English II Final
All The King’s Men
“All The King’s Men”, the novel, written by Robert Penn Warren and the film, directed by Steven Zallian, were both brilliant creations. As stated in the New York Times article, “Whatever its flaws, Warren’s book, a meaty stew of lurid Southern-gothic pulp and high-minded literariness, seems to provide the recipe for a grand, melodramatic prestige picture” (1). Whether you are watching a movie or reading a book there is an image in your mind. With a movie you are seeing the image that the director wants you to see, whereas in a novel the author is describing the image but, you yourself are using your own imagination to put the author’s words together to create an image. In some cases when you are reading a novel the descriptions and your imagination working together create an extremely powerful image. In other cases actually being able to see a situation with your own eyes makes it more dramatic and powerful, all depending on how it is projected. The novel does an amazing job with giving the reader specific details, but I some cases a person needs to witness the action with their own eyes. Question 1: Willie Stark is a very powerful speaker. He is powerful because he has faith in what he is preaching. In the film, Willie’s speech, as well as the crowd’s reaction, is much more deep and powerful than the way it is depicted in the novel. In both the novel as well as in the film, Willie’s speech starts off slow and isn’t enough to catch the attention of the town’s people immediately. The novel doesn’t show any distinct indication that Willie ever captures the attention of the people. In the film as soon as Willie has mentioned the school house disaster, everyone starts to flock towards the stage where Willie is standing. He then explains how his running for governor was nothing but a fraud set up put together by Joe Harrison. In the novel, Willie ends his speech by saying “I’m resigning in favor of MacMurfee”, then goes on to say he and the other hicks will kill Joe Harrison, and leaves it at that (140). However, in the film after he explains the Joe Harrison scandal in a very stern, determined tone, catching the crowds undivided attention, he announces that he is going to run for governor on his own and gets everyone around chanting. In this case the movie is much more powerful than the novel because the viewer is able to witness the crowd’s reaction to the fullest extent. The way Willie makes his speech by yelling and showing determination and aggressiveness actually makes you believe what he is saying and makes you as the viewer want to yell along with the town’s people. The faces of the town’s people are so mesmerized by what Willie is saying and seeing their positive grinning faces chanting back “nail em’ up”, makes it so real that you start to believe it yourself. Question 2: Jack Burden and Willie Stark pay a visit to Judge Irwin’s house regarding the impeachment of Stark as the governor. In the novel it goes into an abundance of Jack’s thoughts from the time he enters the Judge’s house until his exiting. Therefore the novel is much more effective and powerful regarding this conflict. The novel goes into great detail about Jack’s remembrance of the Judge. When Judge Irwin opens the door for Jack, Jack notices that the Judge hasn’t changed much since he has remembered him. Jack then goes on to explain that the library of the Judges house had not changed at all. He could remember the smell of the room from the long afternoons he had spent in that room reading with the Judge (65). This is very powerful because it is showing the reader how strong the connection between judge and jack is and how much of a past relationship they had. It shows that deep down it is bothering Jack to be there, intruding on the Judge. This part of the novel explains a great deal of Jack’s thought, whereas in the film there is no way of indicating what Jack is thinking.
The Judge makes a deceitful...
Cited: “All The King’s Men”. Empire Magazine, UK: 2pp. Online. Internet. MRQE.com
Penn Warren, Robert. All The King’s Men. Orlando: Harcourt, 1974.
Scott, A.O. “Southern Fried Demagogue and His Lurid Downfall”. The New York Times: 3pp. Online. Internet. 22 September, 2006. MRQE.com
Zallian, Steven, Director. “All The King’s Men”. 2006
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