All the King's Men

Willie Starks, the Boss, is a great leader in the 1930’s. As he prepares to give a brief but powerful speech in a little town, Jack the narrator describes the intensity of the moments before Willie speaks. There is some repetition used for emphasis describing Willie’s “hair down on his forehead.” Then a little bit later, there is some more repetition about the moment before Willie opened his mouth. “There was a bulge and glitter.” Jack begins to learn the signs before one of Willie’s   speeches. He describes the effect a listener (to Willie’s speech) would get as an anxious feeling or “being watched.” The emotion felt was like opening an envelope; the anticipation is there, yet the guts kicks in just as the information is about to be pulled out. Then there is a hesitation to even discover the information. The little “foetus” (being compared to the audience member), would just rather “be warm in its not-knowing.”
There is that huge effect Willie Starks has on people with his speeches. He stands in front of the people of Mason City, people whom he has known all his life and who elected him to office in the first place, people who anticipate and crave his knowledge. He enters the drugstore quietly, without a fuss. He waits until he is recognized instead of loudly demanding service. He chats with the people, calling them by name. And when he is called upon to make a speech, he does so very subtly.