Рефераты. American Literature books summary

job at American Electric Power Company. After some further digging, Jack

extracts a letter from a strange old spiritual medium named Lily Mae

Littlepaugh, from her brother George Littlepaugh, whom Judge Irwin replaced

at the power company. The letter, a suicide note, reveals that the judge

received a great deal of stock and the lucrative position at the power

company as a bribe for dismissing a court case brought against the Southern

Belle Fuel Company, which had the same parent company as American Electric


Littlepaugh says that he visited Governor Stanton to try to convince him to

bring the matter to light, but Stanton chose to protect his friend the

judge; when Miss Littlepaugh visited the governor after her brother's

suicide, he again protected the judge, and threatened Miss Littlepaugh with

prosecution for insurance fraud. After seven months of digging, Jack has

his proof.

Chapter 6 Summary

During the time Jack is investigating Judge Irwin's background, Tommy

Stark, drunk, wraps his car around a tree, severely injuring the young girl

riding with him. Her father, a trucker, raises a tremendous noise about the

accident, but he is quieted when he is reminded that truckers drive on

state highways and many truckers have state contracts. Lucy is livid about

Tommy's crash, even though Tommy is unhurt; she insists that Willie make

him stop playing football and living his rambunctious life, but Willie says

that he won't see his son turn into a sissy, and that he wants Tommy to

have fun.

Willie is, during this time, completely committed to his six-million-dollar

hospital project, and he insists, to Jack's bemusement, that it will be

completed without any illicit wheeling and dealing. Willie is furious when

Tiny Dufiy tries to convince him to give the contract to Gummy Larson, a

Mac-Murfee supporter who would throw his support to Willie if he received

the building contract. (He would also throw a substantial sum of money to

Tiny himself.) But Willie insists that the project will be completely

clean, and seems to think of it as his legacy--he even says that he does

not care whether it wins him any votes. He insists as well that Jack

convince Adam Stanton to run it.

Jack knows that Adam hates the entire Stark administration, but he visits

his friend's apartment to make the offer nevertheless. Adam is outraged,

but he seems tempted when Jack points out how much good he would be able to

do as director of the hospital. Eventually, after Anne becomes involved,

Adam agrees to take the job. He has a conversation with Willie during which

Willie espouses his moral theory--that the only thing for a man to do is

create goodness out of badness, because everything is bad, and the only

reason something becomes good is because a person thinks it makes things

better. Adam is wary of Willie, but he still takes the job--after he

receives Willie's promise not to interfere in the running of the hospital.

During this time Jack learns that Anne has found out that Adam received the

offer to run the hospital. She visits Jack, and says that she desperately

wants Adam to take it. In a moment of bitterness, Jack tells her about how

her father illegally protected Judge Irwin after he took the bribe. Anne is

crushed; but she visits Adam with the information, and that is what prompts

Adam to compromise his ideals and take the directorship. Anne, Adam, and

Jack attend a speech Willie gives, during which he announces his intention

to give the citizens of the state free medical care and free educations.

Anne asks urgently if Willie really means it, and Jack replies, "How the

hell should I know?"

But something nags the back of Jack's mind: he is unable to figure out how

Anne learned that Adam had been offered the directorship of the hospital.

Adam didn't tell her, and Willie says that he didn't tell her, and Jack

didn't tell her. He finds out that Sadie Burke told her, in a jealous

rage—for Sadie says that Anne is Willie's new slut, that she has become his

mistress. Jack is shocked, but when he visits Anne, she gives him a

wordless nod that confirms Sadie's accusation.

