Short Summaries of the Books

Like other national literatures, American literature was shaped by the history of the country that produced it. For almost a century and a half, America was merely a group of colonies scattered along the eastern seaboard of the North American continent–colonies from which a few hardy souls tentatively ventured westward. After a successful rebellion against the motherland, America became the United States, a nation. By the end of the 19th century this nation extended southward to the Gulf of Mexico, northward to the 49th parallel, and westward to the Pacific. By the end of the 19th entury, too, it had taken its place among the powers of the world–its fortunes so interrelated with those of other nations that inevitably it became involved in two world wars and, following these conflicts, with the problems of Europe and East Asia. Meanwhile, the rise of science and industry, as well as changes in ways of think-ing and feeling, wrought many modifications in people’s lives. All these factors in the development of the United States molded the literature of the country. The 17th century American literature at first was naturally a colonial literature, by authors who were Englishmen and who thought and wrote as such.

John Smith, a soldier of fortune, is credited with initiating American literature. His chief books included A True Relation of . . . Virginia . . . (1608) and The generall Historie of Virginia, New England, and the Summer Isles (1624). Although these volumes often glorified their author, they were avowedly written to explain colonizing opportunities to Englishmen. In time, each colony was similarly described: Daniel Denton’s Brief Description of New York (1670), William Penn’s Brief Account of the Province of Pennsylvania (1682), and Thomas Ashe’s Carolina (1682) were only a few of many works praising America as a land of economic promise.

Such writers acknowledged British allegiance, but others stressed the differences of opinion that spurred the colonists to leave their homeland. More important, they argued questions of government involving the relationship between church and state. The attitude that most authors attacked was jauntily set forth by Nathaniel Ward of Massachusetts Bay in The Simple Cobler of Aggawam in America (1647). Ward amusingly defended the status quo and railed at colonists who sponsored newfangled notions.

A variety of counterarguments to such a conservative view were published. John Winthrop’s Journal (written 1630-49) told sympathetically of the attempt of Massachusetts Bay Colony to form a theocracy–a state with God at its head and with its laws based upon the Bible. Later defenders of the theocratic ideal were Increase Mather and his son Cotton. William Bradford’s History of Plymouth Plantation (through 1646) showed how his pilgrim Separatists broke completely with Anglicanism.

Even more radical than Bradford was Roger Williams, who, in a series of controversial pamphlets, advocated not only the separation of church and state but also the vesting of power in the people and the tolerance of different religious beliefs. The utilitarian writings of the 17th century included biographies, treatises, accounts of voyages, and sermons. There were few achievements in drama or fiction, since there was a widespread prejudice against these forms. Bad but popular poetry appeared in the Bay Psalm Book of 1640 and in Michael Wigglesworth’s summary in doggerel verse of Calvinistic belief, The Day of Doom (1662).

There was some poetry, at least, of a higher order. Anne Bradstreet of Massachusetts wrote some lyrics published in The Tenth Muse (1650), which movingly conveyed her feelings concerning religion and her family. Ranked still higher by modern critics is a poet whose works were not discovered and published until 1939: Edward Taylor, an English-born minister and physician who lived in Boston and Westfield, Massachusetts. Less touched by gloom than the typical Puritan, Taylor wrote lyrics that showed his delight in Christian belief and experience. All 17th-century American writings were in the manner of British writings of the same period.

John Smith wrote in the tradition of geographic literature, Bradford echoed the cadences of the King James Bible, while the Mathers and Roger Williams wrote bejeweled prose typical of the day. Anne Bradstreet’s poetic style derived from a long line of British poets, including Spenser and Sidney, while Taylor was in the tra-dition of such Metaphysical poets as George Herbert and John Donne. Both the content and form of the literature of this first century in America were thus markedly English. The 18th century In America in the early years of the 18th century, some writers, such as Cotton Mather, carried on the older traditions.

His huge history and biography of Puritan New England, Magnalia Christi Americana, in 1702, and his vigorous Manuductio ad Ministerium, or introduction to the ministry, in 1726, were defenses of ancient Puritan convictions. Jonathan Edwards, initiator of the Great Awakening, a religious revival that stirred the eastern seacoast for many years, eloquently defended his burning belief in Calvin-istic doctrine–of the concept that man, born totally depraved, could attain virtue and salvation only through God’s grace–in his powerful sermons and most notably in the philosophical treatise Freedom of Will (1754).

He supported his claims by relating them to a complex metaphysical system and by reason-ing brilliantly in clear and often beautiful prose. But Mather and Edwards were defending a doomed cause. Liberal New England ministers such as John Wise and Jonathan Mayhew moved toward a less rigid religion. Samuel Sewall heralded other changes in his amusing Diary, covering the years 1673-1729. Though sincerely religious, he showed in daily records how commercial life in New England replaced rigid Puritanism with more worldly attitudes.

The Journal of Mme Sara Knight comically detailed a journey that lady took to New York in 1704. She wrote vividly of what she saw and commented upon it from the standpoint of an orthodox believer, but a quality of levity in her witty writings showed that she was much less fervent than the Pilgrim founders had been. In the South, William Byrd of Virginia, an aristocratic plantation owner, contrasted sharply with gloomier predecessors.

His record of a surveying trip in 1728, The History of the Dividing Line, and his account of a visit to his frontier properties in 1733, A Journey to the Land of Eden, were his chief works. Years in England, on the Continent, and among the gentry of the South had created gaiety and grace of expression, and, although a devout Anglican, Byrd was as playful as the Restoration wits whose works he clearly admired. The wrench of the American Revolution emphasized differences that had been growing between American and British political concepts.

As the colonists moved to the belief that rebellion was inevitable, fought the bitter war, and worked to found the new nation’s government, they were influenced by a number of very effective political writers, such as Samuel Adams and John Dickinson, both of whom favoured the colonists, and Loyalist Joseph Galloway. But two figures loomed above these–Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine. Franklin, born in 1706, had started to publish his writings in his brother’s newspaper, the New England Courant, as early as 1722.

This newspaper championed the cause of the “Leather Apron” man and the farmer and appealed by using easily understood language and practical arguments. The idea that common sense was a good guide was clear in both the popular Poor Richard’s almanac, which Franklin edited between 1732 and 1757 and filled with prudent and witty aphorisms purportedly written by uneducated but experienced Richard Saunders, and in the author’s Autobiography, written between 1771 and 1788, a record of his rise from humble circumstances that offered worldly wise suggestions for future success.

Franklin’s self-attained culture, deep and wide, gave substance and skill to varied articles, pamphlets, and reports that he wrote concerning the dispute with Great Britain, many of them extremely effective in stating and shaping the colonists’ cause. Thomas Paine went from his native England to Philadelphia and became a magazine editor and then, about 14 months later, the most effective propagandist for the colonial cause. His pamphlet “Common Sense” (January 1776) did much to influence the colonists to declare their inde-pendence. The American Crisis” papers (December 1776-December 1783) spurred Americans to fight on through the blackest years of the war. Based upon Paine’s simple deistic beliefs, they showed the conflict as a stirring melodrama with the angelic colonists against the forces of evil. Such white and black picturings were highly effective propaganda. Another reason for Paine’s success was his poetic fervour, which found expression in impassioned words and phrases long to be remembered and quoted. The 19th century Early 19th-century literature

After the American Revolution, and increasingly after the War of 1812, American writers were ex-horted to produce a literature that was truly native. As if in response, four authors of very respectable stature appeared. William Cullen Bryant, Washington Irving, James Fenimore Cooper, and Edgar Allan Poe initiated a great half century of literary development. Bryant, a New Englander by birth, attracted at-tention in his 23rd year when the first version of his poem “Thanatopsis” (1817) appeared. This, as well as some later poems, was written under the influence of English 18th-century poets.

Still later, however, under the influence of Wordsworth and other Romantics, he wrote nature lyrics that vividly represented the New England scene. Turning to journalism, he had a long career as a fighting liberal editor of The Evening Post. He himself was overshadowed, in renown at least, by a native-born New Yorker, Wash-ington Irving. Irving, youngest member of a prosperous merchant family, joined with ebullient young men of the town in producing the Salmagundi papers (1807-08), which took off the foibles of Manhattan’s citi-zenry.

This was followed by A History of New York (1809), by “Diedrich Knickerbocker,” a burlesque his-tory that mocked pedantic scholarship and sniped at the old Dutch families. Irving’s models in these works were obviously Neoclassical English satirists, from whom he had learned to write in a polished, bright style. Later, having met Sir Walter Scott and having become acquainted with imaginative German literature, he introduced a new Romantic note in The Sketch Book (1819-20), Bracebridge Hall (1822), and other works.

He was the first American writer to win the ungrudging (if somewhat surprised) respect of British critics. James Fenimore Cooper won even wider fame. Following the pattern of Sir Walter Scott’s “Waverley” novels, he did his best work in the “Leatherstocking” tales (1823-41), a five-volume series celebrating the career of a great frontiersman named Natty Bumppo. His skill in weaving history into inventive plots and in characterizing his compatriots brought him acclaim not only in America and England but on the continent of Europe as well.

Edgar Allan Poe, reared in the South, lived and worked as an author and editor in Baltimore, Philadelphia, Richmond, and New York City. His work was shaped largely by analytical skill that showed clearly in his role as an editor: time after time he gauged the taste of readers so accurately that circulation figures of magazines under his direction soared impressively. It showed itself in his critical essays, wherein he lucidly explained and logically applied his criteria. His gothic tales of terror were written in accordance with his findings when he studied the most popular magazines of the day.

His masterpieces of terror–“The Fall of the House of Usher” (1839), “The Masque of the Red Death” (1842), “The Cask of Amontillado” (1846), and others–were written according to a carefully worked out psychological method. So were his detective stories, such as “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” (1841), which historians credited as the first of the genre. As a poet, he achieved fame with “The Raven” (1845). His work, especially his critical writings and carefully crafted poems, had perhaps a greater influence in France, where they were translated by Charles Baudelaire, than in his own coun-try.

Two Southern novelists were also outstanding in the earlier part of the century: John Pendleton Ken-nedy and William Gilmore Simms. In Swallow Barn (1832), Kennedy wrote delightfully of life on the plan-tations. Simms’s forte was the writing of historical novels like those of Scott and Cooper, which treated the history of the frontier and his native South Carolina. The Yemassee (1835) and Revolutionary ro-mances show him at his best. The 20th century Writing from 1914 to 1945

Important movements in drama, poetry, fiction, and criticism took form in the years before, during, and after World War I. The eventful period that followed the war left its imprint upon books of all kinds. Literary forms of the period were extraordinarily varied, and in drama, poetry, and fiction leading authors tended toward radical technical experiments. Experiments in dramaAlthough drama had not been a major art form in the 19th century, no type of writing was more experimental than a new drama that arose in rebellion against the glib commercial stage.

In the early years of the 20th century, Americans traveling in Europe encountered a vital, flourishing theatre; returning home, some of them became active in founding the Little Theatre movement throughout the country. Freed from commercial limitations, playwrights experimented with dramatic forms and methods of production, and in time producers, actors, and dramatists appeared who had been trained in college classrooms and community playhouses. Some Little Theatre groups became commercial producers–for example, the Washington Square Players, founded in 1915, which became the Theatre Guild (first production in 1919).

The resulting drama was marked by a spirit of innovation and by a new seriousness and maturity. Eugene O’Neill, the most admired dramatist of the period, was a product of this movement. He worked with the Provincetown Players before his plays were commercially produced. His dramas were remarkable for their range. Beyond the Horizon (first performed 1920), Anna Christie (1921), Desire Under the Elms (1924), and The Iceman Cometh (1946) were naturalistic works, while The Emperor Jones (1920) and The Hairy Ape (1922) made use of the Expressionistic techniques developed in German drama in the period 1914-24.

He also employed a stream-of-consciousness form in Strange Interlude (1928) and produced a work that combined myth, family drama, and psychological analysis in Mourning Becomes Electra (1931). No other dramatist was as generally praised as O’Neill, but many others wrote plays that reflected the growth of a serious and varied drama, including Maxwell Anderson, whose verse dramas have dated badly, and Robert E. Sherwood, a Broadway professional who wrote both comedy (Reunion in Vienna [1931]) and tragedy (There Shall Be No Night [1940]).

Marc Connelly wrote touching fantasy in a Negro folk biblical play, The Green Pastures (1930). Like O’Neill, Elmer Rice made use of both Expressionistic techniques (The Adding Machine [1923]) and naturalism (Street Scene [1929]). Lillian Hellman wrote powerful, well-crafted melodramas in The Children’s Hour (1934) and The Little Foxes (1939). Radical theatre experi-ments included Marc Blitzstein’s savagely satiric musical The Cradle Will Rock (1937) and the work of Orson Welles and John Houseman for the government-sponsored Works Progress Administration (WPA) Federal Theatre Project.

