A Burdensome Setting

1684 Words7 Pages
How important is setting in a novel about corruption, politics, and passion? In Robert Penn Warren’s novel, All the King’s Men, location is everything. Although the direct setting of the novel is unknown, historical parallel reveals Louisiana as the backdrop to this story. Jack Burden, narrator of Warren’s novel, takes the reader on a non-linear journey. Jack’s success in studying history and newspaper has an advantage in presenting the story in such a vivid way (Bloom 42). However, the story would be bland without the various settings that directly correlate with characters’ thoughts and actions. Harold Bloom, Sterling Professor of the Humanities at Yale University, writes “It occurs in an American world that is shown in beautifully precise detail, a world of country farmhouses and county court houses and small-town hotels, of pool halls and slum apartments and the ‘foul, fox-smelling liars’ of cheap rooming houses, of places at Burden’s Landing and the Governor’s mansion and the state capital, of country fairgrounds and city football stadiums and endless highways.” This extensive list of the novel’s setting is meaningless without the characters that live and travel within them. In Warren’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel, the use of setting is important in revealing characters’, especially Jack Burden and Willie Stark’s, personal opinions and struggles. Burden’s Landing, Jack’s family’s namesake town, is the site in which he grows up and frequently visits. Named in remembrance of his grandfather’s success and popularity among the community, Jack calls the Landing his home during both school-year and summertime while a child, but the summertime in Burden’s Landing pleased him the most. His friends Adam and Anne Stanton wo... ... middle of paper ... ...tions, and has finally taken Anne for his own. Works Cited Blair, John. “’The Lie We Must Learn to Live By’: Honor and Tradition in ‘All the King’s Men.’” Rev. of All the King’s Men . Studies in the Novel 25.4 (1993): 457+. Questia Online Library. Web. 7 Dec. 2011. Bloom, Harold, ed. Modern Critical Interpretations: Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men. New York : Chelsea House Publisher, 1987. Questia Online Library. Web. 7 Dec. 2011. Ferriss, Lucy. “Sleeping with the boss: female subjectivity in Robert Penn Warren’s fiction.” The Mississippi Quarterly 48 (1994): n. pag. Questia Online Library. Web. 7 Dec. 2011. Gianos, Phillip L. Politics and Politicians in American Film . Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 1998. Questia Online Library. Web. 7 Dec. 2011. Warren, Robert Penn. All the King’s Men. Second Harvest ed. Orlando: Harcourt Books, 1996. Print.
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