The Jungle

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Independently Published, 31 janv. 2018 - 141 pages
The Jungle is a 1906 novel written by the American journalist and novelist Upton Sinclair (1878-1968). Sinclair wrote the novel to portray the harsh conditions and exploited lives of immigrants in the United States in Chicago and similar industrialized cities. His primary purpose in describing the meat industry and its working conditions was to advance socialism in the United States. However, most readers were more concerned with his exposure of health violations and unsanitary practices in the American meatpacking industry during the early 20th century, greatly contributing to a public outcry which led to reforms including the Meat Inspection Act. Sinclair famously said of the public reaction, "I aimed at the public's heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach."The book depicts working-class poverty, the lack of social supports, harsh and unpleasant living and working conditions, and a hopelessness among many workers. These elements are contrasted with the deeply rooted corruption of people in power. A review by the writer Jack Londoncalled it "the Uncle Tom's Cabin of wage slavery." Sinclair was considered a muckraker, or journalist who exposed corruption in government and business. In 1904, Sinclair had spent seven weeks gathering information while working incognito in the meatpacking plants of the Chicago stockyards for the newspaper. He first published the novel in serial form in 1905 in the Socialist newspaper Appeal to Reason and it was published as a book by Doubleday in 1906.The main character in the book is Jurgis Rudkus, a Lithuanian immigrant trying to make ends meet in Chicago. The book begins with his wife Ona and his wedding feast. His family and he live near the stockyards and meatpacking district, where many immigrants who do not know much English work. He takes a job at Brown's slaughterhouse. Rudkus had thought the US would offer more freedom, but he finds working conditions harsh. He and his young wife struggle to survive. They fall deeply into debt and are prey to con men. AuthorUpton Sinclair Jr. (September 20, 1878 - November 25, 1968) was an American writer who wrote nearly 100 books and other works in several genres. Sinclair's work was well known and popular in the first half of the 20th century, and he won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1943.In 1906, Sinclair acquired particular fame for his classic muck-raking novel The Jungle, which exposed labor and sanitary conditions in the U.S. meatpacking industry, causing a public uproar that contributed in part to the passage a few months later of the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act. In 1919, he published The Brass Check, a muck-raking exposé of American journalism that publicized the issue of yellow journalism and the limitations of the "free press" in the United States. Four years after publication of The Brass Check, the first code of ethics for journalists was created. Time magazine called him "a man with every gift except humor and silence". He is also well remembered for the line: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." He used this line in speeches and the book about his campaign for governor as a way to explain why the editors and publishers of the major newspapers in California would not treat seriously his proposals for old age pensions and other progressive reforms. Many of his novels can be read as historical works. Writing during the Progressive Era, Sinclair describes the world of industrialized America from both the working man's and the industrialist's points of view. Novels such as King Coal (1917), The Coal War (published posthumously), Oil! (1927), and The Flivver King (1937) describe the working conditions of the coal, oil, and auto industries at the time.He attacked J. P. Morgan, whom many regarded as a hero for ending the Panic of 1907, saying that he had engineered the crisis to acquire a bank.

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Upton Sinclair, a lifelong vigorous socialist, first became well known with a powerful muckraking novel, The Jungle, in 1906. Refused by five publishers and finally published by Sinclair himself, it became an immediate bestseller, and inspired a government investigation of the Chicago stockyards, which led to much reform. In 1967 he was invited by President Lyndon Johnson to "witness the signing of the Wholesome Meat Act, which will gradually plug loopholes left by the first Federal meat inspection law" (N.Y. Times), a law Sinclair had helped to bring about. Newspapers, colleges, schools, churches, and industries have all been the subject of a Sinclair attack, analyzing and exposing their evils. Sinclair was not really a novelist, but a fearless and indefatigable journalist-crusader. All his early books are propaganda for his social reforms. When regular publishers boycotted his work, he published himself, usually at a financial loss. His 80 or so books have been translated into 47 languages, and his sales abroad, especially in the former Soviet Union, have been enormous.

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