Upton Sinclair (September 20, 1878 - November 25, 1968) wrote in many genres, often advocating Socialist views, and achieved considerable popularity in the early twentieth century.
He gained particular fame for his novel, The Jungle (1906), which dealt with conditions in U.S. meat packing industry and caused a public uproar which ultimately led to the passage of the Meat Inspection Act in 1906.
His parents came from the Southern gentry, and his father's family had a distinguished naval tradition stretching back to the American Revolution. His great-grandfather was Commodore Arthur Sinclair (died 1831), who had served in the War of 1812. His grandfather, Captain Arthur Sinclair, served first in the U.S. Navy then resigned to join the Confederate service.
The family fortunes had suffered after the Civil War, and so Upton Sinclair had an unusual upbringing that mixed wealth and poverty. His father was an alcoholic and his immediate family was poor, but he often stayed with his wealthy maternal relatives in New York, allowing him to experience two extremes of American society.
To pay his way through City College of New York he wrote jokes and fiction for magazines and newspapers, as well as dime novels for the firm of Street & Smith. He also attended the Columbia graduate school.
After writing The Jungle, Sinclair invested nearly $30,000 of the proceeds into the Helicon Home Colony, a utopian society being set up in New Jersey. Unfortunately, it burned down four months later.
He ran for Governor of California twice. The first time he ran as a Socialist candidate and garnered few votes. The second time, in 1934, as a Democrat. This time around, during the depths of the Great Depression, he began a political movement that he hoped to both combat the effects of the Depression and use as a springboard to the governorship. That plan, known as the EPIC (End Poverty in California), galvanized the support of the Democratic Party, and Sinclair gained its nomination. Conservatives in California were themselves galvanized by this, as they saw it as an attempted Communist takeover of their state and used massive political propaganda portraying Sinclair as a Communist. Sinclair was defeated in the election and largely abandoned EPIC and politics to return to writing
Upton Sinclair books
- Dragon's Teeth I
- The Return Of Lanny Budd I
- 100, the Story Of a Patriot
- A Captain Of Industry
- A Captain Of Industry Being the Story Of a Civilized Man
- A Giant's Strength
- A Personal Jesus
- A Prisoner Of Morro
- A West Point Treasure
- A World To Win
- A World To Win 1940-1942
- A World To Win I
- A World To Win II
- Affectionately, Eve
- American Outpost
- An Upton Sinclair Anthology
- Another Pamela
- Another Pamela Or, Virtue Still Rewarded
- Another Pamela Or, Virtue Still Rewarded Novel
- Between Two Worlds
- Between Two Worlds I
- Between Two Worlds II
- Boston, a Novel
- Classics Illustrated 9
- Damaged Goods
- Depression Island
- Der Dschungel
- Der Dschungel Roman
- Der Industriebaron
- Der Liebe Pilgerfahrt
- Der Parademarsch
- Der Rekrut
- Dragon Harvest
- Dragon Harvest I
- Dragon Harvest II
- Dragon's Teeth
- Dragon's Teeth II
- Enemy Had It Too
- Fasting and The Use Of Meat
- Goose-Step - Study Of American Education
- Hundert Prozent
- I, Candidate For Governor
- I, Candidate For Governor and How I Got Licked
- Il Faticone
- It Happened To Didymus
- Jimmie Higgins
- King Coal
- King Midas
- KNig Kohle
- Letters To Judd
- Letters To Judd, an American Workingman
- Little Steel
- Love's Pilgrimage
- Man Nennt Mich Zimmermann
- Manassas a Novel Of the War
- Marie Antoinette
- Mental Radio
- Mental Radio 1930
- Money Writes
- Mountain City
- My Lifetime In Letters
- No Pasaran
- O Shepard Speak
- O Shepherd, Speak
- O Shepherd, Speak I
- O Shepherd, Speak II
- Oil a Novel
- One Clear Call
- One Clear Call II
- One Hundred Percent
- Our Lady
- Plays Of Protest
- Presidential Agent
- Presidential Agent I
- Presidential Agent II
- Presidential Mission
- Presidential Mission I
- Presidential Mission II
- Prince Hagen
- Roman Holiday
- Sadan Prosentin Patriootti
- Samuel Der Suchende
- Samuel the Seeker
- Short Works Of Upton Sinclair
- Singing Jailbirds
- Springtime and Harvest
- Sylvia's Marriage
- Sylvia's Marriage, a Novel
- The Associated Press and Labor
- The Autobiography Of Upton Sinclair
- The Book Of Life
- The Book Of Life Mind and Body
- The Brass Check
- The Brass Check a Study Of American Journalism
- The Coal War - a Sequel To King Coal
- The Crimes Of the Times
- The Cry For Justice
- The Cry For Justice an Anthology Of the Literature Of Social Protest
- The Cup Of Fury
- The Fasting Cure
- The Flivver King
- The Flivver King a Story Of Ford-America
