Friday, December 11, 2009

The Jungle

My God, what an onslaught of depression, cynicism, and pain. I don't know what else to say. I think that Sinclair is a wonderful writer, but good lord, did this guy need an editor. Did he really need that many words and pages to make his point? We get it, Upton - life was tough for immigrants in the meatpacking industry! Damn you, Sinclair, and damn your monumental verbosity.

This is not to say The Jungle is without its merits. As a country, we obviously needed this book. Maybe it needs to be judged more as an agent for social change than as a work of literature. The Jungle led to a fair amount of reform in the meatpacking industry, and provided a sounding board for people whose voices were not previously heard. So, in that regard, we have to give the book some props.

The entire last section of the book was weird, awkward, and somewhat insulting to the reader. It was as if Sinclair was saying, "Look, if you didn't quite understand the point that I've been bashing you over the head with for the last 300 pages, then let me provide an essay-like summary through a one-dimensional character whose sole purpose is to explain my socialist agenda in expository fashion. That should drive things home nicely, don't you think?" Ummm, ok,'s your book, do what you want with it.

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