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All the King's Men Themes & Topics

This Study Guide consists of approximately 116 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of All the King's Men.
This section contains 709 words
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Thematic Overview

History, the drama of conflicting ideas and forces in politics and society, brings about the fatal collision of Willie Stark, the "man of fact," and Adam Stanton, the "man of idea." Warren's novel suggests that both the pragmatist and the idealist are merely actors whose choices often produce ironic and tragic consequences.

Although the action of the novel focuses on Willie Stark and the results of his manipulations, the central theme is Jack Burden's search for values and faith in the meaning of life. Burden's life, at the beginning of the novel, has been a series of disappointments: his father, Ellis Burden, the "Scholarly Attorney," is a futile and beaten failure; his mother is domineering and sexually promiscuous; his adolescent romantic idyll with Anne Stanton has ended in frustration; his years as a graduate student in history have produced only a failed dissertation because of his inability to...

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This section contains 709 words
(approx. 3 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our All the King's Men Study Guide
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All the King's Men from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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