"All the King's Men" by Robert Penn Warren.

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Essay Database > Literature > English
In the novel All the King's Men, Robert Penn Warren, through his memorable character Jack Burden, analyzes the relationship between action and consequences and their far-reaching effects. Time, a linear measurement, differs much from its cousin, history, a record of the past whose hands touch the present and shape the future. Ellis Burden departing from his wife and Jack, Judge Irwin accepting a bribe from the American Electric Power Company, and Jack digging for dirt …

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…William Faulkner's novel As I Lay Dying, Jack attempts to evaluate the significance of the past, present, and future. Without a concrete definition of the three time periods and good understanding of the past, Jack, Darl, and man alike cannot survive. Self-understanding must precede the understanding of history; otherwise, man will surely lose his way navigating through the web of history and blindly encounter the ever-present "drowsy spider" without knowing its awesome prowess and power.