Ideas for Reports and Papers

1. Throughout the novel Jack seems to have been telling Willie Stark’s story, but in the end the reader learns that the story equally belongs to Jack. Retrace the events in the novel to show how Jack changes more than Willie.

2. Robert Penn Warren claims that he never researched the facts about Huey Long’s life but that he lived the legend of Huey Long when he taught at Louisiana State University. Research Long’s career and compare the facts to the events of the novel.

3. While studying for his master’s degree at the University of California, Warren became ardently interested in Jacobean drama-the product of an age that marked the rise of cynicism in European thought. Research the characteristics of Jacobean drama, and show how All the King’s Men follows that tradition in literature.

4. Read The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner and compare it to All the King’s Men.

5. Some critics believe that Warren is the most significant poet of his time and that he will someday be remembered as a poet who happened to write novels. Read his narrative poem Brothers to Dragons and analyze the similarities to and differences from his fiction.

6. Along with John Crowe Ransom, Cleanth Brooks, Allen Tate, and others, Warren was responsible for founding one of the most important literary movements of this century, called “new criticism” or “formalism.” Read parts of Warren’s textbooks Understanding Poetry and Understanding Fiction, and research and report on this movement.

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