Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Jungle

The Jungle
by Upton Sinclair

"The Jungle" opens with the wedding of Ona and Jurgis, a young couple from Lithuania in search of a better life. They have brought Ona's family with them. On the way to America, they lost most of their money when an agent swindled them. On arrival they find a filthy, cheap boarding house to stay in.

Once the adults get jobs, they buy a house. But interest and repairs cause the oldest child to have to go to work. And it's all down hill from there. Jobs are lost, injuries occur, deaths, Ona's brother deserts the family. And things just keep getting worse.

"The Jungle" tells of the corruption that was in the food industry at the turn of the century. The stories of what was done to the meat were horrifying. Among other things Sinclair claimed diseased animals were put into distribution and people who fell into meat grinders were sold as beef. Public reaction to the book helped passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906.

I enjoyed most of the novel. I've had it in the house about 3 years but I didn't realize it had such a tragic story in it. The story of the lives of the family is compelling, if not a little exaggerated. But still. My only problem was the three chapters Sinclair devoted to the joys of Socialism. Snooze time there.

1 comment:

Petunia said...

My husband encourages me to read this one every so often. I know I should and I want to but then again I don't think I'll actually enjoy it. Maybe sometime next year.