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The Jungle Introduction, by Ronald GottesmanSuggestions for Further ReadingA Note on the Text The Jungle Every day in New York they slaughterfour million ducksfive million pigsand two thousand doves for the pleasure of the dying,a million cowsa million lambsand two million roosters,that leave the sky in splinters. Federico Garc a LorcaI expected to dislike this book, because it is a book aimed at provoking outrage Outrage is a species of anger, and, like all species of anger, it can feel oddly pleasurable True, anger always contains dissatisfaction of some kind but anger can also be an enormously enlivening feeling the feeling that we are infinitely right and our opponents infinitely wrong Outrage joins with this moral superiority a certain smugness, since we feel outrage on behalf of others, about things that do not affect us personally, and so we can feel satisfied that we would never do something so egregious Judging from how ephemeral public outrage tends to be, and how infrequently it leads to action, outrage can be, and often is, engaged in for its own sake as a periodic reminder to ourselves that we are not villains, since villains couldn t feel so angry at injustice inflicted on so distant a party.In a way, the history of this book justifies my suspicion Upton Sinclair spent seven weeks working in the meatpacking industry in Chicago, and wrote a muckraking novel about the experience An avowed and proud socialist, his aim was to raise public awareness of the terrible conditions of the working poor to write the Uncle Tom s Cabin of wage slavery, as Jack London called the book The book did cause a lot of outrage, but not for the intended reasons The public interpreted the book as an expos on the unsanitary conditions in the meat factories and the legislation that resulted was purely to remedy this problem As Sinclair himself said, I aimed at the public s heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach This is one of those ironies of history that make you want to laugh or cry a book aimed to publicize the plight of the working poor made an impact solely in the way that working conditions affected the middle class.About halfway through, I had decided that this was a brilliant piece of journalism and a mediocre novel But the second half made me revise my opinion it is a surprisingly decent novel, too This is impressive, since fiction is not Sinclair s strength His characters are, for the most part, one dimensional and static in this book they serve as mere loci of pity Further, they never really come alive, since Sinclair writes almost no dialogue In the first half, when the protagonists are at work in the yards, the plot is drearily predicable things go from bad to worse and, as Shakespeare reminds us, every time you tell yourself This is the worst, there is worse yet still to come But after Jurgis, our hero, finally leaves the meat factories, the novel really comes alive Things still go from bad to worse, for the most part, but there are some surprising reversals and exciting adventures.In any case, this book is primarily a work of journalism, and on that level it is absolutely successful Sinclair is an expert writer He deploys language with extreme precision his descriptions are vivid and exact And what he describes is unforgettable His portrayal of grinding poverty, and the desperation and despair it drives people to, is almost Dostoyevskyan in its gruesomeness And unlike that Russian author, Sinclair is very clear that the problem is systematic and social how decent and hardworking people can fall into an economic trap with no options and no escape He shows how and why the working poor are free only in theory, how and why the oppressed and exploited are virtually owned by their bosses And it must be said that his descriptions of factory processes are viscerally disgusting so disgusting that they do distract a little from Sinclair s message The meat factory is the book s central metaphor a giant slaughterhouse where hapless animals are herded and butchered As becomes painfully clear by the end of the book, the working poor are hardly in a better situation than the pigs.By the end, Sinclair succeeds in producing that rare sensation reasoned outrage For there are, of course, situations in which outrage is the only logical response monstrous injustice and inhuman cruelty and the working and living conditions in the meatpacking district was one of them Sinclair succeeds in this by relating facts instead of preaching Well, he does some preaching at the end, but it is forgivable He does not sentimentalize his characters or exaggerate their nobility they are ordinary and flawed people He does not use mawkish or cloying language his narrative voice is pitiless and cold, like the world he describes This book is a testament to the positive potential of outrage The world needsmuckrakers. For Nearly A Century, The Original Version Of Upton Sinclair S Classic Novel Has Remained Almost Entirely Unknown When It Was Published In Serial Form In , It Was A Full Third Longer Than The Censored, Commercial Edition Published In Book Form The Following Year That Expurgated Commercial Edition Edited Out Much Of The Ethnic Flavor Of The Original, As Well As Some Of The Goriest Descriptions Of The Meat Packing Industry And Much Of Sinclair S Most Pointed Social And Political Commentary The Text Of This New Edition Is As It Appeared In The Original Uncensored Edition OfIt Contains The FullChapters As Originally Published, Rather Than TheOf The Expurgated Edition A New Foreword Describes The Discovery In The S Of The Original Edition And Its Subsequent Suppression, And A New Introduction Places The Novel In Historical Context By Explaining The Pattern Of Censorship In The Shorter Commercial Edition The jungle, Upton SinclairThe Jungle is a 1906 novel written by the American journalist and novelist Upton Sinclair 1878 1968 Sinclair wrote the novel to portray the harsh conditions and exploited lives of immigrants in the United States in Chicago and similar industrialized cities His primary purpose in describing the meat industry and its working conditions was to advance socialism in the United States 1978 417 1357 417 20 331 1357 331 1380 329 9649047212 . It s been a while since I read it, but I believe this book features a precocious young boy named Mowgli Rudkus who was raised by wolves After singing a bunch of songs with bears and orangutans in the jungles of India, Mowgli immigrates to turn of the century Chicago where he lives in abject poverty until he falls into an industrial meat grinder and becomes a hamburger He is later served to Theodore Roosevelt for Thanksgiving dinner, 1906 This book also has the distinction of changing America s political and social attitudes