Thursday, November 6, 2014

Melodrama in US!

Melodrama in us, the U.S., or in Upton Sinclair? Take your pick, it's easy to find it everywhere.

Unfortunately, I don't have an extensive knowledge of any of Upton Sinclair's novels. All I know is what I've heard from others and what I read on Wikipedia. His novel, The Jungle, focused on the unsanitary living conditions of immigrants in Chicago and the working class poverty. Sinclair was a journalist that exposed corruptions in politics and business and mistrusted them deeply. Just from this short summary alone, it is obvious how Sinclair used melodrama in his novels. He used them to turn the average working class man (or woman) against the government and large corporations. He wrote about their lives in a way that was like them versus the "big guy." It was the poor, helpless, innocent victims versus the large, greedy, rich men who benefited from their poverty. Upton Sinclair tries to relate to the majority of his readers by writing about characters, Jurgis and Ona, to represent the immigrants that live in poverty in Chicago. Sinclair uses them to represent the dangers of capitalism, and to show that the solution to everyone's problem is socialism.

Melodrama is used in US! by Chris Bachelder in a sort of satirical and ironic way. He mocks Upton Sinclair's extreme leftist views and pokes fun at how intense he gets about his work. However, Bachelder understands Sinclair's passion and determination and admires him for it. After a little more research into the novel, Bachelder's mocking wasn't out of dislike or distaste, it was more out of amusement and general interest. Bachelder constantly resurrected Upton Sinclair from his grave and brought him to a country that needs him, that needs his passion and his opinions.

Bachelder constantly kills and resurrects Upton Sinclair in his novel, and I feel as though it is his way of representing American liberals, that no matter what happens, they will always find their way back to life. They will never truly be gone, and there will always be an "Upton Sinclair" of the generation. Like Bachelder says, "the Left may be dead, but the feat and hatred of the Left will never die. It's an American passion." He keeps resurrecting Sinclair to show us (his readers) to be passionate about our views, to stand our grounds in our opinions and speak out when we should.

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