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 homelandís 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.