Saturday, October 14, 2006

Introduction to "The Jungle"

I got to read the foreword and the introduction to The Jungle today for the Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition that I have. The foreword was written by Eric Schlosser who wrote Fast Food Nation along with some other sort of expose books. The introduction is by Ronald Gottesman who is a professional editor and has taught literature at a college level. I really enjoy reading introductions to books especially novels that were written almost 100 years ago because I feel like it gives you some perspective on the book from a modern person. I think what most fascinated me was discovering that Upton Sinclair wrote this novel when he was almost 26. While he went on to write many more books, the only other books that matched the commercial success of The Jungle were the Lanny Budd novels that he wrote late in life. It also interestingly pointed out the paradox that the people that need the injustices in their life most pointed out (workers in unsafe conditions, immigrants etc.) are the least able to document their own struggles. Here are my thoughts for today:

Can you imagine reaching the pinnacle of your professional life at 26? Forst of all, I think that is depressing for all of us that are past 26 and have hopefully not reached the pinnacle of our professional lives. If you realized that you had done the best work that you could ever do at 26, I think that would provide a sincere lack of motivation for the rest of our life. Where would you go from there?

Do you think that people who are not actually a part of a group can accurately portray a group's struggles? I think that it can be done but it provides great challenges. The easiest thing in the world is to write what you know. What do you think you could write?

Do you think that the Food Acts that were passed partially as a result of this book need to be revised? If so, how? Do you think the FDA adequately protects you and the food and drugs that you and your children eat or do you think that they have been overly influenced by pharmaceutical companies and large food producers?

Let me know what you think. Be safe and have a good night! I am off to watch Numbers on On Demand.

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