All The Kings Men by Robert Penn Warren is a novel of how Jack Burden finds himself. It was a long, political road for Jack and it was the letters of an old relative that gave him a new perspective of the world. It confused him at first, but in the passage I chose you can see what Jack? s burden really is. Cass Mastern was an old relative of Jack? s.
Jack was doing his history dissertation on his life. During his life he spent time with a couple he was friends with. He slept with his friends wife and when he got word of this he killed himself. Cass Mastern felt terrible for what he had caused and enlisted in the confederate army. He made sure he stayed a private, and would not fight for he had killed his friend and must take punishment for his actions. He later was wounded and died from that wound.
Jack was shocked at Cass? s life. This shock was because? Cass Mastern lived for a few years and in that time he learned the world is all one piece. He learned that the world is like an enormous spider web and if you touch it, however lightly, at any point, the vibration ripples to the remotest perimeter and the drowsy no more but springs out to fling the gossamer coils about you who have touched the web and then inject the black numbing poison under your hide. It does not matter whether or not you meant to brush the web of things. Your happy foot or your gay wing may have brushed it ever so lightly, but what happens always happens and there is the spider, bearded black and with his great faceted eyes glittering like mirrors in the sun, or like God? s eye, and the fangs dripping. ? Jack couldn? t accept the truth that your actions effect everyone and everything around you not just yourself.
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Even when these actions are meant for good, but they may have a bad effect on someone else and things can come back to haunt you. Jack had a very pessimistic view of the world. He would not accept any responsibility for his actions. He left school with out a care, left his wife without a care, and was often very rude when he was back home. He wouldn? t feel bad about any of it just keep going like it had no effect.
He clearly states when he said, ? But nothing, happened to Jack Burden, for nothing ever happened to Jack Burden, who was invulnerable. Perhaps that was the curse of Jack Burden: he was invulnerable. ? This was Jack? s burden The great sleep came to Jack after Cass? s expiation. Cass, in a form, killed himself. He tool the blame for all sins of man and killed himself by not fighting. He was grateful for his long death which also didn? t make any sense to Jack.
Cass said? Remember me, but without grief. If one of us is lucky it is I. ? Now that Cass was dead he no longer had to live with his sins on his friends. Jack also would punish himself during the novel. He would never take raises, lived in terrible apartments, and would never take money from his mother during school. I don? t think he did this consciously, but it did help him finally find himself.
As Jack said his first mistake was looking for the truth and not the facts. This is true because the truth can hurt a lot more especially when it touches a deep part of your soul. This is not something a person digging for dirt can look for. The truth got to Jack and he could not take it. Jack says it best with the statement, ? Or perhaps he laid aside the journal of Cass Mastern not because he could not understand, but because he was afraid to understand for what might be understood there was a reproach to him?