Рефераты. American Literature books summary

institutes a radical series of liberal reforms designed to tax the rich and

ease the burden of the state's poor farmers. He is beset with enemies--most

notably Sam MacMurfee, a defeated former governor who constantly searches

for ways to undermine Willie's power--and surrounded by a rough mix of

political allies and hired thugs, from the bodyguard Sugar-Boy O'Sheean to

the fat, obsequious Tiny Dufiy.

All the King's Men is also the story of Jack Burden, the scion of one

of the state's aristocratic dynasties, who turns his back on his genteel

upbringing and becomes Willie Stark's right-hand man. Jack uses his

considerable talents as a historical researcher to dig up the unpleasant

secrets of Willie's enemies, which are then used for purposes of blackmail.

Cynical and lacking in ambition, Jack has walked away from many of his past

interests--he left his dissertation in American History unfinished, and

never managed to marry his first love, Anne Stanton, the daughter of a

former governor of the state.

When Willie asks Jack to look for skeletons in the closet of Judge

Irwin, a father figure from Jack's childhood, Jack is forced to confront

his ideas concerning consequence, responsibility, and motivation. He

discovers that Judge Irwin accepted a bribe, and that Governor Stanton

covered it up; the resulting blackmail attempt leads to Judge Irwin's

suicide. It also leads to Adam Stanton's decision to accept the position of

director of the new hospital Willie is building, and leads Anne to begin an

afiair with Willie.

When Adam learns of the afiair, he murders Willie in a rage, and Jack

leaves politics forever. Willie's death and the circumstances in which it

occurs force Jack to rethink his desperate belief that no individual can

ever be responsible for the consequences of any action within the chaos and

tumult of history and time. Jack marries Anne Stanton and begins working on

a book about Cass Mastern, the man whose papers he had once tried to use as

the source for his failed dissertation in American History.

Chapter 1


Jack Burden describes driving down Highway 58 with his boss, Governor

Willie Stark, in the Boss's big black Cadillac--Sugar-Boy is driving, and

in the car with them were the Boss's wife Lucy, son Tommy, and the

Lieutenant Governor, Tiny Dufiy. Sugar-Boy drives them into Mason City,

where Willie is going to pose for a press photo with his father, who lives

on a nearby farm. The Cadillac is followed by a car full of press men and

photographers, overseen by Willie's secretary, Sadie Burke. It is summer,

1936, and scorching hot outside.

In Mason City, Willie immediately attracts an adoring throng of

people. The group goes inside the drugstore, where Doc pours them glasses

of Coke. The crowd pressures Willie for a speech, but he declines, saying

he's just come to see his "pappy". He then delivers an efiective impromptu

speech on the theme of not delivering a speech, saying he doesn't have to

stump for votes on his day off. The crowd applauds, and the group drives

out to the Stark farm.

On the way, Jack remembers his first meeting with Willie, in 1922,

when Jack was a reporter for the Chronicle and Willie was only the County

Treasurer of Mason County. Jack had gone to the back room of Slade's pool

hall to get some information from deputy-sherifi Alex Michel and Tiny Dufiy

(then the Tax Assessor, and an ally of then-Governor Harrison). While he

was there, Dufiy tried to bully Willie into drinking a beer, which Willie

claimed not to want, instead ordering an orange soda. Dufiy ordered Slade

to bring Willie a beer, and Slade said that he only served alcohol to men

who wanted to drink it. He brought Willie the orange soda. When Prohibition

was repealed after Willie's rise to power, Slade was one of the first men

to get a liquor license; he got a lease at an exceptional location, and was

now a rich man.

At the farm, Willie and Lucy pose for a picture with spindly Old Man

Stark and his dog. Then the photographers have Willie pose for a picture in

his old bedroom, which still contains all his schoolbooks. Toward sunset,

Sugar-Boy is out shooting cans with his .38 special, and Jack goes outside

for a drink from his ask and a look at the sunset. As he leans against the

fence, Willie approaches him and asks for a drink. Then Sadie Burke runs up

to them with a piece of news, which she reveals only after Willie stops

teasing her: Judge Irwin has just endorsed Callahan, a Senate candidate

running against Willie's man, Masters.

