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» » Jungle (Bantam Classics)

Jungle (Bantam Classics) by Morris Dickstein,Upton Sinclair

Jungle (Bantam Classics)
Title:
Jungle (Bantam Classics)
Author:
Morris Dickstein,Upton Sinclair
ISBN:
1417715405
ISBN13:
978-1417715404
Size fb2:
1718 kb
Size epub:
1470 kb
Publisher:
San Val (January 1981)
Language:
English
Other formats:
rtf docx lrf lrf
Rating:
4.8
Votes:
969
Category:
Literature & Fiction
Subcategory:
Genre Fiction
  • Zorve
The book narrates a rather depressing tale. Immigrants have a hard time to hoe just coming here. They also have swindlers and other challenges. I can understand that I can only imagine how such a life would feel.

The story takes you on a realistic narrative which visits the various pitfalls and snares for vulnerable populations. I would suppose with our current regime in charge, works of literature which speak for the plight of the immigrant might not be as popular.

This said, you can probably stop reading at the end when the exposition begins on socialism. Nothing of further note really happens to Jurgis. It seems that this last chapter would best serve as a warning to would be authors regarding where to stop.
  • Mozel
The unbelievable suffering of Jurgis and his family was about as depressing as anything I have ever read. The condition of the immigrants was inhuman times 1,000. And the packing houses and the lack of regulations to prevent such horrific practices was shocking. Where Sinclair lost me was when the book turned into a one sided socialist tract that ignored the positive things associated with capitalism and democracy. IMO, history has proven him wrong.
  • Kalrajas
Sinclair successfully connects his readers emotionally to the characters, and you can't help but feel personally tied to the endlessly miserable lives that the early 20th century European immigrants endured in Chicago. The entire novel is seen through the eyes of a young Lithuanian man, and the obstacles and tragedies that befall him rise to the point where as the reader, you find yourself thinking that it would have been better if he had never come to America at all. To add insult to injury, he finds work in Chicago's meat-packing industry just like thousands of other immigrants. The conditions are absolutely DISGUSTING (seriously, do not consume food while reading) for the animals, the people who work there, and the people who eat the food.

In fact, this novel sparked investigation into the industry that changed national health regulations. The scary part is that nearly everything Sinclair described was found to be TRUE. The only thing that wasn't proven was whether or not the bodies of workers who fell to their deaths ended up in the finished meat products. However, the inspectors also weren't able to definitively report to President Roosevelt that it didn't happen.

Much to Sinclair's dismay, the book attracted attention primarily to the conditions in the meat-packing industry. His intention, however, was to raise awareness to the immigrant's plight in America. After seeing the public reception of the book, Sinclair said, "I aimed at the public's heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach."

The protagonist's story continues far after his stint in meat-packing ends, but many people's attention span did not.

It's not a pleasant piece of literature, but it's hard to put down and is very eye-opening on many levels.
  • Vrion
Fifty years later and I re-read this book. I had to read this in high school, but I wasn't mature or studious enough to understand the significance, even though my grandparents were all immigrants. The world of slaughterhouses hasn't changed much in the past 100 years, poverty, and children working to support their family. Both of my parents had to quit school to support their families or starve. You knnw the old expression "what goes around, comes around?" Those days look like they are coming around again.
  • Ynonno
Upton Sinclair had hoped to accomplish much with this novel. He hoped that Americans might understand how badly treated the American worker was.
What they understood was that the meat packing industry was selling potentially deadly meat to American consumers. Sinclair's accounts of the filth, the rats and the deception regarding meat packing are powerful. The idea that any piece of meat can be made to look fresh and appealing no matter how rotten and decayed it might be is an unsettling one.
What Sinclair hoped to stir up was outrage that the workers were no better treated than the meat. The story centers around Jurgis, a Lithuanian who moves with his father, his fiancee and several members of his extended family to America.
The family is preyed upon by everyone. They are sold a "new" house only to learn that the house is far from new and shoddily made The agent who sells them the house does not explain interest, insurance or sewer costs and so the family lives from month to month worried that they cannot make payments
Working and living conditions keep members ill or injured most of the time. Jugis' wife ends up sleeping with her boss in order to retain her job and Jurgis ends up in jail when he confronts the man. He does not fare well with the bosses or the unions. Jurgis lives on the street man times

But Jurgis discovers socialism and ends up with some sense of hope.Sinclair does a good job of describing socialism and the novel provides a solid context for its appeal

The surprise of all this is that how much of it does not seem dated and it can still pack a punch Some years ago I got into a discussion with a man who told me his daughter had been assigned this book for a history class I proceeded to give a brief lecture on muckraking.
"So you think she should read the book, do you?"
"Yes." I said.
It turns out that this gentleman had sent a letter to his daughter's school forbidding her to read it. He didn't like the graphic detail and its portrayal of prostitution as a career alternative for impoverished women offended him
"My daughter shouldn't know about this stuff."
It's indeed unfortunate that the book is still so relevant decades after it was written.