Many people — students and critics alike — have some difficulty with this fourth chapter of All the King's Men. The reason for this difficulty is that the story of Cass Mastern is told in this chapter, and this story has nothing to do, directly, with the story of Willie Stark. If this novel is read strictly as the story of Willie Stark, then this chapter is, indeed, a flaw in the novel. To read the novel in that way would, however, be a serious error. Such a reading would relegate Jack Burden to the status of being only a mere narrator, and he is much more than that. At the very least, Jack Burden and Willie Stark stand as equally important main characters.A case can even be made for considering Jack Burden as the sole central character of All the King's Men; we certainly learn far more about him in the course of the novel than we do about Willie Stark.
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