towards both the meat packing industry and the villainous Shere Khan Legislation against Shere Khan continues to this day.Someone might want to fact check this review on Wikipedia or something. written 6 03 Wow Now I can see why this book had such a big impression on those who read it in the early twentieth century Really heart wrenching and gut wrenching stuff There s the famous quote that Sinclair said he aimed for the public s heart and hit it in the stomach instead I guess people didn t care much for the Socialism stuff, but when they learned what exactly their sausage was made of, they got mad.It was surprising how much Sinclair reminds me of Ayn Rand, especially considering their completely opposite views on capitalism They both use a fictional human situation to show the evils of society from an individual s point of view, and The Jungle and Atlas Shrugged both ended with a lengthy philosophical statement that was thinly veiled as a speech by the characters I guess the difference is, Rand didn t know when to quit, and tried to actually make her utopia become a reality in the book Sinclair left it as a call to arms I liked Rand s ideas in print, but, as seen in The Jungle and in Fast Food Nation, corporations can t be trusted to make good decisions Not every business owner is a Howard Roark or a John Galt And efficiency can sometimes come at a high human price Profits don t equal success, and the market, self sufficient as it may seem, needs regulation.The situation has come a long way in the past century, with minimum wages, enforced child labor laws, anti trust laws, worker s compensation, andBut Eric Schlosser showed us that the meatpacking industry is still cheating its workers, still the most dangerous place to work, and still trying to avoid regulations at all costs, with injuries going unreported and meat going uninspected I m glad to finally have read this book now when I talk about it I really know what I am talking about. Hey, do you want to see some poor schlub get totally wrecked by the man , be grossed out by the meat industry, and learn about socialism Then, this is the book for you I had to read it for school and hated every minute of it I was literally nauseous at times, and depressed the rest.Yes, it s a classic, but unless you are required to read it, like I was, don t go here There is nothing but horror and sadness.One pic to explain the book They use everything about the hog except the squealUpton Sinclair, The JungleOne of the great social protest novels of the 20th Century The Jungle is at once an indictment on the treatment of immigrants, poverty, American wage slavery, and the working conditions at Chicago s stockyards and meatpacking plants and simultaneously an expos on the unsanitary conditions of the meat produced in the plants and led to Federal real food reform Did I like it Well, it pissed me off, so I thought it was a great piece of writing It reminded me of the time when I was 19 and lived next to the Swift stockyards and meat packing plants The smells that seemedterrestrial than dirt seemed to flood back into my brain The Jungle shows how persuasive fiction can actually lead to real world reform The FDA was created largely due to the public outcry after the publication of this book Jack London said in his review at the time, that the Jungle was the Uncle Tom s Cabin of wage slavery The interesting fact, however, is Sinclair wasconcerned about the people, the exploitation of immigrants and children, but the power of this novel ended up being tied to the condition of the food, and not the people Sinclair was quoted as saying I aimed at the public s heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach Regardless, Upton Sinclair throws a helluva punch. Whenever I ve asked someone if they have read The Jungle, and if they have not read it, they always respond, isn t that about the meat packing industry I think that response is exactly what the author was trying to point out is wrong with his society at the time It is true that the main character of the book at one point goes to work in a meat packing plant, and its disgusting, and when the book was published apparently the FDA was created as a result, or something The problem is, though, that this book is not about the meat packing industry the book is about the plight of a poor immigrant family in Chicago, and about the plight of poor people in the country in general at that time Sinclair is trying to bring light to the disgusting ways in which people in his time were forced to live, the way they were manipulated, ripped off, neglected and sometime even killed by the very community that profited from their cheap labor Its an incredible book, and if you read it keep in mind that the atrocities that really occur in this book surround the way that these people were held down no matter what they did I think that Upton Sinclair would be saddened to know, and maybe he did know, that the only thing that changed as a result of this beautifully written pro socialist novel is that the middle class now has healthy meat products. Reading The Jungle will have you wringing your fists Upton Sinclair style Right up until I read it, The Jungle was one of those books I d always heard of, but not heard about I knew it was important, apparently, because everyone said so, but no one said why I guess I should have asked From what I gathered, it had something to do with the meat industry and its nefarious doings in the early 20th century, which led me to expect a dry, straight forward, tell all non fiction revealing corruption, worker neglect, health violations, unsafe food preparation, and other important but not very exciting topics That s probably why it took me about 20 years longer to get around to it than it should have Finally I read it I was right It did include all those topics, but it was fiction, and it was epic The Jungle is a story of immigrants coming to America to improve their lot in life and running headlong into the Chicago meat industry, which had very little interest in improving anyone s lot in life but the company owners and share holders The lower you were down on the corporate food chain, the less the industry cared about you, and that includes the consumer, that unwitting public being fed a product almost completely devoid of nutrition.Granted, Sinclair had an agenda reveal industry corruption and he sugarcoated it in a captivating story to entice the unwashed masses to give it a read Not only do I not have a problem with that, I m not embarrassed to say it s one of my favorite methods of swallowing these dry pills I popped this one in my mouth and it went down smoother than expected Then it made me sick to my stomach, but in the end I m better off for having taken it.

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