The premier radical theatre of the decade was the Group Theatre (1931-41) under Harold Clurman and Lee Strasberg, which became best known for presenting the work of Clifford Odets. In Waiting for Lefty (1935), a stirring plea for labour unionism, Odets roused the audience to an intense pitch of fervour, and in Awake and Sing (1935), perhaps the best play of the decade, he created a lyrical work of family conflict and youthful yearning. Other important plays by Odets for the Group Theatre were Paradise Lost (1935), Golden Boy (1937), and Rocket to the Moon (1938).

Thornton Wilder used stylized settings and poetic dialogue in Our Town (1938) and turned to fantasy in The Skin of Our Teeth (1942). William Saroyan shifted his lighthearted, anarchic vision from fiction to drama with My Heart’s in the Highlands and The Time of Your Life (both 1939). The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Context Samuel Clemens was born in Missouri in 1835. He grew up in the town of Hannibal, Missouri, which would become the model for St. Petersburg, the fictional town where Huckleberry Finn begins. Missouri was a “slave state” during this period, and Clemens’ family owned a few slaves.

In Missouri, most slaves worked as domestic servants, rather than on the large agricultural plantations that most slaves elsewhere in the United States experi-enced. This domestic slavery is what Twain generally describes in Huckleberry Finn, even when the action occurs in the deep South. The institution of slavery figures prominently in the novel and is important in developing both the theme and the two most important characters, Huck and Jim. Twain received a brief formal education, before going to work as an apprentice in a print shop. He would lat-er find work on a steamboat on the Mississippi River.

Twain developed a lasting afiection for the Mississippi and life on a steamboat, and would immortalize both in Life on the Mississippi (1883), and in certain scenes of Tom Sawyer (1876), and Huckleberry Finn (1885). He took his pseudonym, “Mark Twain,” from the call a steamboat worker would make when the ship reached a (safe) depth of two fathoms. Twain would go on to work as a journal-ist in San Francisco and Nevada in the 1860s. He soon discovered his talent as a humorist, and by 1865 his humorous stories were attracting national attention. In 1870, Twain married Olivia Langdon of New York State.

The family moved to Hartford, Connecticut, to a large, ornate house paid for with the royalties from Twain’s successful literary adventures. At Hartford and during stays with Olivia’s family in New York State, Twain wrote The Gilded Age, co-authored with Charles Dudley Warner in 1873 and The Prince and the Pauper (1882), as well as the two books already mentioned. Adventures of Huck-leberry Finn was finally published in 1885. Twain had begun the book years earlier, but the writing was done in spurts of inspiration interrupted by long periods during which the manuscript sat in the author’s desk.

Despite the economic crisis that plagued the United States then, the book became a huge popular and financial success. It would become a classic of American literature and receive acclaim around the world{today it has been published in at least twenty-seven languages. Still, at the time of publication, the author was bothered by the many bad reviews it received in the national press. The book was principally attacked for its alleged indecency. After the 1950s, the chief attacks on the book would be against its alleged racism or racial bigotry.

For various reasons, the book frequently has been banned from US schools and children’s libraries, though it was never really intended as a children’s book. Nonetheless, the book has been widely read ever since its first publication well over a century ago, an exception to Twain’s definition of a classic as “a book which people praise and don’t read. ” Characters Huckleberry Finn { The protagonist and narrator of the novel. Huck is the thirteen or fourteen year-old son of the local drunk in the town of St. Petersburg, Missouri, at the start of the novel.

He is kidnapped by his father, Pap, from the “sivilizing” in uence of the Widow Douglas and Miss Watson, and then fakes his own death to es-cape. He meets Jim on Jackson’s Island. The rest of the novel is largely motivated by two conflicts: the external con ict to achieve Jim’s freedom, and the internal con ict within Huck between his own sense of right and wrong and society’s. Huck has a series of “adventures,” making many observations on human nature and the South as he does. He progressively rejects the values of the dominant society and matures morally as he does.

Jim { A slave who escaped from Miss Watson after she considered selling him down river. He encounters Huck on Jackson’s Island, and the two become friends and spend most of the rest of the novel together. Jim deeply grieves his separation from his wife and two children and dreams of getting them back. He is an intensely human character, perhaps the novel’s most complex. Through his example, Huck learns to appreciate the humanity of black people, overcoming his society’s bigotry and making a break with its moral code. Twain also uses him to demonstrate racial equality.

But Jim himself remains somewhat enigmatic; he seems both comrade and father figure to Huck, though Huck, the youthful narrator, may not be able to thoroughly evaluate his friend, and so the reader has to suppose some of his qualities. The Duke and Dauphin { These two criminals appear for much of the novel. Their real names are never given, but the younger man, about thirty years old, claims to be the Duke of Bridgewater, and is called both “the Duke” and “Bridgewater” in the novel, though for the sake of clarity, he is only called “the Duke” here. The much older man claims to be the son of Louis XVI, the executed French king. Dauphin” was the title given to heirs to the French throne. He is mostly called “the king” in the novel (since his father is dead, he would be the rightful king), though he is called “the Dauphin” in this study guide since the name is more distinctive. The two show themselves to be truly bad when they separate a slave family at the Wilks household, and later sell Jim. Tom Sawyer { Huck’s friend, and the protagonist of Tom Sawyer, the novel for which Huckleberry Finn is ostensibly the sequel. He is in many ways Huck’s foil, given to exotic plans and romantic adventure literature, while Huck is more down-to-earth.

He also turns out to be profoundly selfish. On the whole, Tom is identified with the “civilzation” from which Huck is alienated. Other characters, in order of appearance Widow Douglas and Miss Watson { Two wealthy sisters who live together in a large house in St. Petersburg. Miss Watson is the older sister, gaunt and severe-looking. She also adheres the strongest to the hypocritical religious and ethical values of the dominant society. Widow Douglas, meanwhile, is somewhat gentler in her beliefs and has more patience with the mischievous Huckleberry.

She adopted Huck at the end of the last novel, Tom Sawyer, and he is in her care at the start of Huckleberry Finn. When Miss Watson considers selling Jim down to New Orleans, away from his wife and children and deep into the plantation system, Jim escapes. She eventually repents, making provision in her will for Jim to be freed, and dies two months before the novel ends. Pap { Huckleberry’s father and the town drunk and ne’er- do-well. When he appears at the beginning of the novel, he is a human wreck, his skin a disgusting ghost-like white, and his clothes hopelessly tattered.

Like Huck, he is a member of the least privileged class of whites, and is illiterate. He is angry that his son is getting an educa-tion. He wants to get hold of Huck’s money, presumably to spend it on alcohol. He kidnaps Huck and holds him deep in the woods. When Huck fakes his own murder, Pap is nearly lynched when suspicions turn his way. But he escapes, and Jim eventually finds his dead body on an abandoned houseboat. Judge Thatcher { Judge Thatcher is in charge of safeguarding the money Huck and Tom won at the end of Tom Sawyer. When Huck discovers his father has come to town, he wisely signs his fortune over to the Judge.

Judge Thatcher has a daughter, Becky, whom Huck calls “Bessie. ” Aunt Polly { Tom Sawyer’s aunt and guardian. She appears at the end of Huckleberry Finn and properly identifies Huck, who has pretended to be Tom; and Tom, who has pretended to be his brother, Sid (who never appears in this novel). The Grangerfords { The master of the Grangerford clan is “Colonel”Grangerford, who has a wife. The chil-dren are Bob, the oldest, then Tom, then Charlotte, aged twenty- five, Sophia, twenty, and Buck, the youngest, about thirteen or fourteen.

They also had a deceased daughter, Emme- line, who made unintentionally humorous, maudlin pictures and poems for the dead. Huckleberry thinks the Grangerfords are all physically beautiful. They live on a large estate worked by many slaves. Their house is decked out in humorously tacky finery that Huckleberry innocently admires. The Grangerfords are in a feud with the Shepardsons, though no one can remember the cause of the feud or see any real reason to continue it. When Sophia runs off with a Shepardson, the feud reignites, and Buck and another boy are shot.

With the Grangerfords and the Shepardsons, Twain illustrates the bouts of irrational brutality to which the South was prone. The Wilks Family { The deceased Peter Wilks has three daughters, Mary Jane, Susan, and Joanne (whom Huck calls “the Harelip”). Mary Jane, the oldest, takes charge of the sisters’ afiairs. She is beautiful and kind- hearted, but easily swindled by the Duke and Dauphin. Susan is the next youngest. Joanna possess a cleft palate (a birth defect) and so Huck somewhat tastelessly refers to her as “the Hare Lip” (another name for cleft palate).

She initially suspects Huck and the Duke and Dauphin, but eventually falls for the scheme like the others. The Phelps family { The Phelps family includes Aunt Sally, Uncle Silas and their children. They also own several slaves. Sally and Silas are generally kind-hearted, and Silas in particular is a complete innocent. Tom and Huck are able to continue playing pranks on them for quite some time before they suspect anything is wrong. Sally, however, displays a chilling level of bigotry toward blacks, which many of her fellow Southerners likely share. The town in which they live also cruelly kills the Duke and Dauphin.

With the Phelps, Twain contrasts the good side of Southern civilization with its bad side. Summary Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was finally published in 1885. Twain had begun the book years earlier, but the writing was done in spurts of inspiration interrupted by long periods during which the manuscript sat in the au-thor’s desk. Despite the economic crisis that plagued the United States then, the book became a huge popular and financial success. It would become a classic of American literature and receive acclaim around the world{today it has been published in at least twenty-seven languages.

Still, at the time of publication, the author was bothered by the many bad reviews it received in the national press. The book was principally attacked for its alleged indecency. After the 1950s, the chief attacks on the book would be against its alleged racism or racial bigotry. For various reasons, the book frequently has been banned from US schools and children’s libraries, though it was never really intended as a children’s book. Nonetheless, the book has been widely read ever since its first publication well over a century ago, an exception to Twain’s definition of a classic as “a book which people raise and don’t read. ” Chapter 1 Summary The narrator (later identified as Huckleberry Finn) begins Chapter One by stating that the reader may know of him from another book, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by “Mr. Mark Twain,” but it “ain’t t no matter” if you have not. According to Huck, Twain mostly told the truth, with some “stretchers” thrown in, though everyone{except Tom’s Aunt Polly, the widow, and maybe Mary{lies once in a while. The other book ended with Tom and Huckleber-ry finding the gold some robbers had hidden in a cave.

They got six thousand dollars apiece, which Judge Thatcher put in trust, so that they each got a dollar a day from interest. The Widow Douglas adopted and tried to “civilise” Huck. But Huck couldn’t stand it so he threw on his old rags and ran away. But he went back when Tom Sawyer told him he could join his new band of robbers if he would return to the Widow “and be respectable. ” The Widow lamented over her failure with Huck, tried to stufi him into cramped clothing, and before every meal had to “grumble” over the food before they could eat it. She tried to teach him about Moses, until Huck found out he was dead and lost interest.

Meanwhile, she would not let him smoke; typically, she disapproved of it because she had never tried it, but approved of snufi since she used it herself. Her slim sister who wears glasses, Miss Watson, tried to give him spelling lessons. Meanwhile, Huck was going stir-crazy, made especially restless by the sisters’ constant reminders to im-prove his behavior. When Miss Watson told him about the “bad place,” Hell, he burst out that he would like to go there, as a change of scenery. Secretly, Huck really does not see the point in going to “the good place” and re-solved then not to bother trying to get there.

When Huck asked, Miss Watson told him there was no chance Tom Sawyer would end up in Heaven. Huck was glad “because I wanted him and me to be together. ” One night, after Miss Watson’s prayer session with him and the slaves, Huck goes to bed feeling “so lonesome I wished I was dead. ” He gets shivers hearing the sounds of nature through his window. Huck accidentally icks a spider into a candle, and is frightened by the bad omen. Just after midnight, Huck hears movement below the window, and a “me-yow” sound, that he responds to with another “me-yow. Climbing out the window onto the shed, Huck finds Tom Sawyer waiting for him. Chapters 2-3 Summary Huck and Tom tiptoe through the garden. Huck trips on a root as he passes the kitchen. Jim, a “big” slave, hears him from inside. Tom and Huck crouch down, trying to stay still. But Huck is struck by an uncontrollable itch, as always happens when he is in a situation, like when he’s “with the quality,” where it is bad to scratch. Jim says aloud that he will stay put until he discovers the source of the sound, but after several minutes falls asleep.

Tom plays a trick on Jim{putting his hat on a tree branch over his head{and takes candles from the kitchen, over Huck’s objections that they will risk getting caught. Later, Jim will say that some witches ew him around the state and put the hat above his head as a calling card. He expands the tale further, becoming a local celebrity among the slaves, who enjoy witch stories. He wears around his neck the five-cent piece Tom left for the candles, calling it a charm from the devil with the power to cure sickness. Jim nearly becomes so stuck-up from his newfound celebrity that he is unfit to be a servant.

