"It was four o'clock when the ceremony was over and the carriages began to arrive."
For nearly a century, the original version of Upton Sinclair's classic novel has remained almost entirely unknown. When it was published in serial form in 1905, it was a full third longer than the censored, commercial edition published in book form the following year. That expurgated commercial edition edited out much of the ethnic flavor of the original, as well as some of the goriest descriptions of the meat-packing industry and much of Sinclair's most pointed social and political commentary. The text of this new edition is as it appeared in the original uncensored edition of 1905. It contains the full 36 chapters as originally published, rather than the 31 of the expurgated edition. A new foreword describes the discovery in the 1980s of the original edition and its subsequent suppression, and a new introduction places the novel in historical context by explaining the pattern of censorship in the shorter commercial edition.
Imagine yourself standing in a puddle of blood, covering the entire floor. All around you is corpses, the dead hanging from the ceiling to bleed dry. The smell is so nauseous you don’t understand how such a disgusting mess turns into food for the people. This isn't a horror story or perhaps it is…
Upton Sinclair has created a jaw dropping story that inspired ACTUAL CHANGE. This was a fictional story with truth woven through it, this truth will make you question your political views, it may even change the way you eat. There was a brief part of this book that had me staring at my dinner plate untouched, which then prompted me to run to my computer and look up the TRUTH behind “The Jungle”. After reading about the change this book inspired (which I barely knew about from the little history I retained), I felt slightly better about things.
However, some of these issues still exist today. We might not throw scraps of rat chewed meat to be sold but look at all the controversy today surrounding antibiotic fed livestock, etc. In some ways we may be coming full circle on some of these issues. The treatment of people in the workplace, rules and unions are still struggling to get basic rights (in some circumstances). Clearly, we still have a lot to learn; maybe someone will be brave like Upton and speak out through storytelling to shock the masses. Oh wait… this does exist… in documentary form… all over Netflix.
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