Upton Sinclair’s novel The Jungle is a typical melodrama, which portrays the harsh living and working condition of the working class under the ruthless American capitalism. Through describing the struggle and victimization of the immigrant family of Jurgis who move to the United States in search for a better future but are constantly brought to troughs, Sinclair successfully created a melodrama that condemns the evil, inhumane capitalism and glorifies socialism that he believes is the elixir to save people from suffering.
Chris Bachelder’s U.S.! strikes me as a peculiar piece. I have never seen any novel in which so many types of writing are present – short stories, letters, poems, book reviews, interviews and syllabus, which confused me in the first place. Upton Sinclair is portrayed as an eccentric in this book – he is moody, can get overly excited when talking about socialism, and is easily addicted to candy? I have never read any novel that makes fun of a real novelist in this way. While Sinclair is so constantly resurrected and assassinated in this novel, it seems to me that he is victimized in this process. He is resurrected in times of need and assassinated when his beliefs are no longer adored. The description of Sinclair’s wounded body undergoing so many tortures makes me sympathize with him. However, although Sinclair is tortured again and again in the novel, it delivers the message that he never really dies - once Sinclair is assassinated, there is hope that he will come back to life again. Bachelder shows that the passionate Leftist is always around and ready for revolution. Through this we can see that though Bachelder pokes so much fun at Sinclair, he is actually a great supporter of Sinclair’s views.