Meanwhile, Tom and Huck meet up with a few other boys, and take a boat to a large cave. There, Tom de-clares his new band of robbers, “Tom Sawyer’s Gang. ” All must sign in blood an oath vowing, among other things, to kill the family of any member who reveals the gang’s secrets. The boys think it “a real beautiful oath. ” Tom ad-mits he got part of it from books. The boys nearly disqualify Huck, who has no family but a drunken father who can never be found, until Huck offers Miss Watson. Tom says the gang must capture and ransom people, though nobody knows what “ransom” means. Tom assumes it means to kill them.

But anyway, it must be done since all the books say so. When one boy cries to go home and threatens to tell the group’s secrets, Tom bribes him with five cents. They agree to meet again someday, just not Sunday, which would be blasphemous. Huckleberry makes it back into bed just before dawn. Miss Watson tries to explain prayer to Huckleberry in Chapter Three. Huckleberry gives up on it after not getting what he prays for. Miss Watson calls him a fool, and explains prayer bestows spiritual gifts like sel essness to help others. Huck cannot see any advantage in this, except for the others one helps.

So he resolves to forget it. Widow Douglas describes a wonderful God, while Miss Watson’s is terrible. Huck concludes there are two Gods. He would like to belong to Widow Douglas’s, if He would take him – unlikely because of Huck’s bad qualities. Meanwhile, a rumor circulates that Huck’s Pap, who has not been seen in a year, is dead. A corpse was found in the river, thought to be Pap because of its “ragged” appearance, though the face is unrecognizable. At first Huck is relieved. His father had been a drunk who beat him when he was sober, though Huck stayed hidden from him most of the time.

Soon, however, Huck doubts his father’s death, and expects to see him again. After a month in Tom’s gang, Huck quit along with the rest of the boys. There was no point to it, without any robbery or killing, their activities being all pretend. Once, Tom pretended a caravan of Arabs and Spaniards were going to encamp nearby with hundreds of camels and elephants. It turned out to be a Sunday school picnic. Tom explained it really was a caravan of Arabs and Spaniards – only they were enchanted, like in Don Quixote. Huckleberry judged Tom’s stories of genies to be lies, after rubbing old lamps and rings with no result.

Chapters 4-6 Summary In Chapter Four, Huckleberry is gradually adjusting to his new life, and even making small progress in school. One winter morning, Huck notices boot tracks in the snow near the house. Within one heel print is the shape of two nails crossed to ward off the devil. Huck runs to Judge Thatcher, looking over his shoulder as he does. He sells his fortune to the surprised Judge for a dollar. That night Huck goes to Jim, who has a magical giant hairball from an ox’s stomach. Huck tells Jim he found Pap’s tracks in the snow and wants to know what his father wants.

Jim says the hairball needs money to talk, and so Huck gives a counterfeit quarter. Jim puts his ear to the hairball, and relates that Huck’s father has two angels, one black and one white, one bad, one good. It is uncertain which will win out. But Huck is safe for now. He will have much happiness and much sorrow in his life, will marry a poor and then a rich woman, and should stay clear of the water, since that is where he will die. That night, Huck finds Pap waiting in his bedroom! Pap’s long, greasy, black hair hangs over his face. The nearly fifty-year-old man’s skin is a ghastly, disgust-ing white.

Noticing Huck’s “starchy” clothes, Pap wonders aloud if he thinks himself better than his father, promising to take him “down a peg. ” Pap promises to teach Widow Douglas not to “meddle” and make a boy “put on airs over his own father. ” Pap is outraged that Huck has become the first person in his family to learn to read. He threatens Huck not to go near the school again. He asks Huck if he is really rich, as he has heard, and calls him a liar when he says he has no more money. He takes the dollar Huck got from Judge Thatcher. He leaves to get whiskey, and the next day, drunk, de-mands Huck’s money from Judge Thatcher.

The Judge and Widow Douglas try to get custody of Huck, but give up after the new judge in town refuses to separate a father from his son. Pap lands in jail after a drunken spree. The new judge takes Pap into his home and tries to reform him. Pap tearfully repents his ways but soon gets drunk again. The new judge decides Pap cannot be reformed except with a shotgun. Pap sues Judge Thatcher for Huck’s fortune. He also continues to threaten Huck about attending school, which Huck does partly to spite his father. Pap goes on one drunken binge after another.

One day he kidnaps Huck and takes him deep into the woods, to a secluded cabin on the Illinois shore. He locks Huck inside all day while he goes out. Huck enjoys being away from civilization again, though he does not like his father’s beatings and his drinking. Eventually, Huck finds an old saw hidden away. He slowly makes a hole in the wall while his father is away, resolved to escape from both Pap and the Widow Douglas. But Pap returns as Huck is about to finish. He complains about the “govment,” saying Judge Thatcher has delayed the trial to prevent Pap from getting Huck’s wealth.

He has heard his chances are good, though he will probably lose the fight for custody of Huck. He further rails against a biracial black visitor to the town. The visitor is well dressed, university- educated, and not at all deferential. Pap is disgusted that the visitor can vote in his home state, and that legally he cannot be sold into slavery until he has been in the state six months. Later, Pap wakes from a drunken sleep and chases after Huck with a knife, calling him the “Angel of Death,” stopping when he collapses in sleep. Huck holds the ri e against his sleeping father and waits.

Chapters 7-10 Summary Huck falls asleep, to be awakened by Pap, who is unaware of the night’s events. Pap sends Huck out to check for fish. Huck finds a canoe drifting in the river and hides it in the woods. When Pap leaves for the day, Huck finishes sawing his way out of the cabin. He puts food, cookware, everything of value in the cabin, into the canoe. He covers up the hole in the wall and then shoots a wild pig. He hacks down the cabin door, hacks the pig to bleed onto the cabin’s dirt oor, and makes other preparations so that it seems robbers came and killed him.

Huck goes to the canoe and waits for the moon to rise, resolving to canoe to Jackson’s Island, but falls asleep. When he wakes he sees Pap row by. Once he has passed, Huck quietly sets out down river. He pulls into Jackson’s Island, careful not to be seen. The next morning in Chapter Eight, a boat passes by with Pap, Judge and Becky Thatcher, Tom Sawyer, his Aunt Polly, some of Huck’s young friends, and “plenty more” on board, all discussing the murder. They shoot can-non over the water and oat loaves of bread with mercury inside, in hopes of locating Huck’s corpse.

Huck, careful not to be seen, catches a loaf and eats it. Exploring the island, Huck is delighted to find Jim, who at first thinks Huck is a ghost. Now Huck won’t be lonely anymore. Huck is shocked when Jim explains he ran away. Jim overheard Miss Watson discussing selling him for eight hundred dollars, to a slave trader who would take him to New Orleans. He left before she had a chance to decide. Jim displays a great knowledge of superstition. He tells Huck how he once “speculated” ten dollars in (live)stock, but lost most of it when the steer died. He then lost five dollars in a failed slave start-up bank.

He gave his last ten cents to a slave, who gave it away after a preacher told him that charity repays itself one-hundred-fold. It didn’t. But Jim still has his hairy arms and chest, a portent of future wealth. He also now owns all eight-hundred- dollars’ worth of himself. In Chapter Nine, Jim and Huck take the canoe and provisions into the large cavern in the middle of the is-land, to have a hiding place in case of visitors, and to protect their things. Jim predicted it would rain, and soon it downpours, with the two safely inside the cavern. The river oods severely.

A washed-out houseboat oats down the river past the island. Jim and Huck find a man’s body inside, shot in the back. Jim prevents Huck from looking at the face; it’s too “ghastly. ” They make off with some odds and ends. Huck has Jim hide in the bottom of the canoe so he won’t be seen. They make it back safely to the cave. In Chapter Ten, Huck wonders about the dead man, though Jim warns it’s bad luck. Sure enough, bad luck comes: as a joke, Huck puts a dead rattlesnake near Jim’s sleeping place, and its mate comes and bites Jim. Jim’s leg swells, but after four days it goes down.

A while later, Huck decides to go ashore and to find out what’s new. Jim agrees, but has Huck disguise himself as a girl, with one of the dresses they took from the houseboat. Huck practices his girl impersonation, then sets out for the Illinois shore. In a formerly abandoned shack, he finds a woman who looks forty, and also appears a newcomer. Huck is relieved she is a newcomer, since she will not be able to recognize him. Chapters 11-13 Summary The woman eyes Huckleberry somewhat suspiciously as she lets him in. Huck introduces himself as “Sarah Williams,” from Hookerville.

The woman “clatters on,” eventually getting to Huck’s murder. She reveals that Pap was suspected and nearly lynched, but people came to suspect Jim, since he ran away the same day Huck was killed. There is a three- hundred-dollar price on Jim’s head. But soon, suspicions turned again to Pap, after he blew money the judge gave him to find Jim on drink. But he left town before he could be lynched, and now there is two hundred dollars on his head. The woman has noticed smoke over on Jackson’s Island, and, suspecting that Jim might be hiding there, told her husband to look. He will go there tonight with another man and a gun.

The woman looks at Huck suspiciously and asks his name. He replies, “Mary Williams. ” When the woman asks about the change, he covers himself, saying his full name is “Sarah Mary Williams. ” She has him try to kill a rat by pitching a lump of lead at it, and he nearly hits. Finally, she asks him to reveal his (male) identity, saying she understands that he is a runaway apprentice and will not turn him in. He says his name is George Peters, and he was indeed apprenticed to a mean farmer. She lets him go after quizzing him on farm subjects, to make sure he’s telling the truth.

She tells him to send for her, Mrs. Judith Loftus, if he has trouble. Back at the island, Huck tells Jim they must shove off, and they hurriedly pack their things and slowly ride out on a raft they had found. Huck and Jim build a wigwam on the raft in Chapter Twelve. They spend a number of days drifting down riv-er, passing the great lights of St. Louis on the fifth night. They “lived pretty high,” buying, “borrowing”, or hunting food as they need it. One night they come upon a wreaked steamship. Over Jim’s objections, Huck goes onto the wreck, to loot it and have an “adventure,” the way Tom Sawyer would.

On the wreck, Huck overhears two robbers threatening to kill a third so that he won’t “talk. ” One of the two manages to convince the other to let their victim be drowned with the wreck. They leave. Huck finds Jim and says they have to cut the robbers’ boat loose so they can’t escape. Jim says that their own raft has broken loose and oated away. Huck and Jim head for the robbers’ boat in Chapter Thirteen. The robbers put some booty in the boat, but leave to get some more money off the man on the steamboat. Jim and Huck jump right into the boat and head off as quietly as possible.

A few hundred yards safely away, Huck feels bad for the robbers left stranded on the wreck since, who knows, he may end up a robber himself someday. They find their raft just before they stop for Huck to go ashore for help. Ashore, Huck finds a ferry watchman, and tells him his family is stranded on the steamboat wreck. The watchman tell him the wreck is of the Walter Scott. Huck invents an elaborate story as to how his family got on the wreck, including the niece of a local big shot among them, so that the man is more than happy to take his ferry to help.

Huck feels good about his good deed, and thinks Widow Douglas would have been proud of him. Jim and Huck turn into an island, and sink the robbers’ boat before going to bed. Chapters 14-16 Summary Jim and Huck find a number of valuables among the robbers’ booty in Chapter Fourteen, mostly trinkets and cigars. Jim says he doesn’t enjoy Huck’s “adventures,” since they risk his getting caught. Huck recognizes that Jim is intelligent, at least for what Huck thinks of a black person. Huck astonishes Jim with his stories of kings. Jim had only heard of King Solomon, whom he considers a fool for wanting to chop a baby in half.

Huck cannot convince Jim otherwise. Huck also tells Jim about the “dolphin,” son of the executed King Louis XVI of France, rumored to be wandering America. Jim is incredulous when Huck explains that the French do not speak English, but another language. Huck tries to argue the point with Jim, but gives up in defeat. Huck and Jim are nearing the Ohio River, their goal, in Chapter Fifteen. But one densely foggy night, Huck, in the canoe, gets separated from Jim and the raft. He tries to paddle back to it, but the fog is so thick he loses all sense of direction. After a lonely time adrift, Huck is reunited with Jim, who is asleep on the raft.

Jim is thrilled to see Huck alive. But Huck tries to trick Jim, pretending he dreamed their entire separation. Jim tells Huck the story of his dream, making the fog and the troubles he faced on the raft into an allegory of their journey to the free states. But soon Jim notices all the debris, dirt and tree branches, that collected on the raft while it was adrift. He gets mad at Huck for making a fool of him after he had worried about him so much. “It was fifteen minutes before I could work myself up to go and humble myself to a nigger,” but Huck apologizes, and does not regret it.

He feels bad about hurting Jim. Jim and Huck hope they don’t miss Cairo, the town at the mouth of the Ohio River, which runs into the free states. Meanwhile, Huck’s conscience troubles him deeply about helping Jim escape from his “rightful owner,” Miss Watson, especially after her consideration for Huck. Jim can’t stop talking about going to the free states, especially about his plan to earn money to buy his wife and children’s freedom, or have some abolitionists kidnap them if their masters refuse. When they think they see Cairo, Jim goes out on the canoe to check, secretly resolved to give Jim up.

