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The Jungle (Enriched Classics) Mass Market Paperback – Special Edition, May 1, 2004
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About the Author
Upton Sinclair was born in Baltimore in September 1878. His father moved the family to New York City in 1888. Although his own family was extremely poor, he spent periods of time living with his wealthy grandparents. He later argued that witnessing these extremes turned him into a socialist. Sinclair funded his college education by writing stories for newspapers and magazines. Sinclair’s first novel was published in 1901. Sinclair was extremely active in socialist politics throughout his life. His novel Dragon’s Teeth (1942) on the rise of Nazism won him the Pulitzer Prize. By the time Upton Sinclair died in 1968, he had published more than ninety books.
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The Jungle tells the story of Jurgis, a young immigrant who tries to survive the "Chicago's jungle" in the early twentieth century. Instead of a land of opportunity where he can live decently with his family, he finds a corrupt city in which they are forced to live in squalor in a neighborhood of Chicago, Packingtown.
The tragedies that befall the family are numerous. Several of them die, the strongest members of the family find themselves gradually degraded and finally Jurgis becomes an alcoholic and her wife a drug-addicted prostitute. The author implies that these events are the result of the low standard of living and hard working conditions of the industry in Chicago. However, Jurgis realizes a way to come through the cycle of misery in which he is trapped. One cold night, by accident, he listens to a political meeting and since then he devotes his life to working toward a better world.
All in all, in The Jungle Upton Sinclair draws, on firsthand observation of everyday lives, a stellar description of the industrial city of Chicago and its people in the early twentieth century. A vital contribution to the Contemporary Literature of the Unites States and also to the fields of Social History and Industrial Heritage studies.