All The King's Men

“The Scholarly Attorney” Character Analysis

This man, whom Jack believed to be his biological father, is revealed only to be his “stepfather” when Jack discovers Irwin’s true relationship to his mother—the “Scholarly Attorney” (after learning of his wife's infidelities) has become a religious mystic in Baton Rouge, taking in the poor and lonely and providing shelter for them in his small apartment. Jack later takes in the Scholarly Attorney to live with him and Anne in Burden’s Landing.

“The Scholarly Attorney” Quotes in All The King's Men

The All The King's Men quotes below are all either spoken by “The Scholarly Attorney” or refer to “The Scholarly Attorney”. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Idealism vs. Pragmatism Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Harvest Books edition of All The King's Men published in 2006.
Chapter 5 Quotes

For the physical world, though it exists and its existence cannot be denied without blasphemy, is never the cause, it is only result, only symptom, it is the clay under the thumb of the potter . . . .

Related Characters: “The Scholarly Attorney” (speaker)
Page Number: 298
Explanation and Analysis:

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“The Scholarly Attorney” Character Timeline in All The King's Men

The timeline below shows where the character “The Scholarly Attorney” appears in All The King's Men. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Politics, Influence, and Power Theme Icon
Personal History, Memory, and Time Theme Icon
Loyalty, Friendship, and Betrayal Theme Icon
...forms the novel), it is 1939, and that his visit to Mason City and Willie’s father’s house occurred in 1936. Burden then goes on to describe the first time he visited... (full context)
Politics, Influence, and Power Theme Icon
Personal History, Memory, and Time Theme Icon
Loyalty, Friendship, and Betrayal Theme Icon
...Willie again for those three years between 1922 and 1925, when Willie works on his father’s farm, sells products door-to-door, and studies for his exam. Then Burden reports that, in 1925,... (full context)
Idealism vs. Pragmatism Theme Icon
Politics, Influence, and Power Theme Icon
Personal History, Memory, and Time Theme Icon
Loyalty, Friendship, and Betrayal Theme Icon
...didn’t pan out. He and Anne have a pleasant dinner, until Anne talks about Jack’s father, whom Jack hasn’t seen for some time, and who Anne describes as a crazy man,... (full context)
Chapter 3
Idealism vs. Pragmatism Theme Icon
Personal History, Memory, and Time Theme Icon
The South and Southern Culture Theme Icon
Loyalty, Friendship, and Betrayal Theme Icon
...to his mother to be fraught occasions—his mother has been married several times since Burden’s father left the family and began living alone, as a kind of religious mystic in Baton... (full context)
Personal History, Memory, and Time Theme Icon
The South and Southern Culture Theme Icon
Loyalty, Friendship, and Betrayal Theme Icon
...part—Jack begins to go through, mentally, the list of his mother’s husbands. First was the Scholarly Attorney, Jack’s father, who, as before, has gone insane and who lives alone in a... (full context)
Personal History, Memory, and Time Theme Icon
The South and Southern Culture Theme Icon
Loyalty, Friendship, and Betrayal Theme Icon
...drive back to Baton Rouge, Jack daydreams about the town in which his mother and father met, in rural Arkansas, where his father had visited to serve as a lawyer for... (full context)
Idealism vs. Pragmatism Theme Icon
Politics, Influence, and Power Theme Icon
Personal History, Memory, and Time Theme Icon
The South and Southern Culture Theme Icon
Loyalty, Friendship, and Betrayal Theme Icon
...at the crowd that next day, he thinks of conversations he has had with his father, complicated political and religious conversations about the nature of God and man, and Burden wonders... (full context)
Chapter 4
Idealism vs. Pragmatism Theme Icon
Personal History, Memory, and Time Theme Icon
The South and Southern Culture Theme Icon
Loyalty, Friendship, and Betrayal Theme Icon
...of his dissertation. Cass Mastern was one of two maternal uncles of Ellis Burden, the Scholarly Attorney, Jack’s father. The other uncle—Cass’s brother Gilbert—died in 1914, at the age of 94,... (full context)
Chapter 5
Idealism vs. Pragmatism Theme Icon
Politics, Influence, and Power Theme Icon
Personal History, Memory, and Time Theme Icon
Loyalty, Friendship, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Burden decides to go to his father, the Scholarly Attorney, in Baton Rouge in order to determine if his father can give... (full context)
Idealism vs. Pragmatism Theme Icon
Politics, Influence, and Power Theme Icon
Personal History, Memory, and Time Theme Icon
Loyalty, Friendship, and Betrayal Theme Icon
On the walk up to the squalid apartment where his father lives, Burden hears his father reference a man named George—Burden asks who George is, and... (full context)
Idealism vs. Pragmatism Theme Icon
Personal History, Memory, and Time Theme Icon
Loyalty, Friendship, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Burden’s father says that George was once a trapeze artist whose wife died during their act, and... (full context)
Idealism vs. Pragmatism Theme Icon
Politics, Influence, and Power Theme Icon
Personal History, Memory, and Time Theme Icon
Loyalty, Friendship, and Betrayal Theme Icon
But on his way down the stairs, Burden realizes that his father became upset because he does, in all likelihood, know some piece of information about Irwin’s... (full context)
Chapter 8
Idealism vs. Pragmatism Theme Icon
Politics, Influence, and Power Theme Icon
Personal History, Memory, and Time Theme Icon
The South and Southern Culture Theme Icon
Loyalty, Friendship, and Betrayal Theme Icon
...his life’s history—that Irwin wanted to be his mentor from a young age, that Jack’s father went insane and abandoned the family, choosing instead to live in squalor in Baton Rouge.... (full context)
Chapter 10
Idealism vs. Pragmatism Theme Icon
Personal History, Memory, and Time Theme Icon
The South and Southern Culture Theme Icon
Loyalty, Friendship, and Betrayal Theme Icon
...and be proud of. Anne also asks Jack to take in the old man, the Scholarly Attorney, Jack always considered his father, and the three of them live together in the... (full context)
Idealism vs. Pragmatism Theme Icon
Personal History, Memory, and Time Theme Icon
The South and Southern Culture Theme Icon
Loyalty, Friendship, and Betrayal Theme Icon
...that, only by making financial and spiritual amends in the Landing—and by taking in the Scholarly Attorney and caring for him—can be begin a new life of which he is proud.... (full context)