But his heart softens when he hears Jim call out that he is his only friend, the only one to keep a promise to him. Huck comes upon some men in a boat who want to search his raft for escaped slaves. Huck pretends to be grateful, saying no one else would help them. He leads them to believe his family, on board the raft, has smallpox. The men back away, telling Huck to go further downstream and lie about his family’s condition to get help. They leave forty dollars in gold out of pity. Huck feels bad for having done wrong by not giving Jim up. But he realizes that he would have felt just as bad if he had given Jim up.

Since good and bad seem to have the same results, Huck resolves to disregard morality in the future and do what’s “handiest. ” Floating along, they pass several towns that are not Cairo, and worry that they passed it in the fog. They stop for the night, and resolve to take the canoe upriver, but in the morning it is gone{ more bad luck from the rattlesnake. Later, a steamboat drives right into the raft, breaking it apart. Jim and Huck dive off in time, but are separated. Huck makes it ashore, but is caught by a pack of dogs. Chapters 17-19 Summary A man finds Huck in Chapter Seventeen and calls off the dogs.

Huck introduces himself as George Jackson. The man brings “George” home, where he is eyed cautiously as a possible member of the Sheperdson family. But they decide he is not. The lady of the house has Buck, a boy about Huck’s age (thirteen or fourteen) get Huck some dry clothes. Buck says he would have killed a Shepardson if there had been any. Buck tells Huck a riddle, though Huck does not understand the concept of riddles. Buck says Huck must stay with him and they will have great fun. Huck invents an elaborate story of how he was orphaned. The family, the Grangerfords, offer to let him stay with them for as long as he likes.

Huck innocently admires the house and its (humorously tacky) finery. He similarly admires the work of a deceased daughter, Emmeline, who created (unintentionally funny) maudlin pictures and poems about people who died. “Nothing couldn’t be better” than life at the comfortable house. Huck admires Colonel Grangerford, the master of the house, and his supposed gentility. He is a warm- hearted man, treated with great courtesy by everyone. He own a very large estate with over a hundred slaves. The family’s children, besides Buck, are Bob, the oldest, then Tom, then Charlotte, aged twenty-five, and Sophia, twenty, all of them beautiful.

Three sons have been killed. One day, Buck tries to shoot Harney Shepardson, but misses. Huck asks why he wanted to kill him. Buck explains the Grangerfords are in a feud with a neighboring clan of families, the Shepardsons, who are as grand as they are. No one can remember how the feud started, or name a purpose for it, but in the last year two people have been killed, including a fourteen-year-old Grangerford. Buck declares the Shepardson men all brave. The two families attend church together, their ri es between their knees as the minister preaches about brotherly love.

After church one day, Sophia has Huck retrieve a bible from the pews. She is delighted to find inside a note with the words “two-thirty. ” Later, Huck’s slave valet leads him deep into the swamp, telling him he wants to show him some water-moccasins. There he finds Jim! Jim had followed Huck to the shore the night they were wrecked, but did not dare call out for fear of being caught. In the last few days he has repaired the raft and bought supplies to replace what was lost. The next day Huck learns that Sophie has run off with a Shepardson boy. In the woods, Huck finds Buck and nineteen-year-old Grangerford in a gun-fight with the Shepardsons. The two are later killed. Deeply disturbed, Huck heads for Jim and the raft, and the two shove off downstream. Huck notes, “You feel mighty free and easy and comfortable on a raft. ” Huck and Jim are lazily drifting down the river in Chapter Nineteen. One day they come upon two men on shore eeing some trouble and begging to be let onto the raft. Huck takes them a mile downstream to safety. One man is about seventy, bald, with whiskers, the other, thirty. Both men’s clothes are badly tattered. The men do not know each other but are in similar predicaments.

The younger man had been selling a paste to remove tartar from teeth that takes much of the enamel off with it. He ran out to avoid the locals’ ire. The other had run a temperance (sobriety) revival meeting, but had to ee after word got out that he drank. The two men, both professional scam-artists, decide to team up. The younger man declares himself an impoverished English duke, and gets Huck and Jim to wait on him and treat him like royalty. The old man then reveals his true identity as the Dauphin, Louis XVI’s long lost son. Huck and Jim then wait on him as they had the “duke. Soon Huck realizes the two are liars, but to prevent “quarrels,” does not let on that he knows. Chapters 20-22 Summary The Duke and Dauphin ask whether Jim is a runaway, and so Huckleberry concocts a tale of how he was orphaned, and he and Jim were forced to travel at night since so many people stopped his boat to ask whether Jim was a runaway. That night, the two royals take Jim and Huck’s beds while they stand watch against a storm. The next morning, the Duke gets the Dauphin to agree to put on a performance of Shakespeare in the next town they cross. Everyone in the town has left for a revival meeting in the woods.

The meeting is a lively afiair of several thousand people singing and shouting. The Dauphin gets up and declares himself a former pirate, now reformed by the meeting, who will return to the Indian Ocean as a missionary. The crowd joyfully takes up a collection, netting the Dauphin eighty-seven dol-lars and seventy-five cents, and many kisses from pretty young women. Meanwhile, the Duke took over the deserted print offce and got nine and a half dollars selling advertisements in the local newspaper. The Duke also prints up a handbill offering a reward for Jim, so that they can travel freely by day nd tell whoever asks about Jim that the slave is their captive. The Duke and Dauphin practice the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet and the sword fight from Richard III on the raft in Chapter Twenty-one. The duke also works on his recitation of Hamlet’s “To be or not to be,” soliloquy, which he has butchered, throwing in lines from other parts of the play, and even Macbeth. But to Huck, the Duke seems to possess a great talent. They visit a one-horse town in Arkansas where lazy young men loiter in the streets, arguing over chewing tobacco. The Duke posts handbills for the performance.

Huck witnesses the shooting of a rowdy drunk by a man, Sherburn, he insulted, in front of the victim’s daughter. A crowd gathers around the dying man and then goes off to lynch Sherburn. The mob charges through the streets in Chapter Twenty-two, sending women and children running away cry-ing in its wake. They go to Sherburn’s house, knock down the front fence, but back away as the man meets them on the roof of his front porch, ri e in hand. After a chilling silence, Sherburn delivers a haughty speech on human nature, saying the average person, and everyone in the mob, is a coward.

Southern juries don’t convict murderers because they rightly fear being shot in the back, in the dark, by the man’s family. Mobs are the most pitiful of all, since no one in them is brave enough in his own right to commit the act without the mass behind him. Sherburn declares no one will lynch him: it is daylight and the Southern way is to wait until dark and come wearing masks. The mob disperses. Huck then goes to the circus, a “splendid” show, whose clown manages to come up with fan-tastic one-liners in a remarkably short amount of time.

A performer, pretending to be a drunk, forces himself into the ring and tries to ride a horse, apparently hanging on for dear life. The crowd roars its amusement, except for Huck, who cannot bear to watch the poor man’s danger. Only twelve people came to the Duke’s performance, and they laughed all the way through. So the Duke prints another handbill, this time advertising a performance of “The King’s Cameleopard [Girafie] or The Royal Nonesuch. ” Bold letters across the bottom read, “Women and Children Not Admitted. ” Chapters 23-25 Summary The new performance plays to a capacity audience.

The Dauphin, naked except for body paint and some “wild” accouterments, has the audience howling with laughter. But the Duke and Dauphin are nearly attacked when the show is ended after this brief performance. To avoid losing face, the audience convinces the rest of the town the show is a smash, and a capacity crowd follows the second night. As the Duke anticipated, the third night’s crowd consists of the two previous audiences coming to get their revenge. The Duke and Huck make a getaway to the raft before the show starts. From the three-night run, they took in four-hundred sixty-five dollars.

Jim is shocked that the royals are such “rapscallions. ” Huck explains that history shows nobles to be rapscallions who constantly lie, steal, and decapitate{describing in the process how Henry VIII started the Boston Tea Party and wrote the Declaration of Independence. Huck doesn’t see the point in telling Jim the two are fakes; besides, they really do seem like the real thing. Jim spends his night watches “moaning and mourning” for his wife and two children, Johnny and Lizabeth. Though “It don’t seem natural,” Huck concludes that Jim loves his family as much as whites love theirs.

Jim is torn apart when he hears a thud in the distance, because it reminds him of the time he beat his Lizabeth for not doing what he said, not realizing she had been made deaf-mute by her bout with scarlet fever. In Chapter Twenty-four, Jim complains about having to wait, frightened, in the boat, tied up (to avoid suspi-cion) while the others are gone. So the Duke dresses Jim in a calico stage robe and blue face paint, and posts a sign, “Sick Arab{but harmless when not out of his head. ” Ashore and dressed up in their newly bought clothes, the Dauphin decides to make a big entrance by steamboat into the next town.

The Dauphin calls Huck “Adolphus,” and encounters a talkative young man who tells him about the recently deceased Peter Wilks. Wilks sent for his two brothers from Shefield, England: Harvey, whom he had not seen since he was five, and William, who is deaf-mute. He has left all his property to his brothers, though it seems uncertain whether they will ever arrive. The Dauphin gets the young traveler, who is en route to Rio de Janeiro, to tell him everything about the Wilks. In Wilks’ town, they ask after Peter Wilks, pretending anguish when told of his death.

The Dauphin even makes strange hand signs to the Duke. “It was enough to make a body ashamed of the human race,” Huck thinks. A crowd gathers before Wilks’ house in Chapter Twenty-five, as the Duke and Dauphin share a tearful meet-ing with the three Wilks daughters. The entire town then joins in the “blubbering. ” “I never see anything so disgust-ing,” Huck thinks. Wilks’ letter (which he left instead of a will) leaves the house and three thousand dollars to his daughters, and to his brothers, three thousand dollars, plus a tan-yard and seven thousand dollars in real estate.

The Duke and Dauphin privately count the money, adding four-hundred fifteen dollars of their own money when the stash comes up short of the letter’s six-thousand, for appearances. They then give it all to the Wilks women in a great show before a crowd of townspeople. Doctor Abner Shackleford, an old friend of the deceased, interrupts to declare them frauds, their accents ridiculously phony. He asks Mary Jane, the oldest Wilks sister, to listen to him as a friend and turn the impostors out. In reply, she hands the Dauphin the six thousand dollars to invest however he sees fit.

Chapters 26-28 Summary Huck has supper with Joanna, a Wilks sister he refers to as “the Harelip” (“Cleft lip,” a birth defect she pos-sesses). She cross-examines Huckleberry on his knowledge of England. He makes several slips, forgetting he is supposedly from Shefield, and that the Dauphin is supposed to be a Protestant minister. Finally she asks whether he hasn’t made the entire thing up. Mary Jane and Susan interrupt and instruct Jo-anna to be courteous to their guest. She graciously apologizes. Huck feels awful about letting such sweet women be swindled. He resolves to get them their money.

He goes to the Duke and Dauphin’s room to search for the money, but hides when they enter. The Duke wants to leave that very night, but the Dauphin convinces him to stay until they have stolen all the family’s property. After they leave, Huckleberry takes the gold to his sleeping cubby, and then sneaks out late at night. Huck hides the sack of money in Wilks’ coffn in Chapter Twenty-seven, as Mary Jane, crying, enters the front room. Huck doesn’t get another opportunity to safely remove the money, and feels dejected that the Duke and Dauphin will likely get it back.

The funeral the next day is briefly interrupted by the racket the dog is making down cellar. The undertaker slips out, and after a “whack” is heard from downstairs, the undertaker returns, whispering loudly to the preacher, “He had a rat! ” Huck remarks how the rightfully popular undertaker satisfied the people’s natural curiosity. Huck observes with horror as the undertaker seals the coffn without looking inside. Now he will never know whether the money was stolen from the coffn, or if he should write Mary Jane to dig up the coffn for it.

Saying he will take the Wilks’ family to England, the Dauphin sells off the estate and the slaves. He sends a mother to New Orleans and her two sons to Memphis. The scene at the grief-stricken family’s separation is heart-rending. But Huck comforts himself that they will be reunited in a week or so when the Duke and Dauphin are ex-posed. When questioned by the Duke and Dauphin, Huck blames the loss of the six thousand dollars on the slaves they just sold, making the two regret the deed. Huck finds Mary Jane crying in her bedroom in Chapter Twenty-eight.

All joy regarding the trip to England has been destroyed by the thought of the slave mother and children never seeing each other again. Touched, Huck unthinkingly blurts out that the family will be reunited in less than two weeks. Mary Jane, overjoyed, asks Huck to explain. Huck is uneasy, having little experience telling the truth while in a predicament. He tells Mary Jane the truth, but asks her to wait at a relative’s house until eleven that night to give him time to get away, since the fate of another person hangs in the balance. He tells her about the Royal Nonesuch incident, saying that town will provide witnesses against the frauds.