Chapter 7 Summary

After learning about Anne's afiair with Willie Stark, Jack ees westward. He

spends several days driving to California, then, after he arrives, three

days in Long Beach. On the way, he remembers his past with Anne Stanton,

and tries to understand what happened that led her to Willie. When they

were children, Jack spent most of his time with Adam Stanton, and Anne

simply tagged along. But the summer after his junior year at the State

University, when he was twenty-one and Anne was seventeen, Jack fell in

love with Anne, and spent the summer with her. They played tennis together,

and swam together at night, and pursued an increasingly intense physical

relationship-- Jack remembers that Anne was not prudish, that she seemed to

regard her body as something they both possessed, and that they had to

explore together. Two nights before Anne was scheduled to leave for her

boarding school, they found themselves alone in Jack's house during a

thunderstorm, and nearly made love for the first time--but Jack hesitated,

and then his mother came home early, ending their chance. The next day Jack

tried to convince Anne to marry him, but she demurred, saying that she

loved him, but seemed to feel that something in his unambitious character

was an impediment to her giving in to her love. After Anne left for school,

they continued to write every day, but their feelings dwindled, and the

next few times they saw each other, things were difierent between them.

Over Christmas, Anne wouldn't let Jack make love to her, and they had a

fight about it. Eventually the letters stopped, and Jack got thrown out of

law school, and began to study history, and then eventually he was married

to Lois, a beautiful sexpot whose friends he despised and who did not

interest him as a person. Toward the end of their marriage, he entered into

a phase of the Great Sleep, and then left her altogether.

After two years at a very refined women's college in Virginia, Anne

returned to Burden's Landing to care for her ailing father. She was engaged

several times but never married, and after her father died, she became an

old maid, though she kept her looks and her charm. She devoted herself to

her work at the orphanage and her other charities. Jack feels as though she

could never marry him because of some essential confidence he lacked, and

that she was drawn to Willie Stark because he possessed that confidence.

Jack also feels that because he revealed to Anne the truth of her father's

duplicity in protecting Judge Irwin after he accepted the bribe, he is

responsible for Anne's afiair with Willie. But he tries to convince himself

that the only human motivation is a certain kind of biological compulsion,

a kind of itch in the blood, and that therefore, he is not responsible for

Anne's behavior.

He says this attitude was a "dream" that made his trip west deliver on its

promise of "innocence and a new start"--if he was able to believe the


Chapter 8 Summary

Jack drives eastward back to his life. He stops at a filling station in New

Mexico, where he picks up an old man heading back to Arkansas. (The old man

was driven to leave for California by the Dust Bowl, but discovered that

California was no better than his home.) The old man has a facial twitch,

of which he seems entirely unaware. Jack, thinking about the twitch,

decides that it is a metaphor for the randomness and causelessness of life--

the very ideas he had been soothing himself with in California, ideas which

excused him from responsibility for Willie and Anne's afiair--and begins to

refer to the process of life as the "Great Twitch."

Feeling detached from the rest of the world because of his new "secret

knowledge," as he calls the idea of the Great Twitch, Jack visits Willie

and resumes his normal life. He sees Adam a few times and goes to watch him

perform a prefrontal lobotomy on a schizophrenic patient, which seems to

him another manifestation of the Great Twitch. One night, Anne calls Jack,

and he meets her at an all-night drugstore; she tells him that a man named

Hubert Coffee tried to offer Adam a bribe to throw the building contract

for the new hospital to Gummy Larson. In a rage, Adam hit the man, threw

himout, and wrote a letter resigning from his post as director of the


Anne asks Jack to convince Adam to change his mind; Jack says that he will

try, but that Adam is acting irrationally, and therefore may not listen to

reason. He says he will tell Willie to bring charges against Hubert Coffee

for the attempted bribe, which will convince Adam that Willie is not

corrupt, at least when it comes to the hospital. Anne offers to testify,

but Jack dissuades her--if she did testify, he says, her afiair with Willie

would become agrantly and unpleasantly public. Jack asks Anne why she has

given herself to Willie, and Anne replies that she loves Willie, and that

she will marry him after he is elected to the Senate next year.

