— [http://goo.gl/TRgsD1] Anne Stanton was "simply a name for a peculiarly complicated piece of mechanism". _______________________(Warren 311, kindle location 5963).



:: RT: Anne Stanton, http://goo.gl/TRgsD1 the upper-class thin girl, "brown-toned, golden-lighted and quiet-face, big-eyed, goes on to start an affair with Willie Stark, the local governor and womenizer, to keep her societal status (Warren 39, 103, kindle locations 783, 2008); Interdisciplinary Course with Cultural Studies | #Essay #StudyNotes #UniversityStudies #SocialStudies #CulturalStudies #Society


In both texts, women's roles are very different, yet there are identical characteristics between Warren's female characters and Wharton's women. Undeniably, beneath their façade of defending moral values lies a deep hypocrisy.

Jack struggles both against the morality of his ancestors and the present-day morality in a world of moral ambiguity. All this morality struggling becomes Jack's burden.

Lydia, on the other hand, struggles against the document of divorce and the theme of marriage that hung over their head as a sword restrained only by a delicate thread. She struggles against “fossilized sandwiches” (Wharton 83) in a little microcosm full of a ‘certain tone’ (102), a ‘belated society’, gossip old ladies still dragging their feet; she struggles against the limitations of such rigid American society, those "old cats in caps" (Wharton 99-100).

Jack's mother had had at least five men. She was a woman, "who loved merely power over men and the momentary satisfaction to vanity or flesh which they could give her" (Warren 433, kindle location 8257)


Edith Wharton —Souls Belated— and Robert Penn Warren —All the Kings Men— ; Interdisciplinary Course with Cultural Studies, Benjamin Madeira, PDF ::

Edith Wharton —Souls Belated— and Robert Penn Warren —All the Kings Men—, PDF - Official Website - BenjaminMadeira

Female characterization in the short story “Souls Belated” and the novel All the King’s Men ::

The short story "Souls Belated" (1899) and the novel All the King's Men (1946) present very distinct female characters in very different environments. “Souls Belated” depicts women during the turn-of-the-century New York and All the King's Men does the same in post-Great Depression American society. Furthermore, while women's roles are very different, Warren's female characters and Wharton's women share certain characteristics. As will be seen, in both, “Souls Belated” and All the King's Men, female characters are depicted in patriarchal environments. Against a background of puritan, wealthy New Yorkers, social hypocrisy, on one hand, and urban and rural settings, on the other, some female characters seek to preserve their social standards while others oppose the repressive societal norms.

Archetypes in patriarchal history ::

Both literary works depict women that represent archetypes in patriarchal history. There is an important difference between Edith Wharton’s depiction and Warren’s adaptation of women. Warren's female characters sprang from the mind of a male and are fictional women (Brent vii). Moreover, Wharton's short story centers on authentically human women characters who seek their happiness through socially privileged marriages, and Lydia who considers marriage to be society’s restrictions imposed on women. While Warren searches inside himself to draw a picture of his women, Edith Wharton addresses a social critique on all the benefits that were dampened by the lack of freedom that characterized married women during the Gilded Age.

Point of view ::

In “Souls Belated,” the narrator-focalizer Edith Wharton utilizes a third-person omniscient which can relate events that secondary characters experience directly while giving access to their thoughts and motivations. While All the King’s Men utilizes first-person narration, the reader has to rely on the protagonist, journalist and researcher, Jack Burden. Jack Burden is the story-telling persona of most of the story in All the King’s Men. A third-person limited is embedded in chapter four and the end of chapter ten, in which Jack is closely followed throughout. The first-person point of view can present certain opportunities, but can also entail particular challenges and limitations. One limitation of first-person narration is giving the readers access to secondary characters’ thoughts and motivations. Another is relating events that the narrator does not experience directly and it can be challenging to show clear primary character development and a self-aware perspective.