He instructs her to leave without seeing her “uncles,” since her innocent face would give away their secret. He leaves her a note with the location of the money. She promises to remember him forever, and pray for him. Though Huck will never see her again, he will think of her often. Huck meets Susan and Joanna, and says Mary Jane has gone to see a sick relative. Joanna cross-examines him about this, but he man-ages to trick them into staying quiet about the whole thing{almost as well as Tom Sawyer would have. But later, the auction is interrupted by a mob{ bringing the real Harvey and William Wilks! Chapters 29-31 Summary

The real Harvey, in an authentic English accent, explains the delay: their luggage has been misdirected, and his brother’s arm has been broken, making him unable to sign. The doctor again declares The Duke and Dauphin frauds, and has the crowd bring both real and fraudulent Wilks brothers to a tavern for examination. The frauds draw suspicion when they are unable to produce the six thousand dollars. A lawyer friend of the deceased has the Duke, Dauphin, and the real Harvey sign a piece of paper, then compares the writing samples to letters he has from the real Harvey. The frauds are disproved, but the Dauphin doesn’t give up.

So the real Harvey declares he knows of a tattoo on his brother’s chest, asking the undertaker who dressed the body to back him up. But after the Dauphin and Harvey say what they think the tattoo is, the undertaker declares there wasn’t one at all. The mob cries out for the blood of all four men, but the lawyer instead sends them out to exhume the body and check for the tattoo themselves. The mob carries the four and Huckleberry with them. The mob is shocked to discover the gold in the coffn. In the excitement, Huck escapes. Passing the Wilks’s house, he notices a light in the upstairs window.

Huck steals a canoe and makes his way to the raft, and, exhausted, shoves off. Huck dances for joy on the raft, but his heart sinks as the Duke and Dauphin approach in a boat. The Dauphin nearly strangles Huck in Chapter Thirty, out of anger at his desertion. But the Duke stops him. They explain that they escaped after the gold was found. The thieves start arguing about which one of the two hid the gold in the coffn, to come back for later. But they make up and go to sleep. They take the raft downstream without stopping for several days. The Duke and Dauphin try several scams on various towns, without success.

The two start to have secret discussions, worrying Jim and Huck, who resolve to ditch them at the first opportunity. Finally, the Duke, Dauphin, and Huck go ashore in one town to feel it out. The Duke and Dauphin get into a fight in a tavern, and Huck takes the chance to escape. But back at the raft, there is no sign of Jim. A boy explains that a man recognized Jim as a runaway from a handbill they had found, offering two hundred dollars for him in New Orleans{the handbill the Duke had printed earlier. But he said he had to leave suddenly, and so sold his interest for forty dollars.

Huck is disgusted by the Dauphin’s trick. He would like to write to Miss Watson to fetch Jim, so he could at least be home and not in New Orleans. But he realizes she would simply sell him downstream anyway, and he would get in trouble as well. The predicament is surely God’s punishment for his helping Jim. Huck tries to pray for forgiveness, but cannot. He writes the letter to Miss Watson giving Jim up. But thinking of the time he spent with Jim, of his kind heart and their friendship, Huck trembles. After a minute he decides, “All right then, I’ll go to hell! ” He resolves to “steal Jim out of slavery. He goes in his store-bought clothes to see Phelps, the man who is holding Jim. He finds the Duke putting up posters for the Royal Nonesuch. Huck concocts a story about how he wandered the town, but didn’t find Jim or the raft. The Duke says he sold Jim to a man forty miles away, and sends Huck on the three day trip to get him. Chapters 32-35 Summary Huck goes back to the Phelps’s house in Chapter Thirty-two. A bunch of hounds threaten him, but a slave woman calls them off. The white mistress of the house, Sally, comes out, delighted to see the boy she is certain is her nephew, Tom.

Sally asks why he has been delayed the last several days. He explains that a cylinder- head on the steamboat blew out. She asks whether anyone got hurt, and he replies no, but it killed a black person. The woman is relieved that no one was hurt. Huck is nervous about not having any information on his identity, but when Sally’s husband, Silas, returns, he shouts out for joy that Tom Sawyer has finally arrived! Hearing a steamboat go up the river, Huck heads out to the docks, supposedly to get his luggage, but really to head off Tom should he arrive.

Huck interrupts Tom’s wagon coming down the road in Chapter Thirty-three. Tom is at first startled by the “ghost,” but is eventually convinced that Huck is alive. He even agrees to help Huck free Jim. Huck is shocked by this: “Tom Sawyer fell, considerable, in my estimation. ” Tom follows Huck to the Phelps’s a half hour later. The isolated family is thrilled to have another guest. Tom introduces himself as William Thompson from Ohio, stopping on his way to visit his uncle nearby. But Tom slips and kisses his aunt, who is outraged by such familiarity from a stranger.

Taken aback for a few moments, Tom recovers by saying he is another relative, Sid Sawyer, and this has all been a joke. Later, walking through town, Huck sees the Duke and Dauphin taken by a mob, tarred and feath-ered on a rail. Jim had told on the pair. Tom feels bad for the two, and his ill feelings toward them melt away. “Hu-man beings can be awful cruel to one another,” Huck observes. Huck concludes that a conscience is useless, since it makes you feel bad for everyone. Tom agrees. Huck is impressed by Tom’s intelligence when he skillfully figures out that Jim is being held in a shed. Huck’s plan to free

Jim is to steal the key and make off with Jim by night. Tom belittles this plan for its simplicity and lack of showmanship. Tom’s plan is fifteen times better than Huck’s for its style{it might even get all three killed. Meanwhile, Huck is incredulous that respectable Tom is going to sacrifice his reputation by helping a slave escape. Huck and Tom get Jim’s keeper, a superstitious slave, to let them see him. When Jim cries out for joy, Tom tricks Jim’s keeper into thinking the cry a trick some witches had played on him. Tom and Huck promise to dig Jim out. Tom is upset in Chapter Thirty-five.

Innocent uncle Phelps has taken so few precautions to guard Jim, they have to invent all the obstacles to his rescue. Tom says they must saw Jim’s chain off instead of just lifting it off the bedstead, since that’s how it’s done in all the books. Similarly, Jim requires a rope ladder, a moat, and a shirt on which to keep a journal, presumably in his own blood. Sawing his leg off to escape would also be a nice touch. But since they’re pressed for time, they will dig Jim out with case-knives (large kitchen knives). Chapters 36-39 Summary Out late at night, Huck and Tom give up digging with the case-knives after much fruitless efiort.

They use pick-axes instead, but agree to “let on”{pretend{that they are using case-knives. The next day, Tom and Huck gather candlesticks, candles, spoons, and a tin plate. Jim can etch a declaration of his captivity on the tin plate using the other objects, then throw it out the window to be read by the world, like in the novels. That night, the two boys dig their way to Jim, who is delighted to see them. He tells them that Sally and Silas have been to visit and pray with him. He doesn’t understand the boys’ scheme but agrees to go along. Tom thinks the whole thing enor-mously fun and “intellectural. He tricks Jim’s keeper, Nat, into bringing Jim a “witch pie” to help ward off the witches that have haunted Nat. The missing shirt, candles, sheets, and other articles Huck and Tom stole to give Jim get Aunt Sally mad at everyone but the two boys in Chapter Thirty-seven. To make up, Huck and Tom secretly plug up the holes of the rats that have supposedly stolen everything, confounding Uncle Silas when he goes to do the job. By removing and then replacing sheets and spoons, the two boys so confuse Sally that she loses track of how many she has. It takes a great deal of trouble to put the rope ladder (made f sheets) in the witch’s pie, but at last it is finished and they give it to Jim. Tom insists Jim scratch an inscription on the wall of the shed, with his coat of arms, the way the books say. Making the pens from the spoons and candlestick is a great deal of trouble, but they manage. Tom creates an unintentionally humorous coat of arms and set of mournful declarations for Jim to inscribe on the wall. When Tom disapproves of writing on a wooden, rather than a stone wall, they go steal a millstone. Tom then tries to get Jim to take a rattlesnake or rat into the shack to tame, and to grow a ower to water with his tears.

Jim protests against the ridiculously unnecessary amount of trouble Tom wants to create. Tom replies that these are opportunities for greatness. Huck and Tom capture rats and snakes in Chapter Thirty-nine, accidentally infesting the Phelps house with them. Aunt Sally becomes wildly upset when the snakes start to fall from the rafters onto her or her bed. Tom ex-plains that that’s just how women are. Jim, meanwhile, hardly has room to move with all the wildlife in his shed. Uncle Silas decides it is time to sell Jim, and starts sending out advertisements.

So Tom writes letters, signed an “unknown friend,” to the Phelps warning of trouble. The family is terrified. Tom finishes with a longer letter pretend-ing to be from a member of a band of desperate gangsters out to steal Jim. The author has found religion and so is warning them to block the plan. Chapters 40-43 Summary Fifteen uneasy local men with guns are in the Phelps’s front room. Huck goes to the shed to warn Tom and Jim. Tom is excited to hear about the fifteen armed men. A group of men rush into the shed. In the darkness Tom, Huck, and Jim escape through the hole.

Tom makes a noise going over the fence, attracting the attention of the men, who shoot at them as they run. But they make it to the hidden raft, and set off downstream, delighted with their success{especially Tom, who has a bullet in the leg as a souvenir. Huck and Jim are taken aback by Tom’s wound. Jim says they should get a doctor{what Tom would do if the situation were reversed. Jim’s reaction confirms Huck’s belief that Jim is “white inside. ” Huck finds a doctor in Chapter Forty-one and sends him to Tom. The next morning, Huck runs into Silas, who takes him home.

The place is filled with farmers and their wives, all discussing the weird contents of Jim’s shed, and the hole. They conclude a band of (probably black) robbers of amazing skill must have tricked not only the Phelps and their friends, but the original band of desperadoes. Sally will not let Huck out to find Tom, since she is so sad to have lost Tom and does not want to risk another boy. Huckleberry is touched by her concern and vows never to hurt her again. Silas has been unable to find Tom in Chapter Forty- two. They have gotten a letter from Tom’s Aunt Polly, Sally’s sister.

But Sally casts it aside when she sees Tom, semi-conscious, brought in on a mattress, accompanied by a crowd including Jim, in chains, and the doctor. Some of the local men would like to hang Jim, but are unwilling to risk having to compensate Jim’s master. So they treat Jim roughly, and chain him hand and foot inside the shed. The doctor intervenes, saying Jim isn’t bad, since he sacrificed his freedom to help nurse Tom. Sally, meanwhile, is at Tom’s bedside, glad that his condition has improved. Tom wakes and gleefully details how they set Jim free. He is horrified to learn that Jim is now in chains.

He explains that Jim was freed in Miss Watson’s will when she died two months ago. She regretted ever having considered selling Jim down the river. Just then, Aunt Polly walks into the room. She came after Sally mysteriously wrote her that Sid Sawyer was staying with her. After a tearful reunion with Sally, she identifies Tom and Huckleberry, yelling at both boys for their misadventures. When Huckleberry asks Tom in the last chapter what he planned to do once he had freed the already- freed Jim, Tom replies that he was going to repay Jim for his troubles and send him back a hero.

When Aunt Polly and the Phelps hear how Jim helped the doctor, they treat him much better. Tom gives Jim forty dollars for his troubles. Jim declares that the omen of his hairy chest has come true. Tom makes a full recovery, and has the bullet inserted into a watch he wears around his neck. He and Huck would like to go on another adventure, to Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma). But Huck worries Pap has taken all his money. Jim tells him that couldn’t have happened: the dead body they found way back on the houseboat, that Jim would not let Huck see, belonged to Pap.

Huck has nothing more to write about. He is “rotten glad,” since writing a book turned out to be quite a task. He does not plan any future writings. Instead, he hopes to make the trip out to Indian Territory, since Aunt Sally is already trying to “sivilize” him, and he’s had enough of that. ALL THE KING’S MEN Robert Penn Warren was one of the twentieth century’s outstanding men of letters. He found great success as a novelist, a poet, a critic, and a scholar, and enjoyed a career showered with acclaim.

He won two Pulitzer Prizes, was Poet Laureate of the United States, and was presented with a Congressional Medal of Fr edom. He founded the Southern Review and was an important contributor to the New Criticism of 1930s and ’40s. Born in 1905, Warren showed his exceptional intelligence from an early age; he attended college at Van-derbilt University, where he befriended some of the most important contemporary figures in Southern literature, including Allan Tate and John Crowe Ransom, and where he won a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford Univer-sity in England.

During a stay in Italy, Warren wrote a verse drama called Proud Flesh,which dealt with themes of political power and moral corruption. As a professor at Louisiana State University, Warren had observed the rise of Louisiana political boss Huey Long, who embodied, in many ways, the ideas Warren tried to work into Proud Flesh. Unsatisfied with the result, Warren began to rework his elaborate drama into a novel, set in the contemporary South, and based in part on the person of Huey Long. The result was All the King’sMen, Warren’s best and most acclaimed book.

