
    • The Boss raves about the unfairness of the whole situation – having to sacrifice the hospital contract to save his son.
    • Finally, the Boss falls asleep.
    • Sugar-Boy covers Willie with Willie's coat, and Jack leaves the two of them there.
    • Jack wonders what Adam will say about the new development.
    • With some pleasure, he wonders what Anne would have thought if she'd seen Willie drunk like that.
    • Jack spends some time pondering Tom Stark.
    • One the one hand, he's being pretty rough on Willie.
    • On the other hand, Willie has lots to do with how Tom is.
    • Unlike Tom, the Boss had to struggle to find out who he was.
    • Tom is just pure confidence.
    • In fact, Tom is so good he can break quite a few rules, including "training rule."
    • But then Tom took things too far.
    • He got into a barroom brawl the night before a big game and was temporarily suspended.
    • When the team is loosing, the Boss goes to the locker room and gives the other boys a pep talk that so lifts their spirits that they start to win but ultimately lose.
    • The next game Tom is playing again, because Willie forces the coach to let him.
    • The next game, Tom gets knocked down and doesn't get up.
    • He's carried from the field.
    • Willie continues watching the game.
    • Before the game is over, a man comes over and tells Willie that the doctor wants to talk to him.
    • Willie finishes watching the game, then tells Jack he'll meet him shortly.
    • He heads down to talk to the doctor.
    • Jack goes to the Capitol building.
    • Everybody has gone home. Except Sadie Burke.
    • Jack finds her lifting her head from her desk.
    • She's grumpy, so he starts messing with her.
    • She says she's tired of Jack, the town, and the whole scene, so she's leaving.
    • Jack says he doesn't believe her. He says she'll never leave the political scene because it's her talent.
    • She orders him to leave, and he asks if she knows about Tom Stark.
    • Sadie has some nasty words about Tom, but when Jack explains the situation, she makes to leave for the hospital.
    • Jack goes to his office and after not too long, his phone rings.
    • It's Sadie calling from the hospital to report that Tom is still "unconscious," and that the Boss wants Jack.
    • When Jack gets to the hospital Willie asks Jack to go pick up Lucy and explain the situation.
    • He does, and Lucy is shocked.
    • They get to the hospital and Lucy asks Willie how Tom is.
    • Willie insists that Tom will be fine.
    • Lucy wants to know what the doctors say, and Willie repeats himself.
    • Lucy says Tom will be OK, if "God grant it."
    • Willie says Tom will be OK because he's "tough," and then tells Jack to take her to Tom's room.
    • Jack and Lucy go back to Willie.
    • Near midnight Adam Stanton comes to let them know that the specialist is delayed by fog.
    • Willie thinks fog is no object.
    • Adam suggests that the Boss lie down, and that Lucy get some rest too.
    • But neither of these devoted parents is budging from the hospital.
    • When Adam leaves Jack follows him out to get the scoop.
    • Tom actually has a broken neck. He's lucky to be alive.
    • There is a slim chance that he can be "almost all right" (alive and functioning).
    • Around 1am they get word that the fog has lifted and the expert is on his way.
    • The Boss tells Jack to get Sugar-Boy and the motorcycle escort team to the airport.
    • After Jack makes the call he sees Sadie.
    • She's very concerned, and asks Jack to let her know if anything changes.
    • The phone rings at the nurse's station.
    • It's Anne Stanton for Jack. Jack gives her the low down and she says she's sorry to bother him.
    • At 4 am the Dr. Burnham (the expert) arrives.
    • While waiting for his opinion, Jack anxiously reads a magazine, and Willie paces.
    • At some point, Adam arrives. Burnham's diagnosis is the same as Adam's.
    • (Broken neck.)
    • They can either put Tom in "traction" or they can operate.
    • Willie says to operate.
    • Adam makes sure Willie understands that the X-ray can't show whether or not Tom's spine can be repaired.
    • Finally, Adam explains that the parts being operated on are close to the brain.
    • The operation could easily kill him.
    • Adam tells Willie that the operation is "the gambler's chance."
    • Willie repeats his wish that they operate.
    • When Adam looks at Lucy for her permission, she says "yes."
    • At some point while they are waiting, Lucy goes to the Boss and tells him he should sit.
    • He really needs to sit, too, and he falls into the chair.
    • Jack has sandwiches and coffee brought up, but Willie and Lucy can't really eat.
    • After a long silence Willie tells Lucy that he's going to name the new hospital after Tom.
    • Eventually Adam comes in and tells them that Tom is alive, but that his spinal cord is crushed.
    • Willie protests, and Adam says he's sorry.
    • Lucy leads Willie away.
    • Jack learns from Adam that Tom will be like an infant now, and will probably die of pneumonia.
    • Jack lets both Anne and Sadie know what's going on, and then goes home to sleep
    • The next phase in the story happens Monday morning.
    • Jack gets to the Capitol early and they are masses of sympathy telegrams.
