Рефераты. American Literature books summary

has room to move with all the wildlife in his shed. Uncle Silas decides it

is time to sell Jim, and starts sending out advertisements. So Tom writes

letters, signed an "unknown friend," to the Phelps warning of trouble. The

family is terrified. Tom finishes with a longer letter pretending to be

from a member of a band of desperate gangsters out to steal Jim. The author

has found religion and so is warning them to block the plan.

Chapters 40-43 Summary

Fifteen uneasy local men with guns are in the Phelps's front room. Huck

goes to the shed to warn Tom and Jim. Tom is excited to hear about the

fifteen armed men. A group of men rush into the shed. In the darkness Tom,

Huck, and Jim escape through the hole. Tom makes a noise going over the

fence, attracting the attention of the men, who shoot at them as they run.

But they make it to the hidden raft, and set off downstream, delighted with

their success{especially Tom, who has a bullet in the leg as a souvenir.

Huck and Jim are taken aback by Tom's wound. Jim says they should get a

doctor{what Tom would do if the situation were reversed. Jim's reaction

confirms Huck's belief that Jim is "white inside."

Huck finds a doctor in Chapter Forty-one and sends him to Tom. The next

morning, Huck runs into Silas, who takes him home. The place is filled with

farmers and their wives, all discussing the weird contents of Jim's shed,

and the hole. They conclude a band of (probably black) robbers of amazing

skill must have tricked not only the Phelps and their friends, but the

original band of desperadoes. Sally will not let Huck out to find Tom,

since she is so sad to have lost Tom and does not want to risk another boy.

Huckleberry is touched by her concern and vows never to hurt her again.

Silas has been unable to find Tom in Chapter Forty- two. They have

gotten a letter from Tom's Aunt Polly, Sally's sister. But Sally casts it

aside when she sees Tom, semi-conscious, brought in on a mattress,

accompanied by a crowd including Jim, in chains, and the doctor. Some of

the local men would like to hang Jim, but are unwilling to risk having to

compensate Jim's master. So they treat Jim roughly, and chain him hand and

foot inside the shed. The doctor intervenes, saying Jim isn't bad, since he

sacrificed his freedom to help nurse Tom. Sally, meanwhile, is at Tom's

bedside, glad that his condition has improved. Tom wakes and gleefully

details how they set Jim free. He is horrified to learn that Jim is now in

chains. He explains that Jim was freed in Miss Watson's will when she died

two months ago.

She regretted ever having considered selling Jim down the river. Just

then, Aunt Polly walks into the room. She came after Sally mysteriously

wrote her that Sid Sawyer was staying with her. After a tearful reunion

with Sally, she identifies Tom and Huckleberry, yelling at both boys for

their misadventures. When Huckleberry asks Tom in the last chapter what he

planned to do once he had freed the already- freed Jim, Tom replies that he

was going to repay Jim for his troubles and send him back a hero. When Aunt

Polly and the Phelps hear how Jim helped the doctor, they treat him much


Tom gives Jim forty dollars for his troubles. Jim declares that the

omen of his hairy chest has come true. Tom makes a full recovery, and has

the bullet inserted into a watch he wears around his neck. He and Huck

would like to go on another adventure, to Indian Territory (present-day

Oklahoma). But Huck worries Pap has taken all his money. Jim tells him that

couldn't have happened: the dead body they found way back on the houseboat,

that Jim would not let Huck see, belonged to Pap. Huck has nothing more to

write about. He is "rotten glad," since writing a book turned out to be

quite a task. He does not plan any future writings. Instead, he hopes to

make the trip out to Indian Territory, since Aunt Sally is already trying

to "sivilize" him, and he's had enough of that.


Robert Penn Warren was one of the twentieth century's outstanding men

of letters. He found great success as a novelist, a poet, a critic, and a

scholar, and enjoyed a career showered with acclaim. He won two Pulitzer

Prizes, was Poet Laureate of the United States, and was presented with a

Congressional Medal of Fr edom. He founded the Southern Review and was an

important contributor to the New Criticism of 1930s and '40s.