First published in 1946, Allthe King’s Men is one of the best literary documents dealing with the American South during the Great Depression. The novel won the Pulitzer Prize, and was adapted into a movie that won an Academy Award in 1949. All the King’s Men focuses on the lives of Willie Stark, an upstart farm boy who rises through sheer force of will to become Governor of an unnamed Southern state during the 1930s, and Jack Burden, the novel’s narrator, a cynical scion of the state’s political aristocracy who uses his abilities as a historical researcher to help Willie blackmail and control his enemies.

The novel deals with the large question of the responsibility individuals bear for their actions within the tur-moil of history, and it is perhaps appropriate that the impetus of the novel’s story comes partly from real historical occurrences. Jack Burden is entirely a creation of Robert Penn Warren, but there are a number of important parallels be-tween Willie Stark and Huey Long, who served Louisiana as both Governor and Senator from 1928 until his death in 1935. Like Huey Long, Willie Stark is an uneducated arm boy who passed the state bar exam; like Huey Long, he rises to political power in his state by instituting liberal reform designed to help the state’s poor farmers. And like Huey Long, Willie is assassinated at the peak of his power by a doctor Dr. Adam Stanton in Willie’s case, Dr. Carl A. Weiss in Long’s. (Unlike Willie, however, Long was assassinated after becoming a Senator, and was in fact in the middle of challenging Franklin D. Roosevelt for the Presidential nomination of the Democratic Party. ) Characters

Jack Burden — Willie Stark’s political right-hand man, the narrator of the novel and in many ways its pro-tagonist. Jack comes from a prominent family (the town he grew up in, Burden’s Landing, was named for his ancestors), and knows many of the most important people in the state. Despite his aristocratic background, Jack allies himself with the liberal, amoral Governor Stark, to the dis-pleasure of his family and friends. He uses his considerable skills as a researcher to uncover the secrets of Willie’s political enemies.

Jack was once married to Lois Seager, but has left her by the time of the novel. Jack’s main characteristics are his intelligence and his curious lack of ambition; he seems to have no agency of his own, and for the most part he is content to take his direction from Willie. Jack is also continually troubled by the question of motive and responsibility in history: he quit working on his PhD thesis in history when he decided he could not comprehend Cass Mastern’s motives. He develops the Great Twitch theory to convince himself that no one can be held responsible for anything that happens.

During the course of the novel, however, Jack rejects the Great Twitch theory and accepts the idea of responsibility. Willie Stark — Jack Burden’s boss, who rises from poverty to become the governor of his state and its most powerful political figure. Willie takes control of the state through a combination of political reform (he institutes sweeping liberal measures designed to tax the rich and ease the burden on the state’s many poor farmers) and underhanded guile (he blackmails and bullies his enemies into submission).

While Jack is intelligent and inactive, Willie is essentially all motive power and direction. The extent of his moral philosophy is his belief that everyone and everything is bad, and that moral action involves making goodness out of the badness. Willie is married to Lucy Stark, with whom he has a son, Tom. But his voracious sexual appetite leads him into a number of afiairs, including one with Sadie Burke and one with Anne Stanton. Willie is murdered by Adam Stanton toward the end of the novel.

Anne Stanton — Jack Burden’s first love, Adam Stanton’s sister, and, for a time, Willie Stark’s mistress. The daughter of Governor Stanton, Anne is raised to believe in a strict moral code, a belief which is threatened and nearly shattered when Jack shows her proof of her father’s wrongdoing. Adam Stanton — A brilliant surgeon and Jack Burden’s closest childhood friend. Anne Stanton’s brother. Jack persuades Adam to put aside his moral reservations about Willie and become director of the new hospital Willie is building, and Adam later cares for Tom Stark after his injury.

But two revelations combine to shatter Adam’s worldview: he learns that his father illegally protected Judge Irwin after he took a bribe, and he learns that his sister has become Willie Stark’s lover. Driven mad with the knowledge, Adam assassinates Willie in the lobby of the Capitol towards the end of the novel. Judge Montague Irwin — A prominent citizen of Burden’s Landing and a former state Attorney General; also a friend to the Scholarly Attorney and a father figure to Jack.

When Judge Irwin supports one of Willie’s politi-cal enemies in a Senate election, Willie orders Jack to dig up some information on the judge. Jack discovers that his old friend accepted a bribe from the American Electric Power Company in 1913 to save his plantation. (In return for the money, the judge dismissed a case against the Southern Belle Fuel Company, a sister corporation to American Electric. ) When he confronts the judge with this information, the judge commits suicide; when Jack learns of the suicide from his mother, he also learns that Judge Irwin was his real father.

Sadie Burke — Willie Stark’s secretary, and also his mistress. Sadie has been with Willie from the begin-ning, and believes that she made him what he is. Despite the fact that he is a married man, she becomes extreme-ly jealous of his relationships with other women, and they often have long, passionate fights. Sadie is tough, cyni-cal, and extremely vulnerable; when Willie announces that he is leaving her to go back to Lucy, she tells Tiny Dufiy in a fit of rage that Willie is sleeping with Anne Stanton. Tiny tells Adam Stanton, who assassinates Willie.

Believing herself to be responsible for Willie’s death, Sadie checks into a sanitarium. . Tiny Dufiy — Lieutenant-Governor of the state when Willie is assassinated. Fat, obsequious, and untrust-worthy, Tiny swallows Willie’s abuse and con- tempt for years, but finally tells Adam Stanton that Willie is sleeping with Anne. When Adam murders Willie, Tiny becomes Governor. Sugar-Boy O’Sheean — Willie Stark’s driver, and also his bodyguard– Sugar-Boy is a crack shot with a . 38 special and a brilliant driver. A stuttering Irishman, Sugar-Boy follows Willie blindly.

Lucy Stark — Willie’s long-sufiering wife, who is constantly disappointed by her husband’s failure to live up to her moral standards. Lucy eventually leaves Willie to live at her sister’s poultry farm. They are in the process of reconciling when Willie is murdered. Tom Stark — Willie’s arrogant, hedonistic son, a football star for the state university. Tom lives a life of drunkenness and promiscuity before he breaks his neck in a football accident. Permanently paralyzed, he dies of pneumonia shortly thereafter. Tom is accused of impregnating Sibyl Frey, whose child is adopted by Lucy at the end of the novel.

Jack’s mother — A beautiful, “famished-cheeked” woman from Arkansas, Jack’s mother is brought back to Burden’s Landing by the Scholarly Attorney, but falls in love with Judge Irwin and begins an afiair with him; Jack is a product of that afiair. After the Scholarly Attorney leaves her, she marries a succession of men (the Tycoon, the Count, the Young Executive). Jack’s realization that she is capable of love–and that she really loved Judge Irwin– helps him put aside his cynicism at the end of the novel. Sam MacMurfee — Willie’s main political enemy within the state’s Democratic Party, and governor before Willie.

After Willie crushes him in the gubernatorial election, MacMurfee continues to control the Fourth District, from which he plots ways to claw his way back into power. Ellis Burden — The man whom Jack believes to be his father for most of the book, before learning his real father is Judge Irwin. After discovering his wife’s afiair with the judge, the “Scholarly Attorney” (as Jack characterizes him) leaves her. He moves to the state capital where he attempts to conduct a Christian ministry for the poor and the unfortunate. Theodore Murrell — The “Young Executive,” as Jack characterizes him; Jack’s mother’s husband for most of the novel.

Governor Joel Stanton — Adam and Anne’s father, governor of the state when Judge Irwin was Attorney General. Protects the judge after he takes the bribe to save his plantation. Hugh Miller — Willie Stark’s Attorney General, an honorable man who resigns following the Byram White scandal. Joe Harrison — Governor of the state who sets Willie up as a dummy candidate to split the MacMurfee vote, and thereby enables Willie’s entrance onto the political stage. When Willie learns how Harrison has treated him, he withdraws from the race and campaigns for MacMurfee, who wins the election.

By the time Willie crushes MacMurfee in the next election, Harrison’s days of political clout are over. Mortimer L. Littlepaugh — The man who preceded Judge Irwin as counsel for the American Electric Power Company in the early 1900s. When Judge Irwin took Littlepaugh’s job as part of the bribe, Littlepaugh confronted Governor Stanton about the judge’s illegal activity. When the governor protected the judge, Littlepaugh committed suicide. Miss Lily Mae Littlepaugh — Mortimer Littlepaugh’s sister, an old spiritual medium who sells her brother’s suicide note to Jack, giving him the proof he needs about Judge Irwin and the bribe.

Gummy Larson — MacMurfee’s most powerful supporter, a wealthy businessman. Willie is forced to give Larson the building contract to the hospital so that Larson will call MacMurfee off about the Sibyl Frey controversy, and thereby preserve Willie’s chance to go to the Senate. Lois Seager — Jack’s sexy first wife, whom he leaves when he begins to perceive her as a person rather than simply as a machine for gratifying his desires. Byram B. White — The State Auditor during Willie’s first term as governor.

His acceptance of graft money propels a scandal that eventually leads to an impeachment attempt against Willie. Willie protects White and black-mails his enemies into submission, a decision which leads to his estrangement from Lucy and the resignation of Hugh Miller. Hubert Coffee — A slimy MacMurfee employee who tries to bribe Adam Stanton into giving the hospital contract to Gummy Larson. Sibyl Frey — A young girl who accuses Tom Stark of having gotten her pregnant; Tom alleges that Sibyl has slept with so many men, she could not possibly know he was the father of her child.

Marvin Frey — Sibyl Frey’s father, who threatens Willie with a paternity suit. (He is being used by MacMurfee. ) Cass Mastern — The brother of Jack’s grandmother. During the middle of the nineteenth century, Cass had an afiair with Annabelle Trice, the wife of his friend Duncan. After Duncan’s suicide, Annabelle sold a slave, Phebe; Cass tried to track down Phebe, but failed. He became an abolitionist, but fought in the Confederate Army during the Civil War, during which he was killed. Jack tries to use his papers as the basis of his Ph. D. issertation, but walked away from the project when he was unable to understand Cass Mastern’s motivations. Gilbert Mastern — Cass Mastern’s wealthy brother. Annabelle Trice — Cass Mastern’s lover, the wife of Duncan Trice. When the slave Phebe brings her Dun-can’s wedding ring following his suicide, Annabelle says that she cannot bear the way Phebe looked at her, and sells her. Duncan Trice — Cass Mastern’s hedonistic friend in Lexington, Annabelle Trice’s husband. When he learns that Cass has had an afiair with Annabelle, Duncan takes off his wedding ring and shoots himself.

Phebe — The slave who brings Annabelle Trice her husband’s wedding ring following his suicide. As a re-sult, Annabelle sells her. Summary All the King’s Men is the story of the rise and fall of a political titan in the Deep South during the 1930s. Willie Stark rises from hardscrabble poverty to become governor of his state and its most powerful political figure; he blackmails and bullies his enemies into submission, and institutes a radical series of liberal reforms designed to tax the rich and ease the burden of the state’s poor farmers.

He is beset with enemies–most notably Sam MacMurfee, a defeated former governor who constantly searches for ways to undermine Willie’s power–and surrounded by a rough mix of political allies and hired thugs, from the bodyguard Sugar-Boy O’Sheean to the fat, obsequious Tiny Dufiy. All the King’s Men is also the story of Jack Burden, the scion of one of the state’s aristocratic dynasties, who turns his back on his genteel upbringing and becomes Willie Stark’s right-hand man. Jack uses his considera-ble talents as a historical researcher to dig up the unpleasant secrets of Willie’s enemies, which are then used for purposes of blackmail.

Cynical and lacking in ambition, Jack has walked away from many of his past interests–he left his dissertation in American History unfinished, and never managed to marry his first love, Anne Stanton, the daughter of a former governor of the state. When Willie asks Jack to look for skeletons in the closet of Judge Irwin, a father figure from Jack’s child-hood, Jack is forced to confront his ideas concerning consequence, responsibility, and motivation. He discovers that Judge Irwin accepted a bribe, and that Governor Stanton covered it up; the resulting blackmail attempt leads to Judge Irwin’s suicide.

It also leads to Adam Stanton’s decision to accept the position of director of the new hospital Willie is building, and leads Anne to begin an afiair with Willie. When Adam learns of the afiair, he murders Willie in a rage, and Jack leaves politics forever. Willie’s death and the circumstances in which it occurs force Jack to rethink his desperate belief that no individual can ever be responsible for the consequences of any action within the chaos and tumult of history and time.

Jack marries Anne Stanton and begins working on a book about Cass Mastern, the man whose papers he had once tried to use as the source for his failed dissertation in American History. Chapter 1 Summary Jack Burden describes driving down Highway 58 with his boss, Governor Willie Stark, in the Boss’s big black Cadillac–Sugar-Boy is driving, and in the car with them were the Boss’s wife Lucy, son Tommy, and the Lieutenant Governor, Tiny Dufiy. Sugar-Boy drives them into Mason City, where Willie is going to pose for a press photo with his father, who lives on a nearby farm.

