The Jungle (novel)

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The Jungle (1906) is a novel by Upton Sinclair that describes the life of a family of Lithuanian immigrants working in Chicago's Union Stock Yards at the end of the 19th century. The novel depicts in harsh tones, poverty, the complete absence of social security, the scandalous living and working conditions, the lack of hygiene, and generally the utter hopelessness prevalent among the have-nots, which is contrasted with the deeply-rooted corruption on the part of the haves.

Chapter 1

  • He is a very inspired man. His violin is out of tune, and there is no rosin on his bow, but he is a very inspired man.
  • (For the family to give up their traditions) would mean not merely to be defeated, but to accept defeat--and the difference between these two things is what keeps the world going.

Chapter 10

  • Here was a population, low-class and mostly foreign, hanging always on the verge of starvation, and dependent for its opportunities of life upon the whim of men every bit as brutal and unscrupulous as the old-time slave drivers; under such circumstances immorality was exactly as inevitable, and as prevalent, as it was under the system of chattel slavery. Things that were quite unspeakable went on there in the packing houses all the time, and were taken for granted by everybody; only they did not show, as in the old slavery times, because there was no difference in color between master and slave.

Chapter 27

  • There is one kind of prison where the man is behind bars, and everything that he desires is outside; and there is another kind where the things are behind the bars, and the man is outside.

Chapter 28

  • There is no wilderness where I can hide from these things, there is no haven where I can escape them; though I travel to the ends of the earth, I find the same accursed system - I find that all the fair and noble impulses of humanity, the dreams of poets and the agonies of martyrs, are shackled and bound in the service of organized and predatory Greed!
  • "What," asks the prophet, "is the murder of them that kill the body, to the murder of them that kill the soul?"

Chapter 29

  • It was the incarnation of blind insensenate Greed. It was a monster devouring with a thousand mouths, trampling with a thousand hoofs: it was the Great Butcher -- it was the spirit of Capitalism made flesh.

Chapter 31

  • "We shall have the sham reformers self-stultified and self-convicted; we shall have the radical Democracy left without a lie with which to cover its nakedness! And then will begin the rush that will never be checked, the tide that will never turn till it has reached its flood- that will be irresistible, overwhelming- the rallying of the outraged workingmen of Chicagoto our standard! And we shall organize them, we shall drill them, we shall marshal them for the victory! We shall bear down the opposition, we shall sweep it before us- and Chicago will be ours! Chicago will be ours! CHICAGO WILL BE OURS!"

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