All the King's Men | Study Guide

Robert Penn Warren

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All the King's Men | Section Summaries

See Section Summaries Chart

Timeline of Events

  • Kentucky, 1854

    Duncan Trice shoots himself because of Cass Mastern's affair with his wife.

    Chapter 4
  • Mississippi, 1856

    Realizing the suffering he has caused, Cass frees his slaves.

    Chapter 4
  • Burden's Landing, 1918

    Jack Burden and Anne Stanton fall in love.

    Chapter 7
  • State university, 1920

    Jack researches his great-uncle Cass Mastern for his dissertation.

    Chapter 4
  • State university, 1921

    Cass Mastern's writings unsettle Jack; he quits school and enters his first Great Sleep.

    Chapter 4
  • Upton, 1926

    Willie Stark transforms from a naive politician to a corrupt, dynamic one.

    Chapter 2
  • Unnamed state, 1930

    Willie wins election as governor and hires Jack.

    Chapter 2
  • Unnamed state, 1933

    Willie defeats an impeachment attempt.

    Chapter 3
  • Burden's Landing, 1936

    Willie tells Jack to unearth a scandal on Judge Irwin.

    Chapter 1
  • Unnamed state, 1937

    Jack discovers a scandal about Judge Irwin and Governor Stanton.

    Chapter 5
  • State capital, 1937

    Jack tells Anne Stanton about her father's scandal.

    Chapter 6
  • A few days later

    Anne tells her brother, Adam, about the scandal, which convinces him to run the hospital for Willie.

    Chapter 6
  • State capital, 1937

    Jack learns that Anne is having an affair with Willie.

    Chapter 6
  • California, 1937

    Jack develops his theory to block the pain of Anne's affair with Willie.

    Chapter 7
  • Burden's Landing, 1937

    Jack uses the Littlepaugh scandal to convince Judge Irwin to support Willie.

    Chapter 8
  • The next morning

    Having learned the judge killed himself, Jack's mother admits that the judge is Jack's father.

    Chapter 8
  • State capital, 1937

    Tom is paralyzed by football injury; Willie reneges on a hospital contract and angers Tiny Duffy.

    Chapter 9
  • Soon after

    Adam learns of Anne's affair with Willie; he assassinates Willie and is killed.

    Chapter 9
  • Burden's Landing, 1938

    Jack's mother admits her mistakes and love for the judge, which gives Jack peace of mind.

    Chapter 10
  • Burden's Landing, 1939

    Jack reveals that he has married Anne and is writing about Cass Mastern.

    Chapter 10

Section Summaries Chart

Section Summary
Chapter 1 The novel begins with an epigraph in Italian: Mentre che la speranza ha fior del verde. The verse, which comes from Cant... Read More
Chapter 2 Jack Burden recalls a newspaper assignment he received many years ago, which involved checking out a bond issue about bu... Read More
Chapter 3 While working for Willie during his first term as governor, Jack Burden visits his mother at home. His mother expresses ... Read More
Chapter 4 Jack Burden remembers when he was a graduate student studying American history and living with two other graduate studen... Read More
Chapter 5 Jack returns to the present-day story. After Willie threatens to dig up dirt on Judge Irwin, Jack and Willie drive from ... Read More
Chapter 6 Jack recalls that before he went to see Miss Littlepaugh, Willie's son, Tom, had a car crash, but his father covered up ... Read More
Chapter 7 After Jack Burden learns that Anne Stanton is having an affair with Willie, Jack drives to Long Beach, California, where... Read More
Chapter 8 As Jack drives back East, he picks up a hitchhiker; the man has a facial twitch. This twitch is, to Jack, the perfect na... Read More
Chapter 9 Willie meets with Jack Burden and asks him why Judge Irwin committed suicide if he wasn't scared by the scandal. Jack sa... Read More
Chapter 10 After Willie's funeral Jack Burden goes to Burden's Landing to see Anne Stanton. A few days earlier Anne had attended Ad... Read More
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