The Cadillac is followed by a car full of press men and photographers, overseen by Willie’s secretary, Sadie Burke. It is summer, 1936, and scorching hot outside. In Mason City, Willie immediately attracts an adoring throng of people. The group goes inside the drug-store, where Doc pours them glasses of Coke. The crowd pressures Willie for a speech, but he declines, saying he’s just come to see his “pappy”. He then delivers an efiective impromptu speech on the theme of not delivering a speech, saying he doesn’t have to stump for votes on his day off.

The crowd applauds, and the group drives out to the Stark farm. On the way, Jack remembers his first meeting with Willie, in 1922, when Jack was a reporter for the Chron-icle and Willie was only the County Treasurer of Mason County. Jack had gone to the back room of Slade’s pool hall to get some information from deputy-sherifi Alex Michel and Tiny Dufiy (then the Tax Assessor, and an ally of then-Governor Harrison). While he was there, Dufiy tried to bully Willie into drinking a beer, which Willie claimed not to want, instead ordering an orange soda.

Dufiy ordered Slade to bring Willie a beer, and Slade said that he only served alcohol to men who wanted to drink it. He brought Willie the orange soda. When Prohibition was repealed after Willie’s rise to power, Slade was one of the first men to get a liquor license; he got a lease at an exceptional location, and was now a rich man. At the farm, Willie and Lucy pose for a picture with spindly Old Man Stark and his dog. Then the photogra-phers have Willie pose for a picture in his old bedroom, which still contains all his schoolbooks.

Toward sunset, Sugar-Boy is out shooting cans with his . 38 special, and Jack goes outside for a drink from his ask and a look at the sunset. As he leans against the fence, Willie approaches him and asks for a drink. Then Sadie Burke runs up to them with a piece of news, which she reveals only after Willie stops teasing her: Judge Irwin has just endorsed Callahan, a Senate candidate running against Willie’s man, Masters. After dinner at the Stark farm, Willie announces that he, Jack, and Sugar-Boy will be going for a drive.

He orders Sugar-Boy to drive the Cadillac to Burden’s Landing, more than a hundred miles away. Jack grew up in Burden’s Landing, which was named for his ancestors, and he complains about the long drive this late at night. As they ap-proach Jack’s old house, he thinks about his mother lying inside with Theodore Murrell–not Jack’s first stepfather. And he thinks about Anne and Adam Stanton, who lived nearby and used to play with him as a child. He also thinks about Judge Irwin, who lives near the Stanton and Burden places, and who was a father figure to Jack after his own father left.

Jack tells Willie that Judge Irwin won’t scare easily, and inwardly hopes that what he says is true. The three men arrive at Judge Irwin’s, where Willie speaks insouciantly and insolently to the gentlemanly old judge. Judge Irwin insults Jack for being employed by such a man, and tells Willie that he endorsed Callahan because of some damning information he had been given about Masters. Willie says that it would be possible to find dirt on anyone, and advises the judge to retract his endorsement, lest some dirt should turn up on him.

He heavily implies that Judge Irwin would lose his position as a judge. Judge Irwin angrily throws the men out of his house, and on the drive back to Mason City, Willie orders Jack to find some dirt on the judge, and to “make it stick. ” Writing in 1939, three years after that scene, Jack re ects that Masters–who did get elected to the Senate–is now dead, and Adam Stanton is dead, and Judge Irwin is dead, and Willie himself is dead: Willie, who told Jack to find some dirt on Judge Irwin and make it stick.

And Jack remembers: “Little Jackie made it stick, all right. ” Chapter 2 Summary Jack Burden remembers the years during which Willie Stark rose to power. While Willie was Mason County Treas-urer, he became embroiled in a controversy over the building contract for the new school. The head of the city council awarded the contract to the business partner of one of his relatives, no doubt receiving a healthy kickback for doing so. The political machine attempted to run this contract over Willie, but Willie insisted that the contract be awarded to the lowest bidder.

The local big-shots responded by spreading the story that the lowest bidder would import black labor to construct the building, and, Mason County being redneck country, the people sided against Willie, who was trounced in the next election. Jack Burden covered all this in the Chronicle, which sided with Willie. After he was beaten out of offce, Willie worked on his father’s farm, hit the law books at night, and eventually passed the state bar exam. He set up his own law practice. Then one day during a fire drill at the new school, a fire escape collapsed due to faulty construction and three students died.

At the funeral, one of the bereaved fathers stood by Willie and cried aloud that he had been punished for voting against an honest man. After that, Willie was a local hero. During the next gubernatorial election, in which Harrison ran against MacMurfee, the vote was pretty evenly divided between city-dwellers, who supported Harrison, and country folk, who supported MacMurfee. The Harrison camp decided to split the MacMurfee vote by secretly setting up another candidate who could draw some of MacMurfee’s support in the country. They settled on Willie.

One day Harrison’s man, Tiny Dufiy, visited Willie in Mason City and convinced him that he was God’s choice to run for governor. Willie wanted the offce desperately, and so he believed him. Willie stumped the state, and Jack Burden covered his campaign for the Chronicle. Willie was a terrible candidate. His speeches were full of facts and figures; he never stirred the emotions of the crowd. Eventually Sadie Burke, who was with the Harrison camp and followed Willie’s campaign, revealed to Willie that he had been set up. Enraged, Willie gulped down a whole bottle of whiskey and passed out in Jack Burden’s room.

The next day, he struggled to make it to his campaign barbecue in the city of Upton. To help Willie overcome his hangover, Jack had to fill him full of whiskey again. At the barbecue, the furious, drunken Willie gave the crowd a fire-and-brimstone speech in which he declared that he had been set up, that he was just a hick like everyone else in the crowd, and that he was withdrawing from the race to support MacMurfee. But if MacMurfee didn’t deliver for the little people, Willie admonished the hearers to nail him to the door.

Willie said that if they passed him the hammer he’d nail him to the door himself. Tiny Dufiy tried to stop the speech, but fell off the stage. Willie stumped for MacMurfee, who won the election. Afterwards, Willie returned to his law practice, at which he made a great deal of money and won some high- proffle cases. Jack didn’t see Willie again until the next election, when the political battlefield had changed: Willie now owned the Democratic Party. Jack quit his job at the Chroni-cle because the paper was forcing him to support MacMurfee in his column, and slumped into a depression.

He spent all his time sleeping and piddling around–he called the period “the Great Sleep,” and said it had happened twice before, once just before he walked away from his doctoral dissertation in American History, and once after Lois divorced him. During the Great Sleep Jack occasionally visited Adam Stanton, took Anne Stanton to dinner a few times, and visited his father, who now spent all his time handing out religious iers. At some point during this time Willie was elected governor. One morning Jack received a phone call from Sadie Burke, saying that the Boss wanted to see him the next morn-ing at ten.

Jack asked who the Boss was, and she replied, “Willie Stark, Governor Stark, or don’t you read the pa-pers? ” Jack went to see Willie, who offered him a job for $3,600 a year. Jack asked Willie who he would be working for–Willie or the state. Willie said he would be working for him, not the state. Jack wondered how Willie could afiord to pay him $3,600 a year when the governorship only paid $5,000. But then he remembered the money Willie had made as a lawyer. He accepted the job, and the next night he went to have dinner at the Governor’s mansion.

Chapter 3 Summary Jack Burden tells about going home to Burden’s Landing to visit his mother, some time in 1933. His mother disap-proves of his working for Willie, and Theodore Murrell (his mother’s husband, whom Jack thinks of as “the Young Executive”) irritates him with his questions about politics. Jack remembers being happy in the family’s mansion until he was six years old, when his father (“the Scholarly Attorney”) left home to distribute religious pamphlets, and Jack’s mother told him he had gone because he didn’t love her anymore.

She then married a succession of men: the Tycoon, the Count, and finally the Young Executive. Jack remembers picnicking with Adam and Anne Stanton, and swimming with Anne. He remembers arguing with his mother in 1915 over his decision to go to the State University instead of to Harvard. That night in 1933, Jack, his mother, and the Young Executive go to Judge Irwin’s for a dinner party; the assembled aristocrats talk politics, and are staunchly opposed to Willie Stark’s liberal reforms. Jack is forced to entertain the pretty young Miss Dumonde, who irritates him.

When he drives back to Willie’s hotel, he kisses Sadie Burke on the forehead, simply because she isn’t named Dumonde. On the drive back, Jack thinks about his parents in their youth, when his father brought his mother to Burden’s Landing from her home in Arkansas. In Willie’s room, hell is breaking loose: MacMurfee’s men in the Legislature are mounting an impeachment attempt on Byram B. White, the state auditor, who has been involved in a graft scandal. Willie humiliates and insults White, but decides to protect him.

This decision causes Hugh Miller, Willie’s Attorney General, to resign from offce, and nearly provokes Lucy into leaving Willie. Willie orders Jack to dig up dirt on MacMurfee’s men in the Legislature, and he begins frenetically stumping the state, giving speeches during the day and intimidating and blackmailing MacMurfee’s men at night. Stunned by his aggressive activity, MacMurfee’s men attempt to seize the offensive by impeaching Willie himself. But the blackmailing efiorts work, and the impeachment is called off before the vote can be taken.

Still, the day of the impeachment, a huge crowd descends on the capital in support of Willie. Willie tells Jack that after the impeachment he is going to build a massive, state-of-the-art hospital; Willie wins his next election by a landslide. During all this time, Jack re ects on Willie’s sexual conquests–he has begun a long-term afiair with Sadie Burke, who is fiercely jealous of his other mistresses, but Lucy seems to know nothing about it. Lucy does eventually leave Willie, spending time in St. Augustine and then at her sister’s poultry farm, but they keep up the appearance of marriage.

Jack speculates that Lucy does not sever all her ties with Willie for Tommy’s sake, though teen-aged Tommy has become an arrogant football star with a string of sexual exploits of his own. Chapter 4 Summary Returning to the night in 1936 when he, Willie, and Sugar-Boy drove away from Judge Irwin’s house, Jack re ects that his inquiry into Judge Irwin’s past was really his second major historical study. He recalls his first, as a gradu-ate student at the State University, studying for his Ph. D. in American History.

Jack lived in a slovenly apartment with a pair of slovenly roommates, and blew all the money his mother sent him on drinking binges. He was writing his dissertation on the papers of Cass Mastern, his father’s uncle. As a student at Translyvania College in the 1850s, Cass Mastern had had an afiair with Annabelle Trice, the wife of his friend Duncan Trice. When Duncan discovered the afiair, he took off his wedding ring and shot himself, a sui-cide that was chalked up to accident. But Phebe, one of the Trices’ slaves, had found the ring, and taken it to An-nabelle Trice.

Annabelle had been unable to bear the knowledge that Phebe knew about her sin, and so she sold her. Appalled to learn that Annabelle had sold Phebe instead of setting her free–and appalled to learn that she had separated the slave from her husband–Cass set out to find and free Phebe; but he failed, wounded in a fight with a man who insinuated that he had sexual designs on Phebe. After that, he set to farming a plantation he had obtained with the help of his wealthy brother Gilbert. But he freed his slaves and became a devout abolitionist. Even so, when the war started, he enlisted as a private in the Confed-erate Army.

Complicating matters further, though a Confederate soldier he vowed not to kill a single enemy soldier, since he believed himself already responsible for the death of his friend. He was killed in a battle outside Atlanta in 1864. After leaving to find Phebe, he had never set eyes on Annabelle Trice again. One day Jack simply gave up working on his dissertation. He could not understand why Cass Mastern acted the way he did, and he walked away from the apartment without even boxing up the papers. A landlady sent them to him, but they remained unopened as he endured a long stretch of the Great Sleep.

The papers remained in their unopened box throughout the time he spent with his beautiful wife Lois; after he left her, they remained unopened. The brown paper parcel yellowed, and the name “Jack Burden,”written on top, slowly faded. Chapter 5 Summary In 1936, Jack mulls over the problem of finding dirt on Judge Irwin. He thinks the judge would have been motivated by ambition, love, fear, or money, and settles on money as the most likely reason he might have been driven over the line. He goes to visit his father, but the Scholarly Attorney is preoccupied taking care of an “unfortunate” named George, and refuses to answer his “foul” questions.

He visits Anne and Adam Stanton at their father’s musty old mansion, and learns from Adam that the judge was once broke, back in 1913. But Anne tells him that the judge got out of his financial problems by marrying a rich woman. At some time during this period, Jack goes to one of Tommy’s football games with Willie. Tommy wins the game, and Willie says that he will be an All- American. Tommy receives the adulation of Willie and all his cohorts, and lives an arrogant life full of women and alcohol. Also during this time, Jack learns from Tiny Dufiy that Willie is spending six million dollars on the new hospital.

Soon after, Anne tells Jack that she herself had lunch with Willie, in a successful attempt to get state funding for one of her charities. Jack decides to investigate the judge’s financial past further. Delving into court documents and old newspapers, he discovers that the judge had not married into money, but had taken out a mortgage on his plantation, which he was nearly unable to pay. A sudden windfall enabled him to stop foreclosure proceedings toward the end of his term as Attorney General under Governor Stanton.

