My Summer Reading Experience

Essay by mbuono94High School, 10th gradeA+, September 2011

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Michael Buono

My Summer Reading Experience

This summer, I read Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men, Thornton Wilder’s The Bridge of San Luis Rey, and John Knowles’ A Separate Peace. All of these novels have a definite theme which permeates the entire book, and each author uses descriptive language and solid character development to satisfy the reader. I enjoyed examining each author’s distinct style of writing, and each book succeeds in keeping the reader captivated. I would recommend all of these books to anyone who is looking for a thought-provoking, challenging, and well-written novel.

Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men details Willie Stark’s political career and illustrates the interior struggle of Jack Burden (who is Stark’s secretary). Burden narrates the novel, and he analyzes the personality of Willie Stark (often referred to as “the Boss”) while searching for a viewpoint that explains his experiences. Stark (whose life resembles that of Huey Long, a Senator from Louisiana in the 1930s) begins his political career as a high-minded lawyer, but in his first campaign for governor, Burden writes that

Nobody would listen to the speeches, including me. They were awful. They were full of facts and figures he had dug up about running the state. He would say, ‘Now friends, if you will bear patiently with me for a few minutes, I will give you the figures,’ and he would clear his throat and fumble with a sheet of paper and backbones would sag lower in the seats and folks would start cleaning their fingernails with their pocket knives. If Willie had ever thought of talking to folks up on the platform just the way he could talk to you face to face when he got heated about something, leaning at you as if he meant every damned word he said and his eyes bugging out and shining, he might have swayed the constituency. But no, he was trying to live up...