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All the King's Men: Novel Summary: Chapter Six

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Jack recalls that before meeting Miss Littlepaugh, Tom Stark was in a drunk driving accident. The girl with him was badly injured and her father insists on taking out a lawsuit. He changes his mind, however, when he is reminded that his trucking business depends on 'a lot of contacts with certain state departments'.

In a move away from corruption, the Boss (Willie) tells Jack of his plans to build a six million dollar hospital - the Willie Stark Hospital - and wants Adam Stanton to work there as director.

The narrative moves to Slade's pool hall, which is where Jack first met Willie. Jack is there to talk to Anne and she tells Jack she wants Adam to take the hospital job. Jack tells her he will try to persuade him. He goes on to tell her about his discoveries of Judge Irwin's past and her father's involvement. She reacts hysterically and attracts the attention of a policeman. Jack is almost arrested, but the policeman desists when Jack tells him who he is.

Anne rings five nights later and asks for the papers that prove her father's and the Judge's guilt. She visits Jack to tell him she has shown the papers to Adam. She then asks Jack for a favor; she wants him to show the papers to the Judge to 'give him a chance' to explain. Jack agrees to do this.

The narrative shifts to Adam saying he will take the job of hospital director, and Jack and Willie go to see him. Adam tells Willie that he will not stand for any interference if he takes the position. Willie cites the point that he wants to make goodness out of badness, that is, that he wants this hospital to be free from corrupting influences. Adam asks him, 'how do you even recognise the good? Assuming you have made it from the bad.'

Jack recalls the night after the fear of impeachment and Willie makes a speech to the crowd about the hospital and education. Adam said at the time that this is Willie's bribe to the people. Willie also says in the speech that if anyone tries to stop him he will 'smite him', and then asked for his meat-ax. Jack shows a lack of understanding of Willie's desire for purity in the following quotation: 'If he believed that you had to make the good out of the bad because there wasn't anything else to make it out of, why did he stir up such a fuss about keeping Tiny's hands off the Willie Stark Hospital?'

This chapter ends with Jack remembering Anne telling him that she wants Adam to take the job, and realises that he had not told her about the position or Willie's offer. Jack asks Adam if he told her about it, but he had not. The mystery is solved when Sadie visits Jack and lets him know that Willie is 'two-timing' her with Anne Stanton. Jack goes to see Anne about it, and she just nods.

Chapter Six exposes the further breaking down of ideals. The discovery of the deceit of Judge Irwin and Governor Stanton in 1914 is revealed to Anne and then Adam.

This unwanted knowledge is compounded by the revelation that Anne has been having an affair with Willie. The secrets are being exposed one by one and these have their impact in the latter stages of the novel.

As well as being catalysts for the plot, these unearthed secrets also challenge the idealism of good and effectively demonstrate that there is no innocence in this world of corruption.


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