Born in 1905, Warren showed his exceptional intelligence from an early

age; he attended college at Vanderbilt University, where he befriended some

of the most important contemporary figures in Southern literature,

including Allan Tate and John Crowe Ransom, and where he won a Rhodes

Scholarship to study at Oxford University in England. During a stay in

Italy, Warren wrote a verse drama called Proud Flesh,which dealt with

themes of political power and moral corruption. As a professor at Louisiana

State University, Warren had observed the rise of Louisiana political boss

Huey Long, who embodied, in many ways, the ideas Warren tried to work into

Proud Flesh. Unsatisfied with the result, Warren began to rework his

elaborate drama into a novel, set in the contemporary South, and based in

part on the person of Huey Long.

The result was All the King'sMen, Warren's best and most acclaimed

book. First published in 1946, Allthe King's Men is one of the best

literary documents dealing with the American South during the Great

Depression. The novel won the Pulitzer Prize, and was adapted into a movie

that won an Academy Award in 1949.

All the King's Men focuses on the lives of Willie Stark, an upstart

farm boy who rises through sheer force of will to become Governor of an

unnamed Southern state during the 1930s, and Jack Burden, the novel's

narrator, a cynical scion of the state's political aristocracy who uses his

abilities as a historical researcher to help Willie blackmail and control

his enemies.

The novel deals with the large question of the responsibility

individuals bear for their actions within the turmoil of history, and it is

perhaps appropriate that the impetus of the novel's story comes partly from

real historical occurrences.

Jack Burden is entirely a creation of Robert Penn Warren, but there

are a number of important parallels between Willie Stark and Huey Long, who

served Louisiana as both Governor and Senator from 1928 until his death in


Like Huey Long, Willie Stark is an uneducated farm boy who passed the

state bar exam; like Huey Long, he rises to political power in his state by

instituting liberal reform designed to help the state's poor farmers. And

like Huey Long, Willie is assassinated at the peak of his power by a doctor

Dr. Adam Stanton in Willie's case, Dr. Carl A. Weiss in Long's. (Unlike

Willie, however, Long was assassinated after becoming a Senator, and was in

fact in the middle of challenging Franklin D. Roosevelt for the

Presidential nomination of the Democratic Party.)


Jack Burden -- Willie Stark's political right-hand man, the narrator

of the novel and in many ways its protagonist. Jack comes from a prominent

family (the town he grew up in, Burden's Landing, was named for his

ancestors), and knows many of the most important people in the state.

Despite his aristocratic background, Jack allies himself with the

liberal, amoral Governor Stark, to the displeasure of his family and

friends. He uses his considerable skills as a researcher to uncover the

secrets of Willie's political enemies. Jack was once married to Lois

Seager, but has left her by the time of the novel. Jack's main

characteristics are his intelligence and his curious lack of ambition; he

seems to have no agency of his own, and for the most part he is content to

take his direction from Willie. Jack is also continually troubled by the

question of motive and responsibility in history: he quit working on his

PhD thesis in history when he decided he could not comprehend Cass

Mastern's motives. He develops the Great Twitch theory to convince himself

that no one can be held responsible for anything that happens. During the

course of the novel, however, Jack rejects the Great Twitch theory and

accepts the idea of responsibility.

Willie Stark -- Jack Burden's boss, who rises from poverty to become

the governor of his state and its most powerful political figure. Willie

takes control of the state through a combination of political reform (he

institutes sweeping liberal measures designed to tax the rich and ease the

burden on the state's many poor farmers) and underhanded guile (he

blackmails and bullies his enemies into submission). While Jack is

intelligent and inactive, Willie is essentially all motive power and

direction. The extent of his moral philosophy is his belief that everyone

and everything is bad, and that moral action involves making goodness out

of the badness.

Willie is married to Lucy Stark, with whom he has a son, Tom. But his

voracious sexual appetite leads him into a number of afiairs, including one

with Sadie Burke and one with Anne Stanton. Willie is murdered by Adam

Stanton toward the end of the novel.

