As I opened the cover of The Jungle, I anticipated reading a tragic story about the
cruelness inflicted upon a poor, working-class family. I had read an excerpt from the
novel and had conversed with people who had read it; I thought the story was going to be
solid, and perhaps even entertaining. I was incredibly wrong.

The beginning of the story started out slow, as it was just another “American

Dream” type story. Jurgis and family came to the States seeking a better life and freedom
from their homeland’s injustices. The story had potential, but the redundancy of the
descriptions wore old. I only need to hear once or maybe even twice how cold the winters
were, or how evil the packing bosses were. The only parts that I thought had any value
were the descriptions of the working facilities and what foulness and corruption were
found within. Such descriptions were there solely for the shock or disgust of the reader.

The end of the story was extremely confusing. I can understand why Jurgis left his
family after the death of his young wife, and then the death of his only son. After his time
in the country and working for the political machines of Chicago, he became interested in
the idea of socialism. With the introduction of a socialist Jurgis, I wanted to put down the
book. Where had the whole socialist movement came from? I felt it made absolutely no
sense to be in this story. The story, at that point, needed to concentrate more on the
reunited family of Jurgis rather than the radical ideas circulating throughout Chicago.

Upton Sinclair painted an accurate historical picture with The Jungle, but he wrote
it without a sensible plot, with redundant and ambiguous details, and with no appeal as a
readable story. I recommend leaving this book on the shelf for someone else to stumble
through; I was not impressed.
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