In medias res ::

While Wharton starts her short story as the readers follow Lydia and Ralph Garnett on a train trip which symbolizes their journey in life, Warren's story begins in medias res, somewhere in the middle of the story, and it entails subsequent use of flashback —"a type of ping-pong effect in the novel"— (Robbins-Sponaas, lesson 6) and nonlinear narrative —out of chronological order —. The narration starts full of long sentences of description that become Highway 58 and the readers will start travelling along as active observers (Warren 1, kindle location 28). Social realist Edith Wharton employs remarkably descriptive imagery including metaphors and similes. Lydia and Gannett’s journey through Europe on the train is, in itself, a metaphor of their evolving journey in their life. The female narrator-focalizer observes that “[t]he direction of the road had changed” [...] “[t]heir railway-carriage [which] had been full” becomes empty as it advances (Wharton 83).

American riches and English aristocrats ::

In “Souls Belated,” one of the most prevalent themes is turn-of-century New York society’s preoccupation with procuring socially advantageous marriages. Nina Baym in Woman's Fiction observes that “the ethos of money and exploitation [...] is perceived to prevail in American society” (27). In New York aristocratic society, the female characters struggle because of the inadequacy of their respective marriages. Lydia's staying at the Anglo-hotel represents an internal struggle in her opposition to the forces that quell women’s emancipation. Lydia had internalized the repressive societal norms towards women who refuse “the normal conditions of life” (Wharton 125). She behaves as a married woman among American riches and English aristocrats (102-107, 117-118). At the hotel, Lydia has to cope with complications due to her attitude to the ‘institution of marriage’; “marriage” understood by its political nature, rather than a self-chosen relationship (Holmes 113). Lydia went on to start an extra-marital affair with Ralph Gannett who saw her as his equal. Against a background of wealth and social hypocrisy, both lovers flee the stiff regulations and the tedious regularity of New York and enjoy their passionate relationship.

In accordance with traditional values ::

An evolving journey is what Lucy Stark, Governor Willie's wife, has not chosen. She lives in accordance with traditional values. Unlike Lydia, Lucy has a special devotion to her marriage and her family; she is depicted as “a dutiful wife and mother” (Robbins-Sponaas, lesson 6). Although, different than Lydia, Lucy Stark abandons her conjugal relationship, leaving Willie to his political and sexual intrigues. In “Souls Belated,” Lydia assumed the responsibility of charting her own path of personal autonomy. Similarly to Lucy Stark, at some point in her trip together with her lover, Lydia felt that marriage still meant something for her, she gained respectability within aristocratic society (Wharton 120). Yet, unlike Lydia, Lucy Stark did not divorce Willie as a divorced woman’s behavior did not conform to social norms. Her last name is the antithesis of her apparent strength of character.

Mrs. Murrell ::

Considering that all events, situations, interpretations of other characters' dialogue are filtered through the narrator-focalizer, the readers do not see much of Mrs. Murrell’s character since Jack pays far more attention to her appearance. Jack's mother was that "big-eyed thin-faced woman who [had a new] man she got herself" (Warren 40, kindle location 807). Jack's mother, Mrs. Murrell, "a real looker," had had an affair with Judge Irwin, the friend of Jack's family, and there were also "those men who had married [his] mother" (Warren 40-41, kindle location 807, 809). Unlike Mrs. Murrell, Lydia soon realized that she had to be honest with herself. It had become a matter of moral principle, and she was determined to disclose the nature of her affair to others (Wharton 95).

A highly desirable woman ::

Anne Stanton is Jack's life-long love, who he still regards as a highly desirable woman until he learns she has become Willie's mistress (Warren 266-269, kindle location 5086-5145). Anne Stanton, however, was waiting for him to find a career in order to secure a stable future. Jack, however, had no ambitions. Thus, in contrast to Anne's highly respected father, former Governor Stanton, and her brother, surgeon Adam, Jack was a poor marriage prospect. Contrary to Anne Stanton, Lydia is determined to condemn that women are conditioned to ‘lead a dependent and abject life,’ which undermines their self-confidence and her self-respect. For Lydia, self-reliance was suppressed by marriage (Holmes 112).