- The Gnomobile
- The Goose-Step a Study Of American Education
- The Goslings
- The Goslings a Study Of the American Schools
- The Industrial Republic
- The Industrial Republic, a Study Of the America Of Ten Years Hence
- The Journal Of Arthur Stirling
- The Jungle
- The Jungle With Illustrations By Fletcher Martin and A New Preface
- The Jungle, Literary Touchstone Edition
- The Land Of Orange Groves and Jails
- The Machine
- The Millenium
- The Millennium
- The Moneychangers
- The Naturewoman
- The Overman
- The Pot Boiler
- The Profits Of Religion
- The Profits Of Religion an Essay In Economic Interpretation
- The Profits Of Religion Fifth Edition
- The Return Of Lanny Budd
- The Second-Story Man
- The Secret Life Of Jesus
- The Spokesman's Secretary
- The Spy
- The Upton Sinclair Archives
- The Way Out
- The West Point Rivals, Or, Mark Mallory's Stratagem
- The Wet Parade
- Theirs Be the Guilt
- They Call Me Carpenter
- They Call Me Carpenter a Tale Of the Second Coming
- Upton Sinclair
- Upton Sinclair Presents William Fox
- What Didymus Did
- What God Means To Me
- Wide Is the Gate
- Wide Is the Gate 1
- Wide Is the Gate II
- William Fox
- World's End
- World's End I
- World's End II
- L - Roman, Bersetzt Von Otto Wilck
For other uses, see Jungle (disambiguation).
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 London called 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. He and his family 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. Hoping to buy a house, they exhaust their savings on the down payment for a substandard slum house, which they cannot afford. The family is eventually evicted after their money is taken.
Rudkus had expected to support his wife and other relatives, but eventually all—the women, children, and his sick father—seek work to survive. As the novel progresses, the jobs and means the family use to stay alive slowly lead to their physical and moral decay. Accidents at work and other events lead the family closer to catastrophe. Rudkus' father dies as a direct result of the unsafe work conditions in the meatpacking plant. One of the children, Kristoforas, dies from food poisoning. Jonas—the other remaining adult male aside from Rudkus—disappears and is never heard from again. Then an injury results in Rudkus being fired from the meatpacking plant; he later takes a job at Durham's fertilizer plant. The family's hardships accumulate as Ona confesses that her boss, Connor, had raped her, and made her job dependent on her giving him sexual favors. In revenge, Rudkus attacks Connor, resulting in his arrest and imprisonment.
After being released from jail, Rudkus finds that his family has been evicted from their house. He finds them staying in a boarding house, where Ona is in labor with her second child. She dies in childbirth at age 18 from blood loss; the infant also dies. Rudkus had lacked the money for a doctor. Soon after, his first child drowns in a muddy street. Rudkus leaves the city and takes up drinking. His brief sojourn as a hobo in the rural United States shows him that no real escape is available—farmers turn their workers away when the harvest is finished.
Rudkus returns to Chicago and holds down a succession of laboring jobs and as a con man. He drifts without direction. One night, he wanders into a lecture being given by a socialist orator, where he finds community and purpose. After a fellow socialist employs him, Rudkus locates his wife's family. He finds out that Marija, Ona's cousin, had become a prostitute to support the family and is now addicted to morphine; Stanislovas, the oldest of the children at the beginning of the novel, had died after getting locked in at work and being eaten alive by rats. Rudkus then resumes his support of his wife's family. The book ends with another socialist rally, which follows some political victories.
- Jurgis Rudkus, a Lithuanian who immigrates to the US and struggles to support his family.
- Ona Lukoszaite Rudkus, Jurgis' teenage wife.
- Marija Berczynskas, Ona’s cousin. She dreams of marrying a musician. After Ona's death and Rudkus' abandonment of the family, she becomes a prostitute to help feed the few surviving children.
- Teta Elzbieta Lukoszaite, Ona’s stepmother. She takes care of the children and eventually becomes a beggar.
- Grandmother Swan, another Lithuanian immigrant.
- Dede Antanas, Jurgis' father. He contributes work despite his age and poor health; dies from a lung infection.
- Jokubas Szedvilas, Lithuanian immigrant who owns a deli on Halsted Street.
- Edward Marcinkus, Lithuanian immigrant and friend of the family.
- Fisher, Chicago millionaire whose passion is helping poor people in slums.