    • Tiny comes in and makes a big show of how sorry he is.
    • When the Boss shows up, everyone tells him they feel bad for him.
    • He doesn't say anything back.
    • When he sees the telegrams he says he wants them out of his sight.
    • The Boss sees Tiny leaving, and tells him to stick around.
    • He wants to talk to him, and he wants Jack to be there.
    • After a few moments of silence, Willie tells Tiny that the deal with Gummy is off.
    • Tiny protests, but Willie tells him he's made up his mind.
    • Jack tells Willie he thinks Gummy will create a problem, but Willie doesn't care.
    • Now Jack goes back to doing the work for the tax bill, which is now late, due to the recent problems.
    • When he finishes his work he tries to go talk to Willie.
    • But he can hear Sadie in the there and so he waits in his office.
    • The guy who's waiting for the tax bill information from Jack calls and says he needs it now, so Jack takes it to him.
    • When he gets back Willie has already left for the hospital.
    • Apparently Sadie Burke also left, in something of a fury.
    • After lunch Jack gets an urgent message to go to Anne Stanton's apartment.
    • When he gets there she is in a complete panic.
    • Jack has to shake her to get her to calm down and tell him what has happened.
    • What happened is that someone called Adam and told him that Willie and Anne were having an affair. They also told him that this was the only reason he was made hospital director.
    • To put the icing on the cake, the man said that Willie blamed Adam for Tom's condition, and was going to fire him and break up with Anne.
    • So Adam freaked out and came over to Anne's calling her names.
    • Then, Anne went to meet Willie and he ended the affair, telling her he was going back to Lucy.
    • Anne wants Jack to find Adam and explain that nothing happened the way he was told.
    • Jack first goes to Adam's apartment.
    • His car is there, but the door is open and Adam isn't in it.
    • It's evening now, and it's raining.
    • Jack combs the town and does some calling around but comes up dry.
    • He goes to his hotel and eats something then reads the paper in the lobby, while he waits to see if any phone calls come for him.
    • In the paper there is a cartoon complaining about the tax bill Jack had developed.
    • An editorial claims that the state was too poor to be taxed.
    • Jack remembers that every time the Boss put a tax on something, people said the state was poor.
    • Willie always disagreed, saying that lots of the people in the state were poor, but that there was plenty of money to be had.
    • By taxing big industries, he could help distribute the wealth more evenly.
    • Around 9pm Jack gets a message to go see Willie.
    • At the Capitol he sees Willie talking to some men, and Sugar-Boy waiting nearby.
    • When Willie is through, he says he wants to tell Jack something.
    • All of a sudden they see Adam.
    • He has his eyes on Willie.
    • Jack and Willie move toward him.
    • Willie holds out his hand to Adam and it looks like Adam is going to shake it, but instead –
    • Adam shoots.
    • Adam then falls to the ground as Sugar-Boy crushes his chest with an "automatic."
    • At first Jack thinks maybe Adam missed Willie.
    • But Willie is holding his chest and blood is seeping through his fingers
    • The Boss doesn't die right immediately.
    • Adam had used a target pistol from childhood. While the Boss was hurt badly, it was rumored that he would live.
    • The doctor Adam was closest to removes the bullets from Willie's chest.
    • The third day after the operation Willie develops an infection.
    • That night the Boss asks to see Jack.
    • He asks Jack why Adam shot him, why Adam was mad at him.
    • Jack says he doesn't know, and Willie says he never did anything bad to Adam.
    • Jack agrees.
    • Willie says Adam was a good guy. Jack agrees. Straining himself, Willie wants Jack to understand that everything "might have been different."
    • But the nurse is worried about her patient, and Jack has to leave.
    • Willie dies around dawn the next morning.
    • It seems like the entire city is out for the funeral. The crowd is immense.
    • This marks Jack's "second funeral within a week." The first was Adam's at Burden's Landing, and it was much different than Willie's.
  • Chapter 10

    • After Willie's funeral Jack goes to Burden's Landing because he can't take it in the city, and because he wants to see Anne.
    • Jack and Anne hang out for some time.
    • It's late fall.
    • They don't talk at all, but sometimes Jack reads to Anne.
    • Somehow, it seems almost like that long ago summer when they were in love.
    • Still, a question haunts Jack.
    • At first it didn't seem important, but now he can't stop wondering who it was that called Adam that day and told him what he told him.
    • He asks Anne and she says she doesn't know.
    • The next day Jack leaves Burden's Landing to try to find the answer.
    • When he gets back he calls the Capitol and asks for Sadie.
    • He learns she's at a place called Millet Sanatorium.
    • When he goes out to visit her, he learns she checked herself in to get some "rest."
    • He asks her if she knew who called Adam.
    • She says it was Tiny Duffy.
    • Jack asks her how she knows.
    • She's mad at him for making her tell – but she does.
    • Apparently she told Tiny to do it.
