Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men is told by a young, irresponsible journalist who traces the rise and the fall of Willie Stark who becomes corrupted by success. If the stories of Jack and Willie were told by Sadie, Lucy, or Anne, I believe that their stories would be told much differently because Jack is an emotional figure and it can have a significant effect on his perspective. Thus, Jack fails to give the readers an accurate view of the women in the novel. Jack is both a central and a peripheral narrator. He tells us, "This has been the story of Willie Stark, but it is my story, too" (656). The readers also hear the stories of the other people closest to Jack and Willie, such as Sadie, Lucy, and Anne. Although women are not hugely incorporated into the storyline due to their roles in society during the early 20th century, they influence and are influenced by others significantly. If All the King’s Men was written by these three women, it would have been narrated in three completely different manner and notion.
Through the course of the novel, Jack, the narrator, misses on major chunks of Anne's life. How she is on the job at the Children's Home, what she's like when she's alone, and her daily routine are completely unknown. The readers only see what Jack sees, and his visions of Anne are often clouded. For obvious reasons, Jack is incredibly biased when it comes to anything concerning Anne. If the stories of Jack and Willie were told by Anne, I believe the story would have been written in much more of a positive tone. Although she is portrayed as a vulnerable woman in the early 19th century American South, her strength is demonstrated when Willie learns that Tom won't wake up, and Anne tries to use the situation for good. Anne tells Adam “that if he wanted to do any good—really do any good—here was the time. And the way. To see that the Medical Center was run right” (358). For both the good of the hospital and the good of her brother, Adam, Anne uses the information to convince him to take the position of hospital director. Anne symbolizes hopefulness and ethics in this tragic tale and the story of Willie, and Jack certainly would’ve been depicted differently in her point of view.
As a character, Sadie is hugely defined by her physical characteristics, such as her extremely pockmarked face. At one point when she is in deep despair, Jack tells us that she looks like a "plaster-of Paris mask of Medusa which some kid has been using as a target for a BB gun" (320). We soon learn that her face is pockmarked because she and her brother had small-pox as children. When Sadie reveals this information to Jack, she pushes his fingers into her face, making him aware that she is a Medusa only on the surface. She can't turn men into stone, and her powers are purely political. She's a flesh and blood person, with both a heart and a burning drive to succeed. She feels, quite rightly, that she played a big role in making Willie the star he becomes. By the end of the novel, it seems that perhaps Sadie is on her way to developing an identity not dependent on Willie Stark. Like Jack, Sadie is haunted by the shame of the past. I found Sadie quite similar to Jack because of their analogous personalities and their loyalties to Willie until the very end. I believe that Sadie would have told the story in a similar tone with some biases like Jack possess in the novel.
Lucy is a weak character in the novel, and her humble opinions are consistently