Willie agrees to bring the charges against Coffee, and Jack is able to

persuade Adam to remain director of the hospital. That crisis is

averted,but a more serious crisis arises when a man named Marvin Frey--a

man, not coincidentally, from MacMurfee's district--accuses Tom Stark of

having impregnated his daughter Sibyl. Then one of MacMurfee's men visits

Willie and says that Marvin Frey wants Tom to marry his daughter--but that

Frey will see reason if, say, Willie were to let MacMurfee win the Senate

seat next year. Willie delays his answer, hoping to come up with a better


In the meantime, Jack goes to visit Lucy Stark at her sister's poultry

farm, where he explains to her what has happened with Tom. Lucy is

crestfallen, and says that Sibyl Frey's child is innocent of evil and

innocent of politics, and deserves to be cared for.

Willie comes up with a shrewd solution for dealing with MacMurfee and Frey.

Remembering that MacMurfee owes most of his current political clout, such

as it is, to the fact that Judge Irwin supports him, Willie asks Jack if he

was able to discover anything sordid in Judge Irwin's past. Jack says that

he was, but he refuses to tell Willie what it is until he gives Judge Irwin

the opportunity to look at the evidence and answer for himself.

Jack travels to Burden's Landing, where he goes for a swim and watches a

young couple playing tennis, feeling a lump in his throat at his memories

of Anne. He then goes to visit the judge, who is happy to see Jack, and who

apologizes for being so angry the last time they spoke. Jack tells the

judge what MacMurfee is trying to do and asks him to call MacMurfee off.

The judge says that he refuses to become mixed up in the matter, and Jack

is forced to ask him about the bribe and Mortimer Littlepaugh's suicide.

The judge admits that he did take the bribe, and accepts responsibility for

his actions, saying that he also did some good in his life. He refuses to

give in to the blackmail attempt.

Jack goes back to his mother's house, where he hears a scream from

upstairs. Running upstairs, he finds his mother sobbing insensibly, the

phone receiver off the hook and on the oor. When she sees Jack she cries

out that Jack has killed Judge Irwin--whom she refers to as Jack's father.

Jack learns that Judge Irwin has committed suicide, by shooting himself in

the heart, at the same moment he learns that Judge Irwin, and not the

Scholarly Attorney, was his real father. Jack realizes that the Scholarly

Attorney must have left Jack's mother when he learned of her afiair with

the judge. In a way, Jack is glad to be unburdened of his father's

weakness, which he felt as a curse, and is even glad to have traded a weak

father for a strong one. But he remembers his father giving him a chocolate

when he was a child, and says that he was not sure how he felt.

Jack goes back to the capital, where he learns the next day that he was

Judge Irwin's sole heir. He has inherited the very estate that the judge

took the bribe in order to save. The situation seems so crazily logical--

Judge Irwin takes the bribe in order to save the estate, then fathers Jack,

who tries to blackmail his father with information about the bribe, which

causes Judge Irwin to commit suicide, which causes Jack to inherit the

estate; had Judge Irwin not taken the bribe, Jack would have had nothing to

inherit, and had Jack not tried to blackmail Judge Irwin, the judge would

not have killed himself, and Jack would not have inherited the estate when

he did--so crazily logical that Jack bursts out laughing. But before long

he is sobbing and saying "the poor old bugger" over and over again. Jack

says this is like the ice breaking up after a long, cold winter.

Chapter 9 Summary

Jack goes to visit Willie, who asks him about Judge Irwin's death. Jack

tells the Boss that he will no longer have anything to do with blackmail,

even on MacMurfee, and he is set to work on a tax bill. Over the next few

weeks, Tom continues to shine at his football games, but the Sibyl Frey

incident has left Willie irritable and dour as he tries to concoct a plan

for dealing with MacMurfee. In the end, Willie is forced to give the

hospital contract to Gummy Larson, who can control MacMurfee, who can call

off Marvin Frey. Jack goes to the Governor's Mansion the night the deal is

made, and finds Willie a drunken wreck; Willie insults and threatens Gummy

Larson, and throws a drink in Tiny Dufiy's face. Tom continues to spiral

out of control. He gets in a fight with some yokels at a bar, and is

suspended for the game against Georgia, which the team loses. Two games

later, Tom is injured in the game against Tech, and is carried off the

field unconscious. Willie watches the rest of the game, which State wins

easily, then goes to the hospital to check on Tom. Jack goes back to the

offce, where he finds Sadie Burke sitting alone in the dark, apparently

very upset. Sadie leaves when Jack tells her about Tom's injury, then calls

from the hospital to tell Jack to come over right away.

