The Jungle is a 1906 novel written by the American journalist and novelist Upton Sinclair (1878–1968). Sinclair wrote the novel to portray the lives of immigrants in the United States in Chicago and similar industrialized cities. Many readers were most concerned with his exposure of health violations and unsanitary practices in the American meatpacking industry during the early 20th century, based on an investigation he did for a socialist newspaper.
Originally published in 1991 as part of a short-lived revival of the Classics Illustrated line, this adaptation of Sinclair's muckraking socialist novel succeeds because of its powerful images. When Kuper initially drew it, he was already a well-known left-wing comics artist. His unenviable task is condensing a 400-page novel into a mere 48 pages, and, inevitably, much of the narrative drama is lost. Kuper replaces it, however, with unmatched pictorial drama. The story follows Lithuanian immigrant Jurgis Rudkis and his family as they are eaten up and spit out by capitalism (represented by Chicago's packing houses). Kuper uses an innovative full-color stencil technique with the immediacy of graffiti to give Sinclair's story new life. When Jurgis is jailed for beating the rich rapist Connor, a series of panels suffused with a dull, red glow draw readers closer and closer to Jurgis's face, until they see that the glint in his eye is fire. Jurgis, briefly prosperous as a strong-arm man for the Democratic machine, smokes a cigar; the smoke forms an image of his dead son and evicted family. Perhaps most visually dazzling is the cubist riot as strikers battle police amid escaping cattle. Kuper infuses this 1906 novel with the energy of 1980s-era street art and with his own profoundly original graphic innovation, making it a classic in its own right.
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It was good
The novel was very interesting in terms of plot but it was also written very much like a textbook. It was hard to understand without rereading parts or without the audiobook.
Lithuanian Family During the Industrial Age
This novel is a must read. I missed out by not reading all of it in my high school days but I am sure glad I went back to read it. The main character goes through a series of trials. Jurgis learns from death, obstacles, life and politics. I do not want to go into full detail about the story but Upton Sinclair is a brave soul for exposing the meat packing industry along with several other subjects.
Ode to Socialism
Over-dramatized, narrow minded, full of exaggeration. It’s a ride of sorrow and woe for a fictitious immigrant family, where everything goes wrong. The last few chapters are wholly disconnected from the story as he lays out his naive arguments on what he calls socialism. Meanwhile, he viciously attacks capitalism that has been the motor behind so much wealth, industry, and technological advancement in the world. Want to know why he’s wrong? Check out Atlas Shrugged, written a couple generations after this yahoo’s ideas had actually been implemented.