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Free Study Guide-All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren-Free Book Notes
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After attending the funeral of the Boss, Jack Burden goes back to the Landing. His mother is out of town, so he makes himself comfortable in the house. He visits Anne and starts spending his time with her. During one of his visits, he gets to know from her that the mysterious caller who had spoken to Adam was a man. With this clue, he goes to meet Sadie Burke who is recuperating in a Sanatorium. Initially she refuses to answer his questions, but later reveals about her involvement in the affair. She had asked Tiny Duffy to inform Adam about the affair between Stark and Anne. She promises to give a statement against Tiny Duffy and herself as conspirators in provoking Adam against the Boss. Jack meets Tiny and threatens to charge him for the murder of the Boss.

In the meantime, Sadie sends a written statement but hints at the futility of pursuing the matter. Jack realizes his own limitations and thus, changes his decision to expose Tiny Duffy. Later, he meets Sugar Boy but does not tell him about Tiny Duffy and his role in killing Stark. He realizes the futility of exposing others and acting in a revengeful manner. However, the thought that he is no different from the others in his attitude, makes him bitter.

After a short hibernation, he goes to meet Lucy. She is contented rearing Sibylís child and remembers Stark and Tom nostalgically. Later, he goes to meet his mother who is on the point of leaving Burdenís Landing forever. She discloses how she had loved no one else other than Monty Irwin. The realization makes her go away from Theodore after gifting her house to him. She bids him goodbye after promising to keep in touch with him. Jack renews his friendship with Anne and later, marries her. They start living in the house of Irwin. They invite the Scholarly Attorney to live with them. Jack contemplates on finishing his thesis on Cass Mastern. He also decides to vacate the house after the death of the Attorney and shift to a distant place. However, he promises to keep in touch with his past by visiting the Landing once in a while.


This chapter fittingly concludes the novel by filling the gaps in the life of the protagonists. Jack Burden comes to understand himself while probing into the secrets of othersí lives.

Jack had never understood his past and this had made him insecure about the present. He had never really understood his mother or the Scholarly Attorney and their actions had puzzled him. Thus when the Scholarly Attorney had suddenly disappeared from their life, he had been confused and had relied on his motherís word for it. He had been angry with the Attorney for deserting them. Now he understands why the old man had walked out of their life. Both his friend and his wife had deceived him and the disillusionment had made him bitter. His mother had married many other men after the Scholarly Attorney had gone away because she had felt rejected. However, she could be happy with none of them because she had always loved Monty Irwin. These revelations about his parents make Jack confident and secure. The past no more appears unpalatable to him. Thus he renews his relationship with Anne and the Scholarly Attorney. He also decides to complete his thesis on Cass Mastern.

In the past, Jack had pursued truth unmindful of the consequences. He had always regarded himself as righteous by probing into the truth about others but after the death of Irwin, he feels guilty to have hastened the death of a respectable man because of his pursuit of truth. However, his spirit of curiosity overtakes him again, when he learns that a man had informed Adam about the affair between Stark and Anne. He tracks down Sadie and after ascertaining the truth from her about Tinyís involvement in the affair, he pins down on Duffy. However, he stops pursuing the matter any further when it strikes him that he could not absolve himself of blame by blaming others. Also by accusing others, he could not resolve the matter amicably. He realizes that Tiny Duffy had in fact acted in a human manner, in retaliation to the behavior of Boss and was in no way different from his own.

Once Jack understands his past and himself, he feels prepared to face the present. So he meets Anne and gets married to her. They live at the Landing and lead a life of contentment. They also bring the Scholarly Attorney to live with them with a view to provide him company and solace in old age. This is also a way of making amends for Jack as he later tries to help Miss Littlepaugh but is unable to find her. To assuage his guilty conscience, he decides to vacate the house after the death of the Attorney. He plans to start life afresh with Anne in a new place. However, he promises to visit the Landing occasionally in order to remember the past. Thus Jack comes to terms with life.

The other character who adjusts to her situation is Lucy. After the death of Willie and Tom, her human bonds are severed but Lucy does not desert life. Instead, she tries to renew it by adopting Sibylís child and bringing it up in memory of her husband and child. She finds a meaning to her life by taking care of the child and showering it with her love. The end of the novel thus shows the characters enlightened. They are able to gather together the loose threads of their life to make it meaningful.

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