Jack goes to the hospital, where the Boss sends him to pick up Lucy. Jack

does so, and upon their arrival they learn that the specialist Adam Stanton

called in to look at Tom has been held up by fog in Baltimore. Willie is

frantic, but eventually the specialist arrives. His diagnosis matches

Adam's: Tom has fractured two vertebrae, and the two doctors recommend a

risky surgery to see if the damage can be repaired. They undertake the

surgery, and Willie, Jack, and Lucy wait. Willie tells Lucy that he plans

to name the hospital after Tom, but Lucy says that things like that don't

matter. At six o'clock in the morning, Adam returns, and tells the group

that Tom will live, but that his spinal cord is crushed, and he will be

paralyzed for the rest of his life. Lucy takes Willie home, and Jack calls

Anne with the news. The operation was accomplished just before dawn on

Sunday. On Monday, Jack sees the piles of telegrams that have come into the

offce from political allies and well-wishers, and talks to the obsequious

Tiny. When Willie comes in, he declares to Tiny that he is canceling Gummy

Larson's contract. He implies that he plans to change the way things are

done at the capital. Jack is taking some tax-bill figures to the Senate

when he learns that Sadie has just stormed out of the offce, and receives

word that Anne has just called with an urgent message.

Jack goes to see Anne, who says that Adam has learned about her

relationship with Willie, and believes the afiair to be the reason he was

given the directorship of the hospital. She tells Jack that Willie has

broken off the afiair because he plans to go back to his wife. She asks

Jack to find Adam and tell him that that isn't the way things happened.

Jack spends the day trying to track down Adam, but he fails to find him.

That night, Jack is paged to go to the Capitol, where the vote on the tax

bill is taking place. Here, Jack greets Sugar-Boy and watches the Boss talk

to his political hangers-on. The Boss tells Jack that he wants to tell him

something. As they walk across the lobby, they see a rain-and-mud-soaked

Adam Stanton leaning against the pedestal of a statue. Willie reaches out

his hand to shake Adam's; in a blur, Adam draws a gun and shoots Willie,

then is shot himself by Sugar-Boy and a highway patrolman. Jack runs to

Adam, who is already dead.

Willie survives for a few days, and at first the prognosis from the

hospital is that he will recover. But then he catches an infection, and

Jack realizes that he is going to die. Just before the end, he summons Jack

to his hospital bed, where he says over and over again that everything

could have been difierent.

After he dies, he is given a massive funeral. Jack says that the other

funeral he went to that week was quite difierent: it was Adam Stanton's

funeral at Burden's Landing.

Chapter 10 Summary

After Adam's funeral and Willie's funeral, Jack spends some time in

Burden's Landing, spending his days quietly with Anne. They never discuss

Willie's death or Adam's death; instead they sit wordlessly together, or

Jack reads aloud from a book. Then one day Jack begins to wonder how Adam

learned about Anne and Willie's afiair. He asks her, but she says she does

not know-- a man called and told him, but she does not know who it was.

Jack goes to visit Sadie Burke in the sanitarium where she has gone to

recover her nerves. She tells Jack that Tiny Dufiy (now the governor of the

state) was the man who called Adam; and she confesses that Tiny learned

about the afiair from her. She was so angry about Willie leaving her to go

back to Lucy that she told Tiny out of revenge, knowing that, by doing so,

she was all but guaranteeing Willie's death. Jack blames Tiny rather than

Sadie, and Sadie agrees to make a statement which Jack can use to bring

about Tiny's downfall.

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