Anne Stanton -- Jack Burden's first love, Adam Stanton's sister, and,

for a time, Willie Stark's mistress. The daughter of Governor Stanton, Anne

is raised to believe in a strict moral code, a belief which is threatened

and nearly shattered when Jack shows her proof of her father's wrongdoing.

Adam Stanton -- A brilliant surgeon and Jack Burden's closest

childhood friend. Anne Stanton's brother. Jack persuades Adam to put aside

his moral reservations about Willie and become director of the new hospital

Willie is building, and Adam later cares for Tom Stark after his injury.

But two revelations combine to shatter Adam's worldview: he learns that his

father illegally protected Judge Irwin after he took a bribe, and he learns

that his sister has become Willie Stark's lover. Driven mad with the

knowledge, Adam assassinates Willie in the lobby of the Capitol towards the

end of the novel.

Judge Montague Irwin -- A prominent citizen of Burden's Landing and a

former state Attorney General; also a friend to the Scholarly Attorney and

a father figure to Jack. When Judge Irwin supports one of Willie's

political enemies in a Senate election, Willie orders Jack to dig up some

information on the judge. Jack discovers that his old friend accepted a

bribe from the American Electric Power Company in 1913 to save his

plantation. (In return for the money, the judge dismissed a case against

the Southern Belle Fuel Company, a sister corporation to American

Electric.) When he confronts the judge with this information, the judge

commits suicide; when Jack learns of the suicide from his mother, he also

learns that Judge Irwin was his real father.

Sadie Burke -- Willie Stark's secretary, and also his mistress. Sadie

has been with Willie from the beginning, and believes that she made him

what he is. Despite the fact that he is a married man, she becomes

extremely jealous of his relationships with other women, and they often

have long, passionate fights. Sadie is tough, cynical, and extremely

vulnerable; when Willie announces that he is leaving her to go back to

Lucy, she tells Tiny Dufiy in a fit of rage that Willie is sleeping with

Anne Stanton. Tiny tells Adam Stanton, who assassinates Willie. Believing

herself to be responsible for Willie's death, Sadie checks into a

sanitarium. .

Tiny Dufiy -- Lieutenant-Governor of the state when Willie is

assassinated. Fat, obsequious, and untrustworthy, Tiny swallows Willie's

abuse and con- tempt for years, but finally tells Adam Stanton that Willie

is sleeping with Anne. When Adam murders Willie, Tiny becomes Governor.

Sugar-Boy O'Sheean -- Willie Stark's driver, and also his bodyguard--

Sugar-Boy is a crack shot with a .38 special and a brilliant driver. A

stuttering Irishman, Sugar-Boy follows Willie blindly.

Lucy Stark -- Willie's long-sufiering wife, who is constantly

disappointed by her husband's failure to live up to her moral standards.

Lucy eventually leaves Willie to live at her sister's poultry farm. They

are in the process of reconciling when Willie is murdered.

Tom Stark -- Willie's arrogant, hedonistic son, a football star for

the state university. Tom lives a life of drunkenness and promiscuity

before he breaks his neck in a football accident. Permanently paralyzed, he

dies of pneumonia shortly thereafter. Tom is accused of impregnating Sibyl

Frey, whose child is adopted by Lucy at the end of the novel.

Jack's mother -- A beautiful, "famished-cheeked" woman from Arkansas,

Jack's mother is brought back to Burden's Landing by the Scholarly

Attorney, but falls in love with Judge Irwin and begins an afiair with him;

Jack is a product of that afiair. After the Scholarly Attorney leaves her,

she marries a succession of men (the Tycoon, the Count, the Young

Executive). Jack's realization that she is capable of love--and that she

really loved Judge Irwin-- helps him put aside his cynicism at the end of

the novel.

Sam MacMurfee -- Willie's main political enemy within the state's

Democratic Party, and governor before Willie. After Willie crushes him in

the gubernatorial election, MacMurfee continues to control the Fourth

District, from which he plots ways to claw his way back into power.

