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In a novel written about All the King's Men, this critical analysis serves as a closer look at the [wo]man behind the curtain. "The Puppeteer" scrutinizes Robert Penn Warren's use of gender in relation to politics, power, and puppet strings through his female character Sadie Burke. All the King's Men is praised for being the insightful chronicle of Willie Stark's journey from rags to riches, who is rumored to serve as the fictional representation of Louisiana Governor Huey Long. It is also celebrated for the tantalizing coming-of-age narrative of Warren's narrator Jack Burden, in which Burden grapples with his reconciliation of self and morality. However, the novel's numerous accolades fail to recognize the brilliance of Warren's attention to gender. This critical analysis takes a closer look at operative femininity within the masculine world of politics, and dares to declare that a female serves as the most important character of them all.


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18 Jul 2022
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18 Jul 2022
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  • Alternative title
    • The Puppeteer: Sadie Burke in All the King’s Men

  • Journal title
    • Papers & Publications

  • Volume
    • 5

  • Issue
    • 1

  • Date submitted

    18 July 2022

  • Keywords
  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Thank you to Dr. Kevin Brown for instilling confidence and dedication into my fellow students and I, and Dr. Donna Summerlin for her guidance, encouragement, and excitement throughout this process. I am also thankful to my parents for giving me the opportunity for education, and the will to succeed.

      Author Biography:

      This critical analysis was presented to my ENGL431 American Novel class as my independent research project.

      Graduation Date:

      July 2016