    • Jack accuses her of murder.
    • She agrees with him.
    • Jack is quiet, and then Sadie says she's glad she was able to get it off her chest.
    • But Jack doesn't really see Sadie as the killer. He puts the blame on Tiny, who, as Willie's Lieutenant Governor is now Governor.
    • Sadie tells him how happy Duffy was when Adam and Willie were shot.
    • Jack decides he wants to make Duffy pay.
    • Sadie tells him to go for it.
    • As Jack is pondering the best way to go about it, he gets a message that Duffy wants to see him.
    • He goes.
    • Duffy tries to hire Jack, with a hefty raise.
    • Jack is surprised by how sure Duffy is that he'll take the job.
    • Instead Jack tells Tiny he would never work for him and that he thinks Tiny is the "stinkingest louse God ever let live."
    • Jack tells him he knows how he killed the Boss because he talked to Sadie.
    • Tiny says he'll kill Sadie if she tries to mess with him.
    • Jack says he won't kill anybody because he's too big of a coward.
    • After their meeting Jack feels great.
    • Several days later he gets a letter from Sadie.
    • In it she gives Jack the address of an aunt, in case he ever needs to reach her.
    • She tells him that she's willing to go up against Duffy in whatever way necessary.
    • Still, she advises Jack to let it drop.
    • With the letter she has sent a signed and witnessed statement implicating Tiny, and herself in the two killings.
    • But Jack decides he doesn't want to pursue things any further.
    • He realizes that he and Duffy are like twins, eternally joined.
    • His condemnation of Duffy would be a condemnation of himself.
    • (See "Foil: Jack and Tiny" in our "Character Roles" section for more)
    • So Jack bums around town for a while.
    • He gets a letter from Anne but doesn't open it.
    • One day in February he sees Sugar-Boy in the library.
    • They talk and Jack asks Sugar-Boy what he would do if he knew that somebody had put Adam up to killing Willie.
    • Sugar-Boy says he would kill that person.
    • Jack tells him he'd be hanged for murder.
    • But Sugar-Boy says he doesn't care.
    • The Boss was everything to him.
    • He presses Jack for the name, but Jack says he was just kidding.
    • Hurt, Sugar-Boy tells Jack not to play with him that way.
    • They talk for a bit longer and then part.
    • Jack continues in his fog until May.
    • Then he goes out to visit Lucy at her sister's farm.
    • She feeds him devil's food cake and iced-tea.
    • They are quiet for some time, and then she asks Jack if he knows that Tom died.
    • He says he knows.
    • Tom had died of pneumonia (just as Adam predicted) in February.
    • Tom's death was in the papers, and Jack had read about it.
    • But couldn't stomach another funeral, and couldn't think of the right words to put in a letter to Lucy.
    • Lucy tells Jack that she didn't think she could live with all the grief, but that God gave her something to make the pain bearable.
    • Jack feels uncomfortable and is about to make a getaway but Lucy asks him to follow her.
    • She shows him a baby in a crib – "Tom's baby," she says.
    • Jack thinks it's a cute, good looking baby boy, and he hold it.
    • Lucy says she's going to name it Willie Stark, "because Willie was a great man."
    • She says she has to believe it.
    • Jack takes off, and he too comes to believe that Willie was great.
    • He too has to believe it.
    • That summer Jack goes back to Burden's Landing because his mother asks him to see her.
    • She tells Jack she's leaving the "Young Executive."
    • When Jack expresses surprise, she says she had hoped he would understand that she's doing it because she loved the Judge.
    • She breaks down, saying that "everything has always been a mess."
    • The next day Jack drives his mother to the train station so she can go to Reno.
    • She's letting the Young Executive have the house because he loves it, and because she feels bad for him.
    • He didn't do anything to deserve all this pain.
    • She says she doesn't have much money left, but enough to be comfortable on, and she isn't worried about Jack, because he has Irwin's house.
    • Before she gets on the train she asks Jack if he had anything to do with the Judge's killing himself.
    • He says he didn't, claiming that when he last saw the Judge, the Judge expressed worries over his poor health.
    • When asked if this is true, Jack swears to God.
    • This seems to relieve her.
    • Jack feels like he's given his mother this "lie" as a "present."
    • He gave his mother the gift of a lie, and she gave him a gift of the truth.
    • Now that he knows who his real father is, and now that he knows his mother loved his real father, he isn't ashamed of his past anymore.
    • That night he moves in to Judge Irwin's house, his house now.
    • Then he goes to visit Anne, who opens the door and lets him in. He tells her about Judge Irwin and his mother, and then goes home.
    • Jack tells us that the story of Willie is over now. He also says he's given you, the reader, the Great Twitch.
    • He tells us that he and Anne are married now, and that the "Scholarly Attorney" lives with them, but is ill and fading fast.
    • He plans to spend time writing a book on Cass Mastern and then to leave Burden's Landing with Anne, perhaps to return later.