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The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair

ALEX HIETT | Staff Writer

Photo: Amazon.com

Photo: Amazon.com

The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair, is a political fiction novel set at the turn of the 20th Century, and also happens to be one of the required readings for AP U.S. History. The novel focuses on the exploitation of immigrant families in the late 1800s and the early 1900s, especially in Chicago.

The plot follows Jurgis and his family, who immigrated from Lithuania. They came seeking opportunity and a good life, and instead were met with the harsh realities of “Packingtown,” as Chicago was also known as.

The gross mistreatment and abuse of the meat packing industry is also explored in the story, and led to social uproar once the book became popular.

Overall, the tale encompasses the tragic life that immigrants faced, the corruption of powerful officials, and the saving grace of socialism for the working class.

I won’t lie, this is a difficult book to read. It has immense amounts of description, and the diction utilizes words I’d never heard of. The story though, is unforgettable.

It’s not an uplifting book in the slightest, and is downright disgusting at some points. I’ll never get over reading about a kid younger than me getting eaten alive by rats, or a toddler drowning in the street.

The plight of the worker in this book is showcased beautifully, and captures human nature in one of its truest forms. If you have the time, or have to for a class, I’d strongly recommend picking up The Jungle.

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