Anne Stanton went on to pursue an affair ::

On deciding to oppose the repressive societal norms, Lydia chooses to abandon her marriage to Tillotson, a rich member of upper-class society, although it offered a series of social privileges. While preoccupied with preserving her respected, comfortable life, in All the King’s Men, well-educated, conformist, Anne Stanton went on to pursue an affair with Governor Willie Stark, who had provided her brother with the opportunity to preserve his social status as a surgeon.

Keep her societal status ::

Considering her marriage with Tillotson, Lydia held the view that her relationship lacked the intimacy that she would wish to have with a man who saw her role as equally valuable. Anne's expectations in a marriage to a high-society man reveals that she was relying on the social privileges marriage offered. Anne relies upon the traditions of her aristocratic upbringing to give her support. The well-educated Anne Stanton overlooks the corruption in Willie Stark and sees only an advantage to keep her societal status. Anne Stanton honors a patriarchal figure in Willie Stark, while Lydia is fleeing the burden of patriarchal relationships. It took a strong conviction from Lydia to demonstrate her dissatisfaction with the conventional social norm, regardless of the benefits that marriage offered.

Conclusion ::

Although in different environments, both Wharton and Warren depict women as willing to preserve their social status despite their freedom. Is evident that, for Warren, marriage represented the final domestication of his heroine, Anne Stanton, who ended up married to Jack. Wharton, however, does not define a self-made woman in terms of marriage but in not providing the readers with an explicit ending, she promotes public debate on women’s self-determination. Wharton had the courage to keep her heroine unmarried under the risk that her short-story was read as a mere story of the frustration of female nature (Baym, 1981, 135). She does not define Lydia by her remarriage with Ralph Gannett but defines her, instead, by her relationship with him, without labeling it as marital relationship.

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"All the King's Men" (2006 [featuring: Sean Penn, Jude Law, Antonhy Hopkings, Kate Winslet) || Quality: 480p (High Definition) || original audio [Swedish subtitles] (USA English) ::





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WORKS CITED — REFERENCES :

• [1] Baym, Nina. “Melodramas of Beset Manhood: How Theories of American Fiction Exclude Women Authors.” American Quarterly 33 (1981): 123-139. Web. Retrieved on June 2015 from: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2712312

______. Woman's Fiction: A Guide to Novels by and about Women in America, 1820-70. Rev. ed. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1993; originally published: Ithica: Cornell University Press, 1978. ISBN-13: 978-0252062858. Print.

• [2] Brent, Martha Schaefer. "Female Characterization in the Novels of Robert Penn Warren: Variations on a Cinderella Theme." A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of the Department of English. Bowling Green, Kentucky: Western Kentucky University, 1995. Web. Retrieved on May 2015 from http://goo.gl/UtHSGZ

• [3] Holmes, Mary. "Second-wave feminism and the politics of relationships." Women's Studies International Forum 23.2 (2000): 235–246. 2.

• [4] Robbins-Sponaas, Rhonna. "Lesson 10: Warren." ENG6012 Course Website, spring 2015. Take Credit, Trondheim: NTNU. Web. Retrieved on May 2015 from https://goo.gl/p2o1Ow

• [5] Warren, Robert Penn. All the King's Men. 1946. Reprint edition, 1996. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition. ISBN-13: 978-0-15-101163-6

• [6] Wharton, Edith (1899). "Souls Belated." Wharton, Edith. The Greater Inclination. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1899. 83-130. Print. ISBN: 3 2106 00215 4307


2006 - All The King's Men Soundtrack - Based on the Robert Penn Warren novel. The life of populist Southerner Willie Stark, a political creature loosely based on Governor Huey Long of Louisiana ::





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