After dinner at the Stark farm, Willie announces that he, Jack, and Sugar-

Boy will be going for a drive. He orders Sugar-Boy to drive the Cadillac to

Burden's Landing, more than a hundred miles away. Jack grew up in Burden's

Landing, which was named for his ancestors, and he complains about the long

drive this late at night. As they approach Jack's old house, he thinks

about his mother lying inside with Theodore Murrell--not Jack's first

stepfather. And he thinks about Anne and Adam Stanton, who lived nearby and

used to play with him as a child. He also thinks about Judge Irwin, who

lives near the Stanton and Burden places, and who was a father figure to

Jack after his own father left. Jack tells Willie that Judge Irwin won't

scare easily, and inwardly hopes that what he says is true.

The three men arrive at Judge Irwin's, where Willie speaks insouciantly and

insolently to the gentlemanly old judge. Judge Irwin insults Jack for being

employed by such a man, and tells Willie that he endorsed Callahan because

of some damning information he had been given about Masters. Willie says

that it would be possible to find dirt on anyone, and advises the judge to

retract his endorsement, lest some dirt should turn up on him. He heavily

implies that Judge Irwin would lose his position as a judge. Judge Irwin

angrily throws the men out of his house, and on the drive back to Mason

City, Willie orders Jack to find some dirt on the judge, and to "make it


Writing in 1939, three years after that scene, Jack re ects that Masters--

who did get elected to the Senate--is now dead, and Adam Stanton is dead,

and Judge Irwin is dead, and Willie himself is dead: Willie, who told Jack

to find some dirt on Judge Irwin and make it stick. And Jack remembers:

"Little Jackie made it stick, all right."

Chapter 2 Summary

Jack Burden remembers the years during which Willie Stark rose to power.

While Willie was Mason County Treasurer, he became embroiled in a

controversy over the building contract for the new school. The head of the

city council awarded the contract to the business partner of one of his

relatives, no doubt receiving a healthy kickback for doing so. The

political machine attempted to run this contract over Willie, but Willie

insisted that the contract be awarded to the lowest bidder. The local big-

shots responded by spreading the story that the lowest bidder would import

black labor to construct the building, and, Mason County being redneck

country, the people sided against Willie, who was trounced in the next

election. Jack Burden covered all this in the Chronicle, which sided with


After he was beaten out of offce, Willie worked on his father's farm, hit

the law books at night, and eventually passed the state bar exam. He set up

his own law practice. Then one day during a fire drill at the new school, a

fire escape collapsed due to faulty construction and three students died.

At the funeral, one of the bereaved fathers stood by Willie and cried aloud

that he had been punished for voting against an honest man. After that,

Willie was a local hero. During the next gubernatorial election, in which

Harrison ran against MacMurfee, the vote was pretty evenly divided between

city-dwellers, who supported Harrison, and country folk, who supported

MacMurfee. The Harrison camp decided to split the MacMurfee vote by

secretly setting up another candidate who could draw some of MacMurfee's

support in the country. They settled on Willie. One day Harrison's man,

Tiny Dufiy, visited Willie in Mason City and convinced him that he was

God's choice to run for governor.

Willie wanted the offce desperately, and so he believed him.Willie stumped

the state, and Jack Burden covered his campaign for the Chronicle. Willie

was a terrible candidate. His speeches were full of facts and figures; he

never stirred the emotions of the crowd. Eventually Sadie Burke, who was

with the Harrison camp and followed Willie's campaign, revealed to Willie

that he had been set up. Enraged, Willie gulped down a whole bottle of

whiskey and passed out in Jack Burden's room. The next day, he struggled to

make it to his campaign barbecue in the city of Upton. To help Willie

overcome his hangover, Jack had to fill him full of whiskey again. At the

barbecue, the furious, drunken Willie gave the crowd a fire-and-brimstone

speech in which he declared that he had been set up, that he was just a

hick like everyone else in the crowd, and that he was withdrawing from the

race to support MacMurfee. But if MacMurfee didn't deliver for the little

people, Willie admonished the hearers to nail him to the door. Willie said

that if they passed him the hammer he'd nail him to the door himself. Tiny

Dufiy tried to stop the speech, but fell off the stage.

