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Book Review: The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

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"Book Review: The Jungle by Upton Sinclair"

The book The Jungle was introduced as a novel by Upton Sinclair was financed and published with his own money. Upton Sinclair was a famous novelist and social crusader from California. He was born on 20 September 1878 in Baltimore Md. He was the only child of Priscilla Harden and Upton Beall Sinclair. Upton Sinclair's childhood was lived in poverty, one where his father was an alcoholic, his job as an alcohol salesman most likely contributed to his disease. And although his own family was extremely poor, he spent periods of time living with his wealthy grandparents. By living from one end of the extreme to the other he argued that this is what turned him into a socialist.

His family moved to New York and at fourteen he enrolled in the City College of New York. He wrote dime novels and stories for magazines and newspapers to pay for his college tuition. It was in New York where he became a fan of the Socialists Party's politics. Later in life Upton Sinclair would run for the Governor of California where he would get 37% of the vote, and if it were not for his honesty at expressing his views Upton Sinclair would have won his bid for Governor. During the later course of his life he went on to write more muckraking novels. The Jungle was his groundbreaking novel, it was told as a fictional story of Jurgis Rudkus, a Lithuanian immigrant working in Packingtown.

Jurgis sees his American dream of a decent life dissolve into nightmare as his job hauling steer carcasses in the stockyards leaves him so physically drained that he was unable to support his family. This was not the life this immigrant expected when arrived in America. He loses his job when he beats up his boss, angry about finding out he had raped his wife, and then in a sense held her hostage as his mistress knowing that Jurgis wife is doing this to for the sake of her family. This character then loses the wife to disease and his son to drowning.

Through this story telling Upton Sinclair had hoped the book would ignite a powerful socialist movement on behalf of America's workers. The public's attention was directed instead to his fewer than a dozen pages of supposed descriptions of unsanitary conditions in the meat packing plants. The Jungle hit upon more than his hatred of the meat packing industry. He unknowing exposed the poor working conditions, and health issues that inspectors ignored. This book also made the American public very aware of the abuse workers endured during that time.

The Jungle established Upton Sinclair as a leading socialist of that the time, he became the voice of the "wage-slave" and the working class in America. His book was seen as revolutionary. Upton Sinclair used the did not expound upon the characters of his book but instead created them to be shallow in this way he was able to use them to promote a socialists view to the alternative



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