Welcome to The Jungle

14 06 2007

Today I finally got the chance to dig into Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle a bit more, and I have to say that it is one of the most powerful books I’ve come across. The conditions Sinclair describes are absolutely hellish, and it’s even more shocking to think that people still subjected to such terrors (or worse). One scene in particular, tying together ecology, disease, and the blind eye corporations turn to human beings, struck me full-on. Near the conclusion of Chapter 2, Sinclair writes;

The roadway was commonly several feet lower than the level of the houses, which were sometimes joined by high board walks; there were no pavements – there were mountains and valleys and rivers, gullies and ditches, and great hollows full of stinking green water. In these pools the children played, and rolled about in the mud of the streets; here and there one noticed them digging in it, after trophies which they had stumbled on. One wondered about this, as also about the swarms of flies which hung about the scene, literally blackening the air, and the strange, fetid odor which assailed one’s nostrils, a ghastly odor, of all the dead things of the universe. It impelled the visitor to questions – and then the residents would explain, quietly, that all this was “made” land – and that it had been “made” by using it as a dumping ground for the city garbage. After a few years the unpleasant effect of this would pass away, it was said; but meantime, in hot weather – and especially when it rained – the flies were apt to be annoying. Was it not unhealthy? the stranger would ask, and the residents would answer: “Perhaps, but there is no telling.” Yet there chanced one day to be passing a young man who thought that there might be telling, and who set to work to count the deaths of the children in back of the yards. He found that there were five times as numerous as in the neighboring district, a “swell” part of the city, whence came all this garbage to be dumped. Then, also, he made a map of the district, and in each block he put a black dot for every chidl who had died there in the past year; when he finished you would have said that his map had been made with a pepper cruet.”




One response

8 02 2012
the pilatesbiz

All great answers Aron, thanks. I think we all hit every question for you. Have a great day!

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