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The Awful Responsibility of Time In Robert Penn Warrens famous novel All the Kings Men the foremost account of politics and a mans fall of power is contrasted with the more complex and intriguing tale of Jack Burden and his rise to a more complete character By finally accepting his role in the order of events surrounding him Jack becomes aware of his sin and learns to understand the importance of recognizing that his fate is intertwined with others The story of Cass Mastern the subject of Jacks unfinished dissertation for his PhD in American History is a story of a man driven by his own sin to sew the tattered fabric of others that has been torn by his immoral act The story of Cass Mastern serves as a measuring stick against which Jacks progress as a character can be measured the closer Jack Comes to understanding Cass Mastern the closer he is to accepting the idea of human responsibility in time The story of Cass Mastern is ultimately a tale of redemption after sin success after failure As a student at Transylvania College in the 1850s Cass Mastern had had an affair with Annabelle Trice the wife of his friend Duncan Trice When Duncan discovered the affair he took off his wedding ring and shot himself a suicide that was chalked up to accident But Phebe one of the Trices slaves had found the ring and taken it to Annabelle Trice Annabelle had been unable to bear the knowledge that Phebe knew about her sin and so she sold her Appalled to learn that Annabelle had sold Phebe instead of setting her free and appalled to learn that she had separated the slave from her husband Cass set out to find her and buy her and set her free Warren 178 but he failed wounded in a fight with a man who insinuated that he had sexual designs on Phebe After that he
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