Study Guide

All the King's Men Chapter 6

By Robert Penn Warren

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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.

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