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General Politics => Book Reviews and Discussion => Topic started by: Vosem on June 29, 2012, 02:31:59 pm



Title: So I'm going to read The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
Post by: Vosem on June 29, 2012, 02:31:59 pm
It's required reading at my high school. Has anybody read it? Thoughts?



Title: Re: So I'm going to read The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
Post by: The Mikado on June 29, 2012, 04:24:36 pm
It's a pain in the ass, and it has a weak ending (a very weak ending that feels like it was imported from another book entirely), but it's a powerful book.  The famous bits are the meat packing plant bits, but that's only the first third of the book.

Also, for all his positives, Upton Sinclair did not like black people, so don't be surprised to find some fairly racist passages in this book.


Title: Re: So I'm going to read The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
Post by: Mynheer Peeperkorn on June 29, 2012, 04:27:50 pm
Read Heart of Darkness or Lord of the Flies. Sinclair is irrelevant.


Title: Re: So I'm going to read The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
Post by: homelycooking on June 29, 2012, 04:51:05 pm
It turned me into a rabid Marxist at age 13. I should read it again as the bourgeois, liberal slime that I now am and see what I think of it this time.


Title: Re: So I'm going to read The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
Post by: Mynheer Peeperkorn on June 29, 2012, 05:08:18 pm
North American literature is Faulkner + A Confederacy of Dunces + the first half of Catch 22.

Everything else is "fine" and that's all. I've always felt sympathy for Fitzgerald, but his novels are quite irrelevant. Twain is G rated.

Hemingway is trash.

In poetry Whitman and Ginsberg are great.

And that's the end of North American literature.


Title: Re: So I'm going to read The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
Post by: Lief 🐋 on June 29, 2012, 05:48:37 pm
The first third is excellent, the second third is good, the final third is pretty bad.


Title: Re: So I'm going to read The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
Post by: homelycooking on June 29, 2012, 10:02:53 pm
And that's the end of North American literature.

You are so narrow-minded, you can see through a needle with both eyes.


Title: Re: So I'm going to read The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
Post by: memphis on June 29, 2012, 10:49:46 pm
It's interesting to see how the public completely missed the point of the novel. Or at least didn't care.


Title: Re: So I'm going to read The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
Post by: Mynheer Peeperkorn on June 30, 2012, 03:41:26 am
And that's the end of North American literature.

You are so narrow-minded, you can see through a needle with both eyes.

Narrow minded ? LOL.


Title: Re: So I'm going to read The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
Post by: homelycooking on June 30, 2012, 08:01:29 am
And that's the end of North American literature.

You are so narrow-minded, you can see through a needle with both eyes.

Narrow minded ? LOL.

You dismiss the whole of North American literature (which includes Canada, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean as well as the United States, mind you) with the exception of Faulkner, Whitman, Ginsberg and two other novels (actually, one whole novel and a portion of another) and expect me or anyone else to take you seriously? No chance.

I repeat the accusation, sir. You are narrow minded if this is really your perspective on North American literature.


Title: Re: So I'm going to read The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
Post by: minionofmidas - supplemental forum account on June 30, 2012, 01:55:08 pm
It's interesting to see how the public completely missed the point of the novel. Or at least didn't care.
"I aimed for America's heart and hit it in the stomach" or something.

The ending... what was that again? You mean the part with our Lithuanian immigrant (I forget his name :( ) as a Socialist agitator? Or was there something after that I've forgotten?


Title: Re: So I'm going to read The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
Post by: The Mikado on July 01, 2012, 02:55:43 pm
It's interesting to see how the public completely missed the point of the novel. Or at least didn't care.
"I aimed for America's heart and hit it in the stomach" or something.

The ending... what was that again? You mean the part with our Lithuanian immigrant (I forget his name :( ) as a Socialist agitator? Or was there something after that I've forgotten?

Coming a close second running for Mayor of Chicago, suddenly capable of discoursing on the finer parts of Socialist philosophy (there's a big argument in the end over whether or not Socialism is compatible with Christianity, and our uneducated and mostly-unlettered hero suddenly starts learnedly discussing the issue), etc.


Title: Re: So I'm going to read The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
Post by: Trounce-'em Theresa on July 01, 2012, 06:08:17 pm
North American literature is Faulkner + A Confederacy of Dunces + the first half of Catch 22.

Everything else is "fine" and that's all. I've always felt sympathy for Fitzgerald, but his novels are quite irrelevant. Twain is G rated.

Hemingway is trash.

In poetry Whitman and Ginsberg are great.

And that's the end of North American literature.

Any definition of North American literature that includes Ginsberg and not Stevens or Williams, or somehow privileges Faulkner over O'Connor, or pretends that North America north of the forty-ninth or south of the Rio Grande doesn't exist, is no definition of 'North American literature' at all.


Title: Re: So I'm going to read The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
Post by: Mynheer Peeperkorn on July 02, 2012, 04:11:56 am
With North America (in this forum) I refer to USA. It's wrong but it's better than USA = America.


Title: Re: So I'm going to read The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
Post by: opebo on July 02, 2012, 10:29:48 am
North American literature is Faulkner + A Confederacy of Dunces + the first half of Catch 22.

Everything else is "fine" and that's all. I've always felt sympathy for Fitzgerald, but his novels are quite irrelevant. Twain is G rated.

Hemingway is trash.

In poetry Whitman and Ginsberg are great.

And that's the end of North American literature.

Well done!  I like this kind of sweeping arrogant dismissal, and I even partially agree with it.  For sure about Faulkner - head and shoulders above the rest - and Hemmingway (bleagh), and even Fitzgerald and Twain (good but perhaps not so 'important').

But you're still disregarding very interesting writers like Henry James, Flannery O'Connor, etc.  Of course I suppose I may be confusing personal liking for something greater.


Title: Re: So I'm going to read The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
Post by: Gustaf on July 14, 2012, 05:04:10 am
Yeah, I agree with Opebo in the sense that an arrogant and sweeping statement is typically a great starting point for a debate (especially if it's ludicrous). I do it all the time. :P

I'd say that I disagree though. Much of the modern good literature is American, in my opinion. Joseph Heller, Kurt Vonnegut, Thomas Pynchon and so on.

Older American literature I don't know as well, since it is so ignored in literature classes here.


Title: Re: So I'm going to read The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
Post by: Negusa Nagast 🚀 on August 02, 2012, 01:59:28 am
Vosem, if the subject matter of The Jungle interests you, I recommend its contemporary friend: Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser.

As to great American writers, one of our best living authors has to be Cormac McCarthy.