Also, after his term he had been given a lucrative job at American Electric Power Company. After some further digging, Jack extracts a letter from a strange old spiritual medium named Lily Mae Littlepaugh, from her brother George Littlepaugh, whom Judge Irwin replaced at the power company. The letter, a suicide note, reveals that the judge received a great deal of stock and the lucrative position at the power company as a bribe for dismissing a court case brought against the Southern Belle Fuel Company, which had the same parent company as American Electric Power.

Littlepaugh says that he visited Governor Stanton to try to convince him to bring the matter to light, but Stanton chose to protect his friend the judge; when Miss Littlepaugh visited the governor after her brother’s suicide, he again protected the judge, and threatened Miss Littlepaugh with prosecution for insurance fraud. After seven months of digging, Jack has his proof. Chapter 6 Summary During the time Jack is investigating Judge Irwin’s background, Tommy Stark, drunk, wraps his car around a tree, severely injuring the young girl riding with him.

Her father, a trucker, raises a tremendous noise about the accident, but he is quieted when he is reminded that truckers drive on state highways and many truckers have state con-tracts. Lucy is livid about Tommy’s crash, even though Tommy is unhurt; she insists that Willie make him stop playing football and living his rambunctious life, but Willie says that he won’t see his son turn into a sissy, and that he wants Tommy to have fun. Willie is, during this time, completely committed to his six-million-dollar hospital project, and he insists, to Jack’s bemusement, that it will be completed without any illicit wheeling and dealing.

Willie is furious when Tiny Dufiy tries to convince him to give the contract to Gummy Larson, a Mac-Murfee supporter who would throw his support to Willie if he received the building contract. (He would also throw a substantial sum of money to Tiny himself. ) But Willie insists that the project will be completely clean, and seems to think of it as his legacy–he even says that he does not care whether it wins him any votes. He insists as well that Jack convince Adam Stanton to run it. Jack knows that Adam hates the entire Stark administration, but he visits his friend’s apartment to make the offer nevertheless.

Adam is outraged, but he seems tempted when Jack points out how much good he would be able to do as director of the hospital. Eventually, after Anne becomes involved, Adam agrees to take the job. He has a conversation with Willie during which Willie espouses his moral theory–that the only thing for a man to do is create goodness out of badness, because everything is bad, and the only reason something becomes good is because a person thinks it makes things better. Adam is wary of Willie, but he still takes the job–after he receives Willie’s promise not to interfere in the running of the hospital.

During this time Jack learns that Anne has found out that Adam received the offer to run the hospital. She visits Jack, and says that she desperately wants Adam to take it. In a moment of bitterness, Jack tells her about how her father illegally protected Judge Irwin after he took the bribe. Anne is crushed; but she visits Adam with the information, and that is what prompts Adam to compromise his ideals and take the directorship. Anne, Adam, and Jack attend a speech Willie gives, during which he announces his intention to give the citizens of the state free medical care and free educations.

Anne asks urgently if Willie really means it, and Jack replies, “How the hell should I know? ” But something nags the back of Jack’s mind: he is unable to figure out how Anne learned that Adam had been offered the directorship of the hospital. Adam didn’t tell her, and Willie says that he didn’t tell her, and Jack didn’t tell her. He finds out that Sadie Burke told her, in a jealous rage—for Sadie says that Anne is Willie’s new slut, that she has become his mistress. Jack is shocked, but when he visits Anne, she gives him a wordless nod that confirms Sadie’s accusation.

Chapter 7 Summary After learning about Anne’s afiair with Willie Stark, Jack ees westward. He spends several days driving to Califor-nia, then, after he arrives, three days in Long Beach. On the way, he remembers his past with Anne Stanton, and tries to understand what happened that led her to Willie. When they were children, Jack spent most of his time with Adam Stanton, and Anne simply tagged along. But the summer after his junior year at the State University, when he was twenty-one and Anne was seventeen, Jack fell in love with Anne, and spent the summer with her.

They played tennis together, and swam together at night, and pursued an increasingly intense physical relationship– Jack remembers that Anne was not prudish, that she seemed to regard her body as something they both pos-sessed, and that they had to explore together. Two nights before Anne was scheduled to leave for her boarding school, they found themselves alone in Jack’s house during a thunderstorm, and nearly made love for the first time–but Jack hesitated, and then his mother came home early, ending their chance.

The next day Jack tried to convince Anne to marry him, but she demurred, saying that she loved him, but seemed to feel that something in his unambitious character was an impediment to her giving in to her love. After Anne left for school, they continued to write every day, but their feelings dwindled, and the next few times they saw each other, things were difierent between them. Over Christmas, Anne wouldn’t let Jack make love to her, and they had a fight about it.

Eventually the letters stopped, and Jack got thrown out of law school, and began to study history, and then eventually he was married to Lois, a beautiful sexpot whose friends he despised and who did not interest him as a person. Toward the end of their marriage, he entered into a phase of the Great Sleep, and then left her altogether. After two years at a very refined women’s college in Virginia, Anne returned to Burden’s Landing to care for her ailing father. She was engaged several times but never married, and after her father died, she became an old maid, though she kept her looks and her charm.

She devoted herself to her work at the orphanage and her other charities. Jack feels as though she could never marry him because of some essential confidence he lacked, and that she was drawn to Willie Stark because he possessed that confidence. Jack also feels that because he revealed to Anne the truth of her father’s duplicity in protecting Judge Irwin after he accepted the bribe, he is responsible for Anne’s afiair with Willie. But he tries to convince himself that the only human motivation is a certain kind of biological compulsion, a kind of itch in the blood, and that therefore, he is not responsible for Anne’s behavior.

He says this attitude was a “dream” that made his trip west deliver on its promise of “innocence and a new start”–if he was able to believe the dream. Chapter 8 Summary Jack drives eastward back to his life. He stops at a filling station in New Mexico, where he picks up an old man heading back to Arkansas. (The old man was driven to leave for California by the Dust Bowl, but discovered that California was no better than his home. ) The old man has a facial twitch, of which he seems entirely unaware.

Jack, thinking about the twitch, decides that it is a metaphor for the randomness and causelessness of life–the very ideas he had been soothing himself with in California, ideas which excused him from responsibility for Willie and Anne’s afiair–and begins to refer to the process of life as the “Great Twitch. ” Feeling detached from the rest of the world because of his new “secret knowledge,” as he calls the idea of the Great Twitch, Jack visits Willie and resumes his normal life. He sees Adam a few times and goes to watch him per-form a prefrontal lobotomy on a schizophrenic patient, which seems to him another anifestation of the Great Twitch. One night, Anne calls Jack, and he meets her at an all-night drugstore; she tells him that a man named Hu-bert Coffee tried to offer Adam a bribe to throw the building contract for the new hospital to Gummy Larson. In a rage, Adam hit the man, threw himout, and wrote a letter resigning from his post as director of the hospital. Anne asks Jack to convince Adam to change his mind; Jack says that he will try, but that Adam is acting irrational-ly, and therefore may not listen to reason.

He says he will tell Willie to bring charges against Hubert Coffee for the attempted bribe, which will convince Adam that Willie is not corrupt, at least when it comes to the hospital. Anne offers to testify, but Jack dissuades her–if she did testify, he says, her afiair with Willie would become agrantly and unpleasantly public. Jack asks Anne why she has given herself to Willie, and Anne replies that she loves Willie, and that she will marry him after he is elected to the Senate next year. Willie agrees to bring the charges against Coffee, and Jack is able to persuade Adam to remain director of the hospital.

That crisis is averted,but a more serious crisis arises when a man named Marvin Frey–a man, not coinci-dentally, from MacMurfee’s district–accuses Tom Stark of having impregnated his daughter Sibyl. Then one of MacMurfee’s men visits Willie and says that Marvin Frey wants Tom to marry his daughter–but that Frey will see reason if, say, Willie were to let MacMurfee win the Senate seat next year. Willie delays his answer, hoping to come up with a better solution. In the meantime, Jack goes to visit Lucy Stark at her sister’s poultry farm, where he explains to her what has hap-pened with Tom.

Lucy is crestfallen, and says that Sibyl Frey’s child is innocent of evil and innocent of politics, and deserves to be cared for. Willie comes up with a shrewd solution for dealing with MacMurfee and Frey. Remembering that MacMurfee owes most of his current political clout, such as it is, to the fact that Judge Irwin supports him, Willie asks Jack if he was able to discover anything sordid in Judge Irwin’s past. Jack says that he was, but he refuses to tell Willie what it is until he gives Judge Irwin the opportunity to look at the evidence and answer for himself.

Jack travels to Burden’s Landing, where he goes for a swim and watches a young couple playing tennis, feeling a lump in his throat at his memories of Anne. He then goes to visit the judge, who is happy to see Jack, and who apologizes for being so angry the last time they spoke. Jack tells the judge what MacMurfee is trying to do and asks him to call MacMurfee off. The judge says that he refuses to become mixed up in the matter, and Jack is forced to ask him about the bribe and Mortimer Littlepaugh’s suicide. The judge admits that he did take the bribe, and accepts responsibility for his actions, saying that he also did some good in his life.

He refuses to give in to the blackmail attempt. Jack goes back to his mother’s house, where he hears a scream from upstairs. Running upstairs, he finds his mother sobbing insensibly, the phone receiver off the hook and on the oor. When she sees Jack she cries out that Jack has killed Judge Irwin–whom she refers to as Jack’s father. Jack learns that Judge Irwin has committed sui-cide, by shooting himself in the heart, at the same moment he learns that Judge Irwin, and not the Scholarly Attor-ney, was his real father.

Jack realizes that the Scholarly Attorney must have left Jack’s mother when he learned of her afiair with the judge. In a way, Jack is glad to be unburdened of his father’s weakness, which he felt as a curse, and is even glad to have traded a weak father for a strong one. But he remembers his father giving him a chocolate when he was a child, and says that he was not sure how he felt. Jack goes back to the capital, where he learns the next day that he was Judge Irwin’s sole heir. He has inherited the very estate that the judge took the bribe in order to save.

The situation seems so crazily logical–Judge Irwin takes the bribe in order to save the estate, then fathers Jack, who tries to blackmail his father with information about the bribe, which causes Judge Irwin to commit suicide, which causes Jack to inherit the estate; had Judge Irwin not taken the bribe, Jack would have had nothing to inherit, and had Jack not tried to blackmail Judge Irwin, the judge would not have killed himself, and Jack would not have inherited the estate when he did–so crazily logi-cal that Jack bursts out laughing. But before long he is sobbing and saying “the poor old bugger” over and over again.

Jack says this is like the ice breaking up after a long, cold winter. Chapter 9 Summary Jack goes to visit Willie, who asks him about Judge Irwin’s death. Jack tells the Boss that he will no longer have anything to do with blackmail, even on MacMurfee, and he is set to work on a tax bill. Over the next few weeks, Tom continues to shine at his football games, but the Sibyl Frey incident has left Willie irritable and dour as he tries to concoct a plan for dealing with MacMurfee. In the end, Willie is forced to give the hospital contract to Gummy Larson, who can control MacMurfee, who can call off Marvin Frey.

Jack goes to the Governor’s Mansion the night the deal is made, and finds Willie a drunken wreck; Willie insults and threatens Gummy Larson, and throws a drink in Tiny Dufiy’s face. Tom continues to spiral out of control. He gets in a fight with some yokels at a bar, and is suspended for the game against Georgia, which the team loses. Two games later, Tom is injured in the game against Tech, and is carried off the field unconscious. Willie watches the rest of the game, which State wins easily, then goes to the hospital to check on Tom. Jack goes back to the offce, where he finds Sadie Burke sitting alone in the dark, apparently very upset.

Sadie leaves when Jack tells her about Tom’s injury, then calls from the hospital to tell Jack to come over right away. Jack goes to the hospital, where the Boss sends him to pick up Lucy. Jack does so, and upon their arrival they learn that the specialist Adam Stanton called in to look at Tom has been held up by fog in Baltimore. Willie is fran-tic, but eventually the specialist arrives. His diagnosis matches Adam’s: Tom has fractured two vertebrae, and the two doctors recommend a risky surgery to see if the damage can be repaired. They undertake the surgery, and Willie, Jack, and Lucy wait.

Willie tells Lucy that he plans to name the hospital after Tom, but Lucy says that things like that don’t matter. At six o’clock in the morning, Adam returns, and tells the group that Tom will live, but that his spinal cord is crushed, and he will be paralyzed for the rest of his life. Lucy takes Willie home, and Jack calls Anne with the news. The operation was accomplished just before dawn on Sunday. On Monday, Jack sees the piles of telegrams that have come into the offce from political allies and well-wishers, and talks to the obsequious Tiny.

When Willie comes in, he declares to Tiny that he is canceling Gummy Larson’s contract. He implies that he plans to change the way things are done at the capital. Jack is taking some tax-bill figures to the Senate when he learns that Sadie has just stormed out of the offce, and receives word that Anne has just called with an urgent message. Jack goes to see Anne, who says that Adam has learned about her relationship with Willie, and believes the afiair to be the reason he was given the directorship of the hospital.

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