Willie stumped for MacMurfee, who won the election. Afterwards, Willie

returned to his law practice, at which he made a great deal of money and

won some high- proffle cases. Jack didn't see Willie again until the next

election, when the political battlefield had changed: Willie now owned the

Democratic Party. Jack quit his job at the Chronicle because the paper was

forcing him to support MacMurfee in his column, and slumped into a

depression. He spent all his time sleeping and piddling around--he called

the period "the Great Sleep," and said it had happened twice before, once

just before he walked away from his doctoral dissertation in American

History, and once after Lois divorced him. During the Great Sleep Jack

occasionally visited Adam Stanton, took Anne Stanton to dinner a few times,

and visited his father, who now spent all his time handing out religious

iers. At some point during this time Willie was elected governor.

One morning Jack received a phone call from Sadie Burke, saying that the

Boss wanted to see him the next morning at ten. Jack asked who the Boss

was, and she replied, "Willie Stark, Governor Stark, or don't you read the

papers?" Jack went to see Willie, who offered him a job for $3,600 a year.

Jack asked Willie who he would be working for--Willie or the state.

Willie said he would be working for him, not the state. Jack wondered how

Willie could afiord to pay him $3,600 a year when the governorship only

paid $5,000. But then he remembered the money Willie had made as a lawyer.

He accepted the job, and the next night he went to have dinner at the

Governor's mansion.

Chapter 3 Summary

Jack Burden tells about going home to Burden's Landing to visit his mother,

some time in 1933. His mother disapproves of his working for Willie, and

Theodore Murrell (his mother's husband, whom Jack thinks of as "the Young

Executive") irritates him with his questions about politics. Jack remembers

being happy in the family's mansion until he was six years old, when his

father ("the Scholarly Attorney") left home to distribute religious

pamphlets, and Jack's mother told him he had gone because he didn't love

her anymore. She then married a succession of men: the Tycoon, the Count,

and finally the Young Executive. Jack remembers picnicking with Adam and

Anne Stanton, and swimming with Anne. He remembers arguing with his mother

in 1915 over his decision to go to the State University instead of to


That night in 1933, Jack, his mother, and the Young Executive go to Judge

Irwin's for a dinner party; the assembled aristocrats talk politics, and

are staunchly opposed to Willie Stark's liberal reforms. Jack is forced to

entertain the pretty young Miss Dumonde, who irritates him. When he drives

back to Willie's hotel, he kisses Sadie Burke on the forehead, simply

because she isn't named Dumonde. On the drive back, Jack thinks about his

parents in their youth, when his father brought his mother to Burden's

Landing from her home in Arkansas. In Willie's room, hell is breaking

loose: MacMurfee's men in the Legislature are mounting an impeachment

attempt on Byram B. White, the state auditor, who has been involved in a

graft scandal. Willie humiliates and insults White, but decides to protect

him. This decision causes Hugh Miller, Willie's Attorney General, to resign

from offce, and nearly provokes Lucy into leaving Willie. Willie orders

Jack to dig up dirt on MacMurfee's men in the Legislature, and he begins

frenetically stumping the state, giving speeches during the day and

intimidating and blackmailing MacMurfee's men at night. Stunned by his

aggressive activity, MacMurfee's men attempt to seize the offensive by

impeaching Willie himself. But the blackmailing efiorts work, and the

impeachment is called off before the vote can be taken. Still, the day of

the impeachment, a huge crowd descends on the capital in support of Willie.

