Friday, December 19, 2014

Passionate Politics and US!

Upton Sinclair was extremely passionate about his work. He got caught up in what he believed in and came off as "intense." Chris Bachelder plays on Sinclair's passion, admiring Sinclair's love for his work, while making fun of him at the same time. I read U.S.! and thought of Sinclair as a sort of symbol. He represents socialism and change, but in an extreme way. In the novel, Bachelder repeatedly assassinates and then resurrects Sinclair whenever there is a need for socialism and change. He brings Sinclair back so the Socialist party can ask him for guidance, and Sinclair just keeps coming back with more and more outrageous views and novels, refusing to back down and give up. In this way, Bachelder also uses Sinclair to represent passion. Bachelder might not agree with everything Sinclair stands for, but he admires that Sinclair is very honest about his views and knows exactly where he stands. Sinclair is passionate about what he believes in, and Bachelder is trying to bring that back, bring the passion back to politics. Passionate Politics is attempting to do the same.

Passionate Politics is a collection of novels in which Jeff Goodwin, James Jasper, and Francesca Polletta try to analyze the importance of passion in politics and social movement. "Emotions, properly understood, may prove once again to be a central concern of political analysis" (pg. 2). They provide examples of which passion played an important part in social movement, such as the Civil Rights movement. In the first chapter, Goodwin introduces two types of emotional transformation, the first being "the amplification of the initiating emotion," so how intense the initial emotion is, and the second, "the transmutation of the initiating emotion into something else," so how to use that emotion and apply it. It is very clear how Chris Bachelder uses these types of emotional transformation throughout all of U.S.!. Although the novel can be interpreted many different ways with many different emotions and transformations, I first felt amusement, like, of all people, why would Bachelder want to resurrect Upton Sinclair? Who is he to me? But after continuing to read, that amusement, almost indifference, turned into pity and sympathy. Sinclair was only trying to help the country, and he kept being assassinated because no one took him seriously.

Chris Bachelder brought passion into politics. What could have been a boring novel, Bachelder used Upton Sinclair to make his readers feel something. He used Sinclair to make us interested and understand politics, which is what Goodwin, Jasper, and Polletta is trying to achieve.

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