Thursday, May 19, 2011

Book Review for The Jungle (I Promise it's Not Boring)

1. Upton Sinclair wrote "The Jungle."
2. I have more than enough to eat everyday.
3. It's raining again!  Yay rain! :)

Well, I'm almost done with Jungle, and should probably wait to write this post until I'm done, but don't think I would write anything different if I did wait.   To say the least, I like it.  It reminds me a great deal of The Grapes of Wrath, in that it is about people going through especially hard times while living in a system that refuses to allow them to do anything else.  I'm coming to love Sinclair's monologuing.  It has a fun flair about it that was hard to get used to at first, but is really fun once you've been immersed in it.  I like his lists.  If you pick any of his monologues, he'll go through lists of people, or jobs, or meat products, or whatever, to paint a very clear and broad picture of what he's talking about.  It's just fun to read.

In rebuttal to my doctor, I would argue that the book is not so much about capitalism, but how corrupt men can do evil things with unrestrained capitalism.  Hey put out an unsanitary product, and made their workers work in conditions that were not just 'unpleasant' but downright harmful.  And paid them so little, while bringing in so many that they could make them earn a wage only big enough to barely keep them alive, and then when the dangerous job finally hurt them enough, they were easy to replace by the throngs of workers the business men had tricked into moving there.  That's not capitalism's fault, that's evil men's faults.

The language is beautiful, and the story is interesting.  My only real complaint is that there seems to be no ending in sight.  Every stroke of good fortune is taken away two pages later, and the one 'good fortune' he has for a couple of chapters is really just him screwing his friends over.  This may have been a tool used by Sinclair to help the reader feel some of the same feelings as the main character though, it just makes me tired and want for Jurgis to quit.

All in all a good read.  I would definitely recommend it, but also warn that it is sad... the whole way through.  So if you're looking for a pick-me-up, don't read it, if you're looking to have your mind blown and to think about the evils of society, go right ahead.

Have a nice day.


  1. He completely missed the point. Like you said, it's about exploitation of others and exposing wrongdoing. Sinclair ended up with a Pulitzer.

  2. I didn't know that. He deserved one.