All The King's Men Literary Analysis

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Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men contains a plethora of ubiquitous themes and tropes; it espouses disparate motifs such as corruption, fragmentation, and nihilism. However, the most conspicuous subject that is touched upon is that of the Judeo-Christian tradition. The paramount thematic concepts of Christian theology throughout the novel are explicated by use of literary devices such as diction, imagery, and tone; moreover, these convictions are hypostatized through Willie Stark, Jack Burden, and Tiny Duffy.
In the first instance, one can see apposite connections with cut-throat governor Willie Stark and the benevolent Son of God: Jesus Christ. As Mark Mitchell observes, “Willie's meteoric rise to power begins with a tragedy. A school was shoddily built because the corrupt county government gave the job to a corrupt contractor...Some big time operatives see their chance to split their opponent's vote by recruiting this newly redeemed man who some
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Jack Burden, a narrator with an unprecedented ambition. “Necessity for a character of a higher degree of self-consciousness than my politician, a character to serve as a kind of commentator and raisonneur and chorus,” Interposed Warren on the addition of Burden (Bohner). One can truly appreciate the complexity of Jack’s character as a traipsing—almost omnipotent— narrator in the opulent passages of chapter three: “I felt like God brooding on History,” Burden declares; “...I could see a little chunk of History...there (pg. 215).” By his exploitation of metaphor, Warren shrewdly illustrates how Burden is the mediator between the reader and the fictional world; moreover; the analogy between God and Burden shows the reader’s unattached relation with the novel’s story. Burden’s collation of his situation with that of God’s ‘brooding’ scrutinization of history conjures a range of esoteric and abstruse
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