- Tamoszius Kuszleika, a fiddler who becomes Marija's fiancé.
- Jonas Lukoszas, Teta Elzbieta's brother. He abandons the family in bad times and disappears.
- Stanislovas Lukoszas, Elzibeta's eldest son; he starts work at 14.
- Mike Scully (originally Tom Cassidy), the Democratic Party "boss" of the stockyards.
- Phil Connor, a boss at the factory where Ona works. Connor rapes Ona and forces her into prostitution.
- Miss Henderson, Ona's forelady at the wrapping-room.
- Antanas, son of Jurgis and Ona, otherwise known as "Baby".
- Vilimas and Nikalojus, Elzbieta's second and third sons.
- Kristoforas, a crippled son of Elzbieta.
- Juozapas, another crippled son of Elzbieta.
- Kotrina, Elzbieta's daughter and Ona's half sister.
- Judge Pat Callahan, a crooked judge.
- Jack Duane, a thief whom Rudkus meets in prison.
- Madame Haupt, a midwife hired to help Ona.
- Freddie Jones, son of a wealthy beef baron.
- Buck Halloran, an Irish "political worker" who oversees vote-buying operations.
- Bush Harper, a man who works for Mike Scully as a union spy.
- Ostrinski, a Polish immigrant and socialist.
- Tommy Hinds, the socialist owner of Hinds's Hotel.
- Mr. Lucas, a socialist pastor and itinerant preacher.
- Nicholas Schliemann, a Swedish philosopher and socialist.
- Durham, a businessman and Jurgis’s second employer.
Sinclair published the book in serial form between February 25, 1905 and November 4, 1905 in Appeal to Reason, the socialist newspaper that had supported Sinclair's undercover investigation the previous year. This investigation had inspired Sinclair to write the novel, but his efforts to publish the series as a book met with resistance. An employee at Macmillan wrote,
I advise without hesitation and unreservedly against the publication of this book which is gloom and horror unrelieved. One feels that what is at the bottom of his fierceness is not nearly so much desire to help the poor as hatred of the rich.
Five publishers rejected the work as too shocking. Sinclair was about to self-publish a shortened version of the novel in a "Sustainer's Edition" for subscribers when Doubleday, Page came on board; on February 28, 1906 the Doubleday edition was published simultaneously with Sinclair's of 5,000 which appeared under the imprint of “The Jungle Publishing Company” with the Socialist Party’s symbol embossed on the cover, both using the same plates. In the first 6 weeks, the book sold 25,000 copies. It has been in print ever since, including four more self-published editions (1920, 1935, 1942, 1945). Sinclair dedicated the book "To the Workingmen of America".
The copyright (in some countries) expired after 100 years, so there is now (as of March 11, 2006) a free or "public domain" copy of the book available on the web site of Project Gutenberg.
In 2003, See Sharp Press published an edition based on the original serialization of The Jungle in Appeal to Reason, which they described as the "Uncensored Original Edition" as Sinclair intended it. The foreword and introduction say that the commercial editions were censored to make their political message acceptable to capitalist publishers. Others argue that Sinclair had made the revisions himself to make the novel more accurate and engaging for the reader, corrected the Lithuanian references, and streamlined to eliminate boring parts, as Sinclair himself said in letters and his memoir American Outpost (1932).
Upton Sinclair intended to expose "the inferno of exploitation [of the typical American factory worker at the turn of the 20th Century]", but the reading public fixed on food safety as the novel's most pressing issue. Sinclair admitted his celebrity arose "not because the public cared anything about the workers, but simply because the public did not want to eat tubercular beef". Some critics have attributed this response to the characters, most of whom, including Rudkus, have unpleasant qualities. The last section, concerning a socialist rally Rudkus attended, was later disavowed by Sinclair. But his description of the meatpacking contamination captured readers' attention.
Sinclair's account of workers falling into rendering tanks and being ground along with animal parts into "Durham's Pure Leaf Lard" gripped the public. The poor working conditions, and exploitation of children and women along with men, were taken to expose the corruption in meat packing factories.
The British politician Winston Churchill praised the book in a review.
In 1933, the book became a target of the Nazi book burnings due to Sinclair's endorsement of socialism.
PresidentTheodore Roosevelt had described Sinclair as a "crackpot" because of the writer's socialist positions. He wrote privately to journalist William Allen White, expressing doubts about the accuracy of Sinclair's claims: "I have an utter contempt for him. He is hysterical, unbalanced, and untruthful. Three-fourths of the things he said were absolute falsehoods. For some of the remainder there was only a basis of truth." After reading The Jungle, Roosevelt agreed with some of Sinclair's conclusions. The president wrote "radical action must be taken to do away with the efforts of arrogant and selfish greed on the part of the capitalist." He assigned the Labor Commissioner Charles P. Neill and social worker James Bronson Reynolds to go to Chicago to investigate some meat packing facilities.
