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The Jungle
by Upton Sinclair Sinclair's book ,"The Jungle" is probably one of his best known novels. It exposed conditions in the meat-packing industry and led to passage of the nation's first pure food laws. Sinclair was an American writer and an active social and political reformer. Sinclair was born in Baltimore, Maryland. His family came from the ruined Southern aristocracy. His father was a liquor salesman whose alcoholism shadowed Sinclair's childhood. He gained fame with the novel "The Jungle". In other novels and nonfiction works, he attacks capitalistic society and the books reflect the world's concerns with Communism and fascism. In addition to writing a stream of books, Sinclair was an active social and political reformer and his writings reflect his views. He helped organize the American Civil Liberties Union and the League for Industrial Democracy. He ran unsuccessfully three times each for Congress and for governor of California. The story itself takes place in Chicago with a group of immigrants. They come to the U.S. and discover that it's a cruel, harsh world as they experience numerous mishaps. The first is a marr iage which costs much money, and the second is a death. After this, comes a house which is sold to the one couple for three times the value of the house. It's at this time that the parents and other groups move into this house and one of the people go to work in a meat packing business and learns about the unsanitary conditions. Another character in the story is a musician who is currently down on his luck and his wife has to go to work. After a while one of the men has an accident and breaks his arm. He has to stay away from work and when he is able to go back, he is told that he was fired. He learns at this point that when you are useful to the company they will accept you, but once injured, they throw out the crippled. At this point this character talks to a Socialist and begins to travel to meetings. After his first Socialist rally, he listens mainly to two people, one a ex-professor whose has become a philosopher and the other who is currently an evangelist who has become a traveler. The theme that prevails in this book are the conditions in the meat industry and the contrast of the social classes; there are characters from both worlds, the rich and the poor, and the plot carries you from one to the other.

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