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The Great Twitch Theory In All The King's Men

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Robert Penn Warren is not a Christian but a seeker (Warren et al. 204). He succumbs to his Christian youth by integrating Christian themes into the political rhetoric in a morally inept society in his fiction. The south in All the King’s Men is corrupt and missing the traditional theme of being motivated by Christianity. There is underlying theme of moral ineptness and this could be a direct representation of the sorrowful regrets of Warren when he reflects on his own young adulthood. Warren’s own daughter reflects on her own experience with his belief: “One of the very first phrases I heard, or remember, was ‘Original Sin.’ That was pounded into my ears. He was constantly joking about it, but it meant he believed in it” (Blotner 372–373).…show more content…
Was all. But, having left that otherwise unremarkable man, it occurred to me, as I reflected upon the thing which made him remarkable, that if the twitch was all, what was it that could know the twitch was all? . . . . . . . . That the twitch can know that the twitch is all. Then, having found that out, in the mystic vision, you feel clean and free. You are at one with the Great Twitch. (All the Kings Men 438-439)

Initially Jack uses the Great Twitch theory to explain away the events in his life that are beyond his control. The death of Judge Irwin, Adam Stanton, and Willie Stark are easily analyzed by the facts surrounding their deaths, yet Jack in his contemplation realizes there is a greater power in place and abandons his own Great Twitch theory:

There was, in fact, a time when he came to believe that nobody had any responsibility for anything and there was no god but the Great Twitch. . . . But later, much later, he woke up one morning to discover that he did not believe in the Great Twitch anymore. He did not believe in it because he had seen too many people live and die. . . . He had seen his father die. He had seen his friend Adam Stanton die. He had seen his friend Willie Stark die. . ..(All the King’s Men
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