Learning about the visit, owners had their workers thoroughly clean the factories prior to the inspection, but Neill and Reynolds were still revolted by the conditions. Their oral report to Roosevelt supported much of what Sinclair portrayed in the novel, excepting the claim of workers falling into rendering vats. Neill testified before Congress that the men had reported only "such things as showed the necessity for legislation." That year, the Bureau of Animal Industry issued a report rejecting Sinclair's most severe allegations, characterizing them as "intentionally misleading and false", "willful and deliberate misrepresentations of fact", and "utter absurdity".
Roosevelt did not release the Neill-Reynolds Report for publication. His administration submitted it directly to Congress on June 4, 1906. Public pressure led to the passage of the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act; the latter established the Bureau of Chemistry (in 1930 renamed as the Food and Drug Administration).
Sinclair rejected the legislation, which he considered an unjustified boon to large meat packers. The government (and taxpayers) would bear the costs of inspection, estimated at $30,000,000 annually. He complained about the public's misunderstanding of the point of his book in Cosmopolitan Magazine in October 1906 by saying, "I aimed at the public's heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach."
A film version of the novel was made in 1914, but it has since been lost.
- ^Brinkley, Alan (2010). "17: Industrial Supremacy". The Unfinished Nation. McGrawHill. ISBN 978-0-07-338552-5.
- ^Van Wienen, Mark W. (2012). "American socialist triptych: the literary-political work of Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Upton Sinclair, and W.E.B. Du Bois. n.p.". Book Review Digest Plus (H.W. Wilson). University of Michigan Press.
- ^"Upton Sinclair", Social History(blog) (biography) .
- ^Sinclair, Upton, "Note", 'The Jungle, Dover Thrift, pp. viii–x
- ^Upton Sinclair, Spartacus Educational .
- ^Gottesman, Ronald. "Introduction". The Jungle. Penguin Classics.
- ^ abcPhelps, Christopher. "The Fictitious Suppression of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle". History News Network. George Mason University. Retrieved January 20, 2014.
- ^"The Jungle and the Progressive Era | The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History". www.gilderlehrman.org. 2012-08-28. Retrieved 2017-10-21.
- ^Bloom, Harold, ed. (2002), Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, Infohouse, pp. 50–51, ISBN 1604138874 .
- ^Sinclair, Upton. "The Jungle". Project Gutenberg. Retrieved May 8, 2017.
- ^Sinclair, Upton (1905). The Jungle: The Uncensored Original Edition. Tucson, AZ: See Sharp Press. p. vi. ISBN 1884365302.
- ^ abSullivan, Mark (1996). Our Times. New York: Scribner. p. 222. ISBN 0-684-81573-7.
- ^"Welcome to 'The Jungle'", Slate, July 2006 .
- ^Arthur, Anthony (2006), Radical Innocent: Upton Sinclair, New York: Random House, pp. 84–85 .
- ^"Banned and/or Challenged Books from the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century". American Library Association. March 26, 2013. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
- ^Oursler, Fulton (1964), Behold This Dreamer!, Boston: Little, Brown, p. 417 .
- ^Roosevelt, Theodore (1951–54) [July 31, 1906], Morison, Elting E, ed., The Letters, 5, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, p. 340 .
- ^"Sinclair, Upton (1878–1968)". Blackwell Reference Online. Retrieved January 12, 2013.
- ^Jacobs, Jane, "Introduction", The Jungle, ISBN 0-8129-7623-1 .
- ^Hearings Before the Committee on Agriculture... on the So-called "Beveridge Amendment" to the Agricultural Appropriation Bill, U.S. Congress, House, Committee on Agriculture, 1906, p. 102, 59th Congress, 1st Session .
- ^Hearings Before the Committee on Agriculture... on the So-called "Beveridge Amendment" to the Agricultural Appropriation Bill, U.S. Congress, House, Committee on Agriculture, 1906, pp. 346–50, 59th Congress, 1st Session .
- ^Roosevelt, Theodore (1906), Conditions in Chicago Stockyards(PDF)
- ^Young, The Pig That Fell into the Privy, p. 477 .
- ^Sinclair, Upton (1906), "The Condemned-Meat Industry: A Reply to Mr. M. Cohn Armour", Everybody's Magazine, XIV, pp. 612–13 .
- ^Bloom, Harold. editor, Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, Infobase Publishing, 2002, p. 11
- ^"The Jungle". silentera.com.