Monday, August 19, 2019

Human Nature in Penn Warrens All the Kings Men :: essays research papers

Princes rescue princesses, they fall in love, conquer all evil and live happily ever after. While perhaps this is the sort of story the literary public likes to read, according to Robert Penn Warren it is not reality. Penn Warren wrote his 1946 novel, All the King’s Men as a realistic and satiric play on the life of the real historical politician, Huey Long. Among his other achievements of being an author, poet, and scholar, Penn Warren can also be considered something of a political philosopher. In forming one of his theories, he directly contradicts the ideas of philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau who believed that human nature was good and it was a corrupt society that made an evil person. In contrast, Penn Warren uses his writing to suggest that the only reason society is corrupt is that it was developed by an inherently evil mankind. The idea of a carnal man is illustrated in All the King’s Men through theories presented by Penn Warren’s colorful cast o f principle characters. Many characters throughout the book, the most prevalent being the cynical narrator, Jack Burden, allude to the massive struggle for power that ensues, as well as the inevitable decay thereof among the political giants in All the King’s Men. While Jack gives the pretense of imperviousness, he is sensitive to the signals even as he excuses them. â€Å"Doesn’t it all boil down to this? If the government of this state for quite a long time had been doing anything for the folks in it, would Stark†¦be making so many short cuts to get something done to make up for the time lost all these years in not getting something done?† (125). Jack recognizes that men are corruptible by power, but he justifies this because of the results corruption seems to produce. By the end, however, he comes to better realize that the results are not really auspicious. Power can be used to strive toward worthy goals, and often those goals are achieved to much acclaim, but the end re sult seldom comes to a positive effect. Similar to Jack’s conclusion, the main political figure in the story, Willie Stark, suggests that his corruption is irrelevant because it is justified by his accomplishments. â€Å"†¦It’s dirt that makes the grass grow. A diamond ain’t a thing in the world but a piece of dirt that got awful hot†¦It all depends on what you do with the dirt† (45).

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