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All the King’s Men

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Essay title: All the King’s Men

The amount of change people go through in their lives is remarkable. One day, a person can be a devious criminal, while the next day that same person could turn a new leaf and become a saint. The change that Jack goes through in All the King’s Men, by Robert Penn Warren, is comparable to that of the schizophrenic patient who receives a lobotomy. Although Jack undergoes no physical change, the events he witnesses change his personality, and transform him into an entirely new man. While Jack views the world in a schizophrenic fashion, in the end he changes his philosophical mind frame and finds the cure for his disease.

Jack does view the world in a schizophrenic manner. According to Webster's dictionary, the psychosis for schizophrenia is a retreating from reality. Jack retreats from reality a lot. When Jack found out that Anne was having an affair with Willie, he disconnected himself from reality. He went west, to Long Beach, where he commenced with his great sleep. The great sleep was a very important thing for jack because it allowed him to avoid reality. He would sleep and everything else would go on. While in Long Beach, Jack thought that he had discovered the greatest thought he ever had. That thought was the great twitch, a belief that there are no consequences for actions since they are only “twitches” of impulses. This thought was probably the biggest attempt to evade reality. Believing in the great twitch, Jack set himself apart from the rest of the world. By thinking that no one could be blamed for anything, he dodged blame from himself. By acting out the great sleep and the Great twitch, he was able to act like a schizophrenic until he had a change in philosophical views.

Jack's philosophical views changed, just as the view of the patient would have after the surgery. Jack was, in the beginning of the novel, a believer in The Great Twitch. He becomes, in the end of the novel, a believer in the Spider Web Theory, a belief that all things are connected and every action has some effect on everything else. At the scene of the lobotomy, Jack comments that someone should baptize the patient "in the name of the Big Twitch, the Little Twitch, and the Holy Ghost, Who, no doubt, is a Twitch, too." Towards the end of the story, Jack "woke up one morning to discover that he did not believe in the Great Twitch any more." He did not believe in it because he had seen "too many people live and die." Jack begins to care. When he believed in The Great Twitch, the only defense in Jack’s mind against anyone who questioned his actions was that the people "weren’t real," so it did not matter. He believed that every person's actions were a sort of reflex, hence he could not be blamed for anything. Now that he believes in the Spider web Theory, Jack realizes that things do matter, and that people are real. This is parallel to the patient who goes from staring "into space," to being "relaxed and cheerful and friendly." Jack goes from thinking that people are not real and that nothing makes any difference, to understanding that actions do indeed have consequences.

Jack did undergo a cure. He was lost in the beginning

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