Upton Sinclair

Upton Sinclair was an American writer whose works reflects not only the inside but also the socialists view on things. Upton sinclair was born in Baltimore, Maryland. He was born into a family which held to itís Southern aristocracy in every thing that was done. When Sinclair was ten years old, the family packed up and moved to New York City ( Where there were more opportunities to succeed ).

Upton Beall Sinclair began writing when he was 15 years old. He mostly wrote ethnic jokes and fiction for a fun magazine. He wrote these silly stories and jokes in order for the magazine to pay for his studies at New York City College. After he was done at New York City College, in 1897, he enrolled at Columbia University. By this time, Upton was putting out many novels and respected works. He was already being realized as one of the greatest writers of his time. Upton was putting out up to two novels per week. This was unheard of at this point in time. During these years he wrote Clif Faraday stories such as "Ensign Clarke Fitch." He was also writing Mark Mallory Stories like "Lieutenant Frederick Garrison" for boysí weekly magazine.

His writing was on the right track, but he still didnít have that one book to put him over the top. In 1900 Sinclair married his first wife. This was a start of a whole new era of writing for him. By 1904 Sinclair was moving toward a realistic fiction type of writing. He had become a regular reader of the "Appeal to Reason", which was a popular socialist-populist weekly magazine at that time. Uptonís big break came in 1906 when he published a book called, " The Jungle." As a writer this is where Sinclair gained most of his fame. This book gave him not only fame, but it also led to the Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906. This book had the deepest impact since Harriet Stoweís Uncle Tomís Cabin. The books popularity enabled Sinclair to establish and support the socialistic Helicon Home Colony in Englewood, N.J. However the popularity of his type of writing fell away after that year. After " The Jungle" was written it set off many similar studies of a group, and industry. or a region. Among some of them were: "The Metropolis" (1908) which was a exploration of New York people, "King Coal" (1917) which was a story about the Colorado Mining strike of 1914, and "Oil!" which was considered one of Sinclairís most influential writings.

In 1911 Sinclair and his wife had a divorce. This break-up led to the writing of "Springtime and Harvest" which was a tale of poor lovers in a costly relationship. From 1915 to 1934 Sinclair lived in Pasadena, California and later in Buckeye, Arizona. During this time Sinclair continued to write many books as a protest for the socialistic movements of that day.

In 1934 Sinclair decided to run for governor of California, but failed in the election just like the ones he was in before. Having spent the decade making movies with Eisenstein, and running for political office, Sinclair decided to return to his writing of fiction. He regained his popularity in 1940 with the writing of the Lanny Budd series, consisting of 11 contemporary historical novels. From Pasadena Sinclair suddenly moved in 1953 to a remote Arizona village of Buckeye. His second wife, whom he married in 1913, predeceased him in 1961, as did his third wife, in 1967.

Sinclair died on November 25, 1968 in Bound Brook, N.J. Today Sinclairís writings are not widely read, which reflects the literature and socialistic views of that time. Upton Sinclair believed in the power of literature to improve human conditions at home and in the work place. He was deeply committed to social justice. Sinclair used his pen to expose corruption and injustice. Throughout his life Sinclair was a vocal supporter of socialism.

Now I will compare 2 of Upton Beall Sinclairís writings in detail. In his first popular writing, The Jungle, Upton shows the life of a worker in the meat-packing plants of Chicago. The Book starts out with a man named Jurgis Rudkus, a young Lithuanian immigrant, who arrives in America dreaming of wealth, freedom, and opportunity. He finds work in the filthy Chicago stockyards, where the backbreaking work and treatment of workers is two much for Jurgis to handle. First, his wife and him are going to get married and throw a big party. This party costed a lot and people were expected to pay for their own portion. Hardly any of the people at the party paid for their portion, leaving all of the costs in the Rudkusís hands. This was a problem because they did not have the funds to pay for this costly of a party.

Sinclair wrote "The Jungle" as an appeal to Socialism. He follows Jurgis's Lithuanian immigrant family into the dirty apartments and meat packing factories of Chicago. There, they suffer the loss of all their dreams of success and freedom in America. They find themselves stuck in the middle of all the poverty and misery of the city despite all their best efforts. Sinclair's purpose is to show the evils of capitalism as an economic system. Sinclair was lost by the public reaction to his successful novel. "He said that he had aimed for America's heart, but had ended by hitting it in the stomach."

Jurgis suffers over and over. He joins the union only to see the union fail to improve working conditions. His wife and child die young. He becomes a wandering man. Finally, he joins the Chicago criminal underworld where money comes easily to him for the first time since his arrival in America. However, that fails to save him as well. He returns to the remains of his family only to discover that Marija has become a prostitute. Another member of the family, Stanislovas, is dead, he was eaten alive by a swarm of rats in an oil factory. This final thing beats Jurgis down further. All of a sudden he wanders upon a Socialist political meeting. At this point, Jurgis truly was a beaten man. However, when he listens to the political speaker, he finds that he likes the ideas of the speaker. He takes Socialism to his heart, believing that it is only political things that can save his kind.

"Springtime and Harvest" was one of Uptonís best writings besides "The Jungle." This story was written right after the death of his wife. This is a very sorrowful and mourning story. It was not Uptonís usual type of writing. This story was based on a familyís struggle to get things ready for harvesting in the fall. It is all about the struggles and trials they went through in the spring so they could have a good crop.

These stories are totally different in style and in form. Uptonís writing changed dramatically after the death of his wife. "The Jungle" was written to inform and to teach people about what was happening with their daily food products. "Springtime and Harvest" was written to show struggles and trials people go through on an everyday basis. Both of these stories are very good in style and in form, but they are very different from each other.

Upton had a good hard life, but he had no regrets. His book, "the Jungle" is still recognized as one of the best information and influential books of that time. People still read his books even today. Despite all of his trials in his life Upton Beall Sinclair was able to make changes to not only a group of people, but even the government.