• 2,99 €

Publisher Description

Robert Penn Warren often resisted critics' suggestions that All the King's Men was strictly a "political" novel. Warren insisted that "politics provided only a framework for the action carrying the story deeper concerns, primarily the theme of power embodied in a man who confuses ends and means (Grimshaw 25). In this sense, politics provided Warren with an appropriate arena for Willie Stark's rise to power by virtue of the politician's genius for manipulating the legislative system to which he belongs. His authority is contingent upon the faith the common people invest in him, and he uses that authority to achieve the heights of success through whatever methods possible. Interestingly, Warren sets in motion an analogy to this process in his portrayal of Willie's son Tom as the All-American college football hero. The Tom Stark subplot not only initiates a chain of events that effects Willie's fall from power, but it also functions as a thematic parallel to the story of Willie Stark. Warren shows how the son becomes "merely an extension of the father" (Warren 365) by exploring the central themes of power, community, demagogic heroism, and a single-minded ethos of success within the context of Tom's football career. The sporting arena thus presents Warren with another occasion for the depiction of both the power inevitably endowed in the representative of the community and the corrupting taint of the communal hero's success. Both Willie and Tom are the people's champions in that the community "elects" them to be the vessels through which its own visions of glory will be realized. Willie, for instance, gains popularity by appealing to the crowds as the local boy made good. He is "one of them" and, in true demagogic fashion, continually reminds the citizens that he belongs to them and exists among them:

March 22
Sports Literature Association

More Books by Aethlon: The Journal of Sport Literature