Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Raking Muck with Upton Sinclair






Upton Sinclair (1878-1968), similar to W.E.B. Du Bois and Helen Keller, is a complicated and interesting historical figure, worthy of serious reflection.








Sinclair is probably best known for his muckraking work in the novel The Jungle. Yet he wrote much more, including a book on early 20th century religion, as well as other novels critical of trends, ideas, and practices of his time and place. Once a member of the socialist party, Sinclair joined the Democratic party so he could run for governor of California in 1934.



Here is Sinclair's American Writer's page, another page about teaching Sinclair, and his PAL page. Here is Sinclair on the radio. Sinclair's papers reside in the Lily Library at Indiana University.



There were several commemorations of Sinclair's 1906 book The Jungle in 2006: read one, and then another.



The most recent biography of Sinclair is Radical Innocent (2006), and another important book also published recently is Upton Sinclair and the Other American Century (2006). the movie "There Will be Blood" is based on Sinclair's 1927 novel Oil!.



[Photo credit here.]

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Upton Sinclair seems like such an amazing person. He seems to have lived a great and interesting life. He did many great things and was a very smart man. He wrote many great things such as Oil. I think it is very interesting that a movie that we all will watch and is very popular is based on a novel written by a great man.

Kendall Burgess

Anonymous said...

Go see There Will be Blood, its the best movie I saw in 2007.
-Kreston

Anonymous said...

Upton Sinclair seemed to have made his mark in the Progressive Era. He accomplished a lot in his life write numerous successful and groundbreaking books like "The Jungle" and "Oil". "The Jungle" created a nauseous feeling in who ever reads it even the President Teddy Roosevelt. Muckraking was what he did and he was extremely successful doing so.

- Davison C.

Anonymous said...

Sinclair was good at what he did and used it to benefit others. He seems like a great person, he was smart did good things. with "the jungle" he helped other see how bad the conditions were to help make them better

--Martha De Leon

Mr. S said...

Matt, why was There Will Be Blood the best movie you saw? What was so good about it?

Anonymous said...

Upton Sinclair was one of the most devoted journalists of his time for the lengths he was eilling to go to to reveal the truth. As seen in his publications "The Jungle" and "Oil" Sinclair was at the starting line of the reform that was about to take place.
-Staley

Anonymous said...

the passion he has for what he writes and appeals for can be felt just by reading some of the links.The movie There Will be Blood looks as if it portrays the level of intensity that Sinclair had towards that which he wrote about. Reading that excerpt from the Jungle in class the other day was the most interesting passage i have read all year. The only thing that made it hard to finish was the graphic details. so far i really enjoy Upton Sinclair.
-claire b.

Anonymous said...

Upton Sinclair was an extraordinary person. Primarily because he fought for the rights of the common working man, even though he was not one, because he knew someone needed to unveil the misfortunes of the abused, poor Americans whether they were born in the US or were immigrants. In his gruesome novel The Jungle, which follows the hardships faced by Jurgis Rudkus and his family, who recently immigrated from Lithuania, in the slums and meat industries of Chicago, shows these problems in a blatant and appalling manner. I have started reading this novel and already think it is rather good; thus, I recommend it to those of you who are not weak of stomach nor mind reading the 341 page work of literature.
- Jesse Worsham

Anonymous said...

Upton Sinclair was an amazing writer. He loved using imagery to capture his readers. Sinclair understood that America could not flourish with so much "baggage" attached. something had to be done about the harsh working conditions and Sinclair addressed the issue. Also, he did not approve of the corporations and trusts that were formed. I think he was a leader also because he used the power power and resources he had to make a difference in what he belived in.

Mary Papasakelariou

Nikolas said...

Well the movie reference I'll keep in mind but overall I liked reading about the work that Sinclair did and how in reality by doing such reports on conditions in and out of the public view and when something like that happens then politicians are forced to take action or suffer the wrath of an angry public which is the way it should be we do not serve the politicians the politicians serve us!

Anonymous said...

I believe that Upton Sinclair was the best investigative journalist of the 20th century. He exposed the truth of big businesses and greatly assisted the American worker of the 1900's. All of his works were monumumental, obviously important enough for a movie to be made of his 1927 novel Oil.
Nick Daniels

Paige! said...

I find Upton Sinclair's personality to be creative and innovative as well. Not only because of his creativity in exposing the harsh working conditions within industrialized America, in "The Jungle," but also because of the 'guts' that he had to present his observations and bring them into the political light! Way to go, Sinclair!
His,
Paige!

Anonymous said...

Upton Sinclair was a good muckraker. He really exposed all the negative things that were going on in the slums. He did a lot for the reforms of the Progressive Era.
Josiah Tour

Anonymous said...

Upton Sinclair satirized society through his literary works. He is a major contributor to the Progessive era. It is so intresting learning about him and his many accomplishments. His works led to many changes in America: both society and government changes. For instance, his novel The Jungle led to the boycotting of meat by many American citizens, and and outcry to the government to take a stand. This eventually led to the Meat Inspection Act. That is only one of his many acheivments. Ican't wait to learn more about him! -Shelby

doug chipponeri said...

Upton sinclair was an extraordinary individual. His publication of 'the jungle' received a vast amount of different responses. It clearly explained the horrid working conditions of the time period. I hope to see the movie which is based on his novel 'oil' very soon. 'there will be blood' looks like a very interesting story of the oil industry during that time.

Anonymous said...

I think that Upton Sinclair helped a lot of people out by writing the things that he did. Even though he may have exaggerated some things I think that it was basked off facts. His work was really good for this time period.
Natalie J

richard s. said...

Upton Sinclair was a very well-involved reformer. He actually went into the places where turmoil was taking place and reported on it. I really admire this about Sinclair because, because of his great involvment in his cause, he was able to write a very vivid and descriptive novel about what was taking place in meat factorie around the country. In his novel "The Jungle", he makes his audience think about acting against the unsanitation of meat packing plants in the United States.