Ellis Burden -- The man whom Jack believes to be his father for most

of the book, before learning his real father is Judge Irwin. After

discovering his wife's afiair with the judge, the "Scholarly Attorney" (as

Jack characterizes him) leaves her. He moves to the state capital where he

attempts to conduct a Christian ministry for the poor and the unfortunate.

Theodore Murrell -- The "Young Executive," as Jack characterizes him;

Jack's mother's husband for most of the novel.

Governor Joel Stanton -- Adam and Anne's father, governor of the state

when Judge Irwin was Attorney General. Protects the judge after he takes

the bribe to save his plantation.

Hugh Miller -- Willie Stark's Attorney General, an honorable man who

resigns following the Byram White scandal.

Joe Harrison -- Governor of the state who sets Willie up as a dummy

candidate to split the MacMurfee vote, and thereby enables Willie's

entrance onto the political stage. When Willie learns how Harrison has

treated him, he withdraws from the race and campaigns for MacMurfee, who

wins the election. By the time Willie crushes MacMurfee in the next

election, Harrison's days of political clout are over.

Mortimer L. Littlepaugh -- The man who preceded Judge Irwin as counsel

for the American Electric Power Company in the early 1900s. When Judge

Irwin took Littlepaugh's job as part of the bribe, Littlepaugh confronted

Governor Stanton about the judge's illegal activity. When the governor

protected the judge, Littlepaugh committed suicide.

Miss Lily Mae Littlepaugh -- Mortimer Littlepaugh's sister, an old

spiritual medium who sells her brother's suicide note to Jack, giving him

the proof he needs about Judge Irwin and the bribe.

Gummy Larson -- MacMurfee's most powerful supporter, a wealthy

businessman. Willie is forced to give Larson the building contract to the

hospital so that Larson will call MacMurfee off about the Sibyl Frey

controversy, and thereby preserve Willie's chance to go to the Senate.

Lois Seager -- Jack's sexy first wife, whom he leaves when he begins


perceive her as a person rather than simply as a machine for gratifying his


Byram B. White -- The State Auditor during Willie's first term as

governor. His acceptance of graft money propels a scandal that eventually

leads to an impeachment attempt against Willie. Willie protects White and

blackmails his enemies into submission, a decision which leads to his

estrangement from Lucy and the resignation of Hugh Miller.

Hubert Coffee -- A slimy MacMurfee employee who tries to bribe Adam

Stanton into giving the hospital contract to Gummy Larson.

Sibyl Frey -- A young girl who accuses Tom Stark of having gotten her

pregnant; Tom alleges that Sibyl has slept with so many men, she could not

possibly know he was the father of her child. Marvin Frey -- Sibyl Frey's

father, who threatens Willie with a paternity suit. (He is being used by


Cass Mastern -- The brother of Jack's grandmother. During the middle

of the nineteenth century, Cass had an afiair with Annabelle Trice, the

wife of his friend Duncan. After Duncan's suicide, Annabelle sold a slave,

Phebe; Cass tried to track down Phebe, but failed. He became an

abolitionist, but fought in the Confederate Army during the Civil War,

during which he was killed. Jack tries to use his papers as the basis of

his Ph.D. dissertation, but walked away from the project when he was unable

to understand Cass Mastern's motivations.

Gilbert Mastern -- Cass Mastern's wealthy brother.

Annabelle Trice -- Cass Mastern's lover, the wife of Duncan Trice.

When the slave Phebe brings her Duncan's wedding ring following his

suicide, Annabelle says that she cannot bear the way Phebe looked at her,

and sells her.

Duncan Trice -- Cass Mastern's hedonistic friend in Lexington,

Annabelle Trice's husband. When he learns that Cass has had an afiair with

Annabelle, Duncan takes off his wedding ring and shoots himself.

Phebe -- The slave who brings Annabelle Trice her husband's wedding

ring following his suicide. As a result, Annabelle sells her.


All the King's Men is the story of the rise and fall of a political titan

in the Deep South during the 1930s. Willie Stark rises from hardscrabble

poverty to become governor of his state and its most powerful political

figure; he blackmails and bullies his enemies into submission, and

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