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Free Study Guide-All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren-Free Book Notes
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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES

CHAPTER 7

Summary

After realization dawns about the relationship between Willie and Anne, Jack feels stunned. Unable to come to grips with the situation, he runs away to the west. Aimlessly driving past cities, he halts only when he feels the need to take rest. All the while, his mind is occupied with the thoughts of Anne. He remembers the happy days when they were together and in love. As children they had played together and attended the church. He had enjoyed the company of both Anne and Adam. When he was twenty-one, he had met her again. She was seventeen at that time and had bloomed into a beautiful maiden. Jack had loved being with her and the two had spent many evenings together. They would take long walks and drives and go for swim. They had shared intimate moments. He was in love with her and she had reciprocated his affection. However, when he had proposed to her, she had asked him to wait till he settled down in life. He had felt hurt and had gone back to the university. Later, he taken up a job as a reporter and fallen in love with Lois before getting married to her. Lois was attractive but she was too refined and snobbish for his liking. Thus he had left her by walking out of their house. He had kept in touch with Anne.

Jack Burden comes out of his reverie when he is reminded of the present. The thought of Anne and Stark being together revolts him. However, when he analyses his thoughts he feels partly responsible for Anneís betrayal. He had never really possessed Anne, so it was pointless to feel dejected about her desertion. The realization enlightens him and he feels prepared to face his world.


Notes

This chapter once again takes the readers into the past of Jack Burden. The previous chapters had revealed in flashes the different phases of Burdenís past. This chapter tells about his relationship with Anne Stanton. It traces their life from their childhood to past youth. As children Adam, Anne and Jack were neighbors and friends who loved having fun together. As they grew up, they had become more than friends. Adam was a valuable companion and Anne a refreshing partner. Jack had started noticing the youthful beauty of Anne when she was hardly seventeen. He had spent blissful moments with her. They had become physically intimate, only stopping short of having a sexual intercourse. Anne had cared for him but she was hesitant to marry him. She had wanted him to pursue a career before settling down. Thus they had drifted apart but Jack had remembered her often.

The chapter reveals the shortcomings of Jack, which makes him the man he is. Jack lacks the drive and ambition to prove himself in life. He is a drifter who takes life as it comes. It is this lack of conviction in Jack that keeps back Anne from marrying Burden. As the daughter of an ambitious and hard-working gentleman, she wants her life-partner to be someone she can look up to. Since Jack shows no desire to establish himself in life, she postpones marrying him. She gets attracted to other men but does not marry them because she still cares for Jack. She gets drawn to Willie Stark because of his vigor and zest for life.

It is ironical that the people, who have been close to Jack and had mattered in his life, stab him behind his back, though unwittingly. He had always loved Anne and helped her in difficulty. He had looked up to Willie Stark and acted according to his suggestions. However, both Anne and Willie let him down by entering into a secret relationship.

Jack is an escapist. He had always tried to run away from his problems. After his mother had remarried, he had left home to study abroad. Later, when Anne refuses his proposal, he goes away to complete his studies and keeps a distance from her. When he gets fed up with Lois, he walks out of their house. When the study of Cass Mastern disturbs him, he abandons his research work. When he finds out about Anne and Willie, he leaves town to go to West. He finds it hard to confront his problems directly and sort them out.

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