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Free Study Guide-All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren-Free Book Notes
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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES

CHAPTER 6

Summary

When Jack Burden reports for duty, he finds Willie Stark in a dilemma. His son, Tom had met with an accident while speeding in his car with his girl friend. The girlís father who is the owner of a Trucking firm threatens to take action against Tom. Willie is disturbed but resolves the situation before long. Lucy is unhappy about Tomís activities and expresses concern. Willie does not share her views, as he wants Tom to experience life.

Later, Willie Stark announces his decision to build a good hospital with a clean image. He wants Adam Stanton to take charge of the Medical center as its Director. He sends Jack to persuade Adam to take up the job. At first, Jack finds it difficult to convince his friend to accept the offer as Adam refuses to work for an unscrupulous politician like Willie Stark. When persuasion fails, Jack resorts to harder tactics. He rips apart the conscience of Adam by exposing the shady deal involving both Governor Stanton and Judge Irwin years ago. Adam comes round and agrees to work for Stark.

Notes

The revelations in the chapter shock and hurt the central characters of the novel. The chapter opens with the news of the accident of Tom Stark and the scandal attached to it. Willie is shocked to hear the news and Lucy is perturbed about Tomís condition. Willie has to cope with not only the pain of anxiety but also the threat posed by the girlís father. However, to his relief the matter is resolved to everyoneís satisfaction.


Jack as the representative of the boss and later, Anne goes to persuade Adam to accept the job at the Medical Center. When Adam refuses to listen to reason, Jack stirs the conscience of his friend. He exposes the shady past of both Governor Stanton and Judge Irwin and shocks his friend. Adamís moral outlook gets shaken and he decides to confront reality. Thus he accepts the offer made by the Boss out of compulsion and not interest.

Another significant revelation made in the chapter is about the affair between Anne Stanton and Willie Stark. Through logical reasoning, Jack becomes aware of the relationship between his girlfriend and his Boss. After meeting Sadie, his suspicion is confirmed. Anne had befriended Willie while seeking his help for running a school and the friendship had turned into an affair. The revelation shocks both Jack and Sadie.

Sadie takes the news badly and voices her protest loudly. She had always been possessive about Willie Stark even though she had been aware of the existence of Lucy. In the past, she had been infuriated by Willieís flirtations with other girls. Now, when she becomes aware of the relationship between Anne and Willie she curses both of them. Whenever she notices Willie turning towards other women, she feels insecure.

Unlike Sadie, Jack Burden does not openly express his feelings. He is hurt but he keeps his emotions in check. He had always loved Anne and had even contemplated marriage to her in the past. He had felt secure about the affection of Anne. Thus when he hears about her affair with his Boss, he feels disturbed. However, he does not curse her but goes to meet her to ascertain the facts.

The energy, vitality and commanding presence of Willie Stark makes him attractive to women. Lucy is a sensible woman with a sturdy conscience but she marries Willie. Sadie Burke is crude, imposing and out spoken but she falls for the charm of Stark. Anne is refined and sophisticated but she too gets attracted to Willie Stark. All these women seem to be lured by Willieís boyish charm and manly vigor.

The chapter reveals the positive aspects of the character of Willie Stark. Beneath his arrogance, he hides a sensitive heart, which makes him build a good hospital for the benefit of the common man. It is this same heart which makes him choose the honest and devoted Adam to run the hospital. He wants the hospital to be a model institution providing the best facilities and medical treatment. He decides to keep the image of the hospital clean. This is the reason why he refuses to grant the contract for the building of the hospital to Gummy Larson.

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