Study Guide

All the King's Men Chapter 10

By Robert Penn Warren

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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.

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