ENGL 338

        AKM movie poster    


The objective of this study course is to analyze All the King’s Men in critical and social contexts. The characterization of fictional, Willie Stark, and political leader, Huey Long, will also be examined. Student comprehension will be tested by in-depth theory paper and presentation, as well as, participation in class discussions. Personal conference with instructor during week’s number ten through twelve will allow for focus on paper topic, independent study will be expected during week fourteen.


This class is designed as a pilot undergraduate class allowing students to further their knowledge in political literary scope, with the emphasis on Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men. Class will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays 10 A.M.- 11:30 A.M., nineteen consecutive weeks. Class time will involve lecture, student interaction, and student presentation. Highlights of the course include view of the film and a guest lecturer on literature and politics. 



Theory:                         New Criticism tenents of theory will be given during lectures.

            Critical essays:              Three critical essays due; #1 on political significance, #2 on characterization, and #3 on topic of student’s choice.

            Paper:                          Summary of paper – student questions and proposal material can be the thesis for 20 page paper

            Presentation:                 Student will choose general concept in order to develop and present the final paper.

            Journal quiery:              In-class writing project in computer lab, format consists of four thematic questions.

            Format of writing:         MLA style format will be used by students for all assignments,

See CLASS SCHEDULE for specific requirements and due dates.


Weeks 1- 3:                                         New Criticism theory and development lecture and discussion. Political and social circumstance will be considered relative to Warren’s early work. Read All the King’s Men and write a 2 page critical essay regarding Huey Long’s political career and the significant events related in the novel.


Weeks 4 - 6:                                       Critical essay #1 due on Long’s true life career related to the novel’s important events. The study of Penn Warren’s experiences and life story; family history and the era of his time period will be lectured. Mid-life through winning of Pulitzer Prize works examined. Write 2 page critical essay on the characterization of the narrator, Jack Burden compared to the main character of Willie Stark; focus on the changes of the narrator compared with Stark.


Weeks 7 - 9:                                        Critical essay #2 due on comparative characterization. Lecture of works and poetry after the prize-winning novel was written. Write critical essay on topic of student’s choice. Research for topic expected.


Weeks 10 - 12:                                   Critical essay #3 due on topic of student choice. Meeting and discussion with professor about student paper subject and thesis will be reviewed on Tuesdays or by appointment. Student expected to choose paper topic, which can be subject of any of critical essay or other approved topic by instructor. Please be prepared to define a definite thesis or focus of paper with a short summary of your thoughts. Warren’s work as a politician and writer and in-depth study of “All the King’s Men” will be lectured. Thursday classes will be reserved for student research in library.


Weeks 13 - 14:                                   Week thirteen movie viewing All the King’s Men on Tuesday. Guest lecturer Dr. Levinson, Chair of College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, GSU on Thursday. Week fourteen reserved for independent student research for paper. (No formal class meeting on week fourteen.),

Weeks 15 - 16:                                   Presentation of paper in professional manner; twenty minute minimum; and if technology needed, power point is available.


Weeks 17 - 18:                                    In-class journal exercise, consisting of four queries regarding thematic structure of the novel All the King’s Men. Student can bring in two or three resources, such as, book or critical articles related to the novel to support your critical writing. Class will meet in computer lab and concentrate on one-page answer to each journal question, MLA style.


Week 19:                                             Review of common thread of knowledge in Penn Warren’s lifetime works. Consideration of what is considered his most important quotations from all genres will be identified and disscused with respect to Robert Penn Warren’s lifetime works of literature and poetry.


One research paper on subject of choice related to the novel, All the King’s Men, for example, New Criticism and/or political history. Length of paper is minimum of twenty pages. At least seven reference materials required. Presentation will be graded on student knowledge of topic, development of discussion, and time factor. Any significant material relevant to subject, such as, newspaper articles, video clips, or other interesting information can be shared with the class. Three critical essays 2 pages each; in-class journal excercise (meet in computer lab).


Student development is encouraged by research on the works of Robert Penn Warren and the history of the era. Being prepared with readings and participating in classroom discussion enhances the learning experience. What a student brings to the classroom is an opportunity to gain knowledge of literary and historical relevance, as well as, any personal life or career experiences that qualify. This outline of study and directives will enable the student to learn valuable literary criticism particular to All the King’s Men and Warren’s contribution to the New Criticism Theory. Participation required in order for student to fully absorb literary material and subject matter.



Illinois State Board of Education - Learning Standard

English Language

The Illinois Learning Standards for English Language Arts goals and standards were developed using the 1985 State Goals for Language Arts, various state and national standards drafts, and local education standards contributed by team members. Through the achievement of these goals and standards, students will gain proficiency in the language skills that are basic to all learning, critical to success in the workplace and essential to life as productive citizens.

English language arts including reading, writing, speaking, listening and the study of literature. In addition, students must be able to study, retain and use information from many sources. Through the study of the English language arts, students should be able to read fluently, understanding a broad range of written materials. They must be able to communicate well and listen carefully and effectively. They should develop a command of the language and demonstrate their knowledge through speaking and writing for a variety of audiences and purposes. As students progress, a structured study of literature will allow them to recognize universal themes and to compare styles and ideas across authors and eras.

Solving Problems

Recognize and investigate problems; formulate and propose solutions supported by reason and evidence.

Solving problems demands that students be able to read and listen, comprehend ideas, ask and answer questions, clearly convey their own ideas through written and oral means, and explain their reasoning. Comprehending reading materials and editing and revising writing are in themselves forms of complex problem solving. The ability to locate, acquire and organize information from various sources, print and electronic, is essential to solving problems involving research. In all fields—English language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, and others, the command of language is essential in stating and reasoning through problems and conveying results.

Making Connections

Recognize and apply connections of important information and ideas within and among learning areas.

The parts of English language arts are closely interconnected. Reading and writing provide the means to receive and send written messages. Likewise, listening and speaking enable people to receive and send oral information. Speaking and writing are the creative components, while listening and reading are the receptive components of language through which people access knowledge and demonstrate its applications. Proficiency in these skills clearly supports learning in all academic areas.