Monday, November 30, 2009

Sinclair's disappointing jungle

After reading Mike's post on Sinclair's motive for writing The Jungle, I couldn't agree more. Prior to reading the text, I had always heard positive reviews from others who had read it, and I placed it on my long list of books to read when I found the time. I was excited to finally get the chance to read it during this class, but this excitement turned to disappointment after I dove into the reading.
Of course there is the sad story of Jurgis and his family and all of the hardships they have to face after moving to the city of Chicago. There are the horrors of the slaughterhouses and the horrendous working conditions that thousands of men and women had to work in to make a living. The novel made me question what was in all of those burgers I've eaten over my 21 years and how working conditions have changed since then. Despite this, all of my insights into the novel seemed to go away after Sinclair abandoned the novel and continued to rant against capitalism.
Overall, I didn't enjoy The Jungle as much as I thought I would have. The story was decent, but the characters weren't very fleshed out. The slaughterhouse descriptions didn't turn my stomach and I definitely didn't give up eating meat. Had Sinclair not gone on his anti-capitalism rant, I may have enjoyed the novel or at least left it with an appreciation of Sinclair's reporting, but this just wasn't the case.

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