Willie tells Jack that after the impeachment he is going to build a

massive, state-of-the-art hospital; Willie wins his next election by a


During all this time, Jack re ects on Willie's sexual conquests--he has

begun a long-term afiair with Sadie Burke, who is fiercely jealous of his

other mistresses, but Lucy seems to know nothing about it. Lucy does

eventually leave Willie, spending time in St. Augustine and then at her

sister's poultry farm, but they keep up the appearance of marriage. Jack

speculates that Lucy does not sever all her ties with Willie for Tommy's

sake, though teen-aged Tommy has become an arrogant football star with a

string of sexual exploits of his own.

Chapter 4 Summary

Returning to the night in 1936 when he, Willie, and Sugar-Boy drove away

from Judge Irwin's house, Jack re ects that his inquiry into Judge Irwin's

past was really his second major historical study. He recalls his first, as

a graduate student at the State University, studying for his Ph.D. in

American History. Jack lived in a slovenly apartment with a pair of

slovenly roommates, and blew all the money his mother sent him on drinking

binges. He was writing his dissertation on the papers of Cass Mastern, his

father's uncle.

As a student at Translyvania College in the 1850s, Cass Mastern had had an

afiair with Annabelle Trice, the wife of his friend Duncan Trice. When

Duncan discovered the afiair, he took off his wedding ring and shot

himself, a suicide that was chalked up to accident. But Phebe, one of the

Trices' slaves, had found the ring, and taken it to Annabelle Trice.

Annabelle had been unable to bear the knowledge that Phebe knew about her

sin, and so she sold her. Appalled to learn that Annabelle had sold Phebe

instead of setting her free--and appalled to learn that she had separated

the slave from her husband--Cass set out to find and free Phebe; but he

failed, wounded in a fight with a man who insinuated that he had sexual

designs on Phebe.

After that, he set to farming a plantation he had obtained with the help of

his wealthy brother Gilbert. But he freed his slaves and became a devout

abolitionist. Even so, when the war started, he enlisted as a private in

the Confederate Army. Complicating matters further, though a Confederate

soldier he vowed not to kill a single enemy soldier, since he believed

himself already responsible for the death of his friend. He was killed in a

battle outside Atlanta in 1864. After leaving to find Phebe, he had never

set eyes on Annabelle Trice again.

One day Jack simply gave up working on his dissertation. He could not

understand why Cass Mastern acted the way he did, and he walked away from

the apartment without even boxing up the papers. A landlady sent them to

him, but they remained unopened as he endured a long stretch of the Great

Sleep. The papers remained in their unopened box throughout the time he

spent with his beautiful wife Lois; after he left her, they remained

unopened. The brown paper parcel yellowed, and the name "Jack

Burden,"written on top, slowly faded.

Chapter 5 Summary

In 1936, Jack mulls over the problem of finding dirt on Judge Irwin. He

thinks the judge would have been motivated by ambition, love, fear, or

money, and settles on money as the most likely reason he might have been

driven over the line. He goes to visit his father, but the Scholarly

Attorney is preoccupied taking care of an "unfortunate" named George, and

refuses to answer his "foul" questions. He visits Anne and Adam Stanton at

their father's musty old mansion, and learns from Adam that the judge was

once broke, back in 1913. But Anne tells him that the judge got out of his

financial problems by marrying a rich woman.

At some time during this period, Jack goes to one of Tommy's football games

with Willie. Tommy wins the game, and Willie says that he will be an All-

American. Tommy receives the adulation of Willie and all his cohorts, and

lives an arrogant life full of women and alcohol. Also during this time,

Jack learns from Tiny Dufiy that Willie is spending six million dollars on

the new hospital. Soon after, Anne tells Jack that she herself had lunch

with Willie, in a successful attempt to get state funding for one of her


Jack decides to investigate the judge's financial past further. Delving

into court documents and old newspapers, he discovers that the judge had

not married into money, but had taken out a mortgage on his plantation,

which he was nearly unable to pay. A sudden windfall enabled him to stop

foreclosure proceedings toward the end of his term as Attorney General

under Governor Stanton. Also, after his term he had been given a lucrative

Страницы: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33

2012 © Все права защищены
При использовании материалов активная ссылка на источник обязательна.