Sunday, February 16, 2020

A Bit Of A Bit More On Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle

‪  The Jungle:‬

‪I’ve started the 2nd 1/3 of the book.‬

‪No one will say Sinclair is subtle or has a fine literary touch.‬

‪The saying is, “Never use a sledgehammer when a scalpel will do.”‬

‪Now, I understand that exposing rapacious capitalism at one of the heights of its rapacity is no work for a scalpel. But it is becoming too much in the unrelenting deepening of this family’s misery. Which makes it more to the point that it’s more tract than anything else. ‬

‪The changes in Gurgis as he deteriorates are told to us mechanically, not shown. After the wedding, there’s not a spot of joy to be found anywhere, only deepening, darkening misery, which we’re told about now shown, caused by heartless capitalism.‬

‪What is a literary critic to say generally of this book that as literature is mediocre at best but as social document bearing witness is powerful and shocked so many consciences that it generated ameliorative changes in the law?‬

‪I’d think just that, or something like it.‬

‪Question: would ought it be put on a syllabus in a course of early 20th century American literature and why or why not?‬

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Brief Note In Midst Of Reading Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle

‪The wedding scene is an amazing cross section of that swathe of immiserated, exploited, grimly existing immigrants carving out a tragedy-enhancing moment of pleasure in the midst of their terrible social affliction. Here, in this scene, the showing and telling seem to be in accord. From then on, The Jungle devolves to tract-like telling under the veneer of fiction, whatever Sinclair thought he was achieving. And yet, as I say, what he describes, and it gets gloomier and darker as it proceeds, is powerfully resonant. So, maybe there’s another way of seeing what he does, that the thin simulacrum of people living their lives all so externally presented, almost fable like, is enough humanity as to make resonantly work the endless description of the conditions creating their deepening misery.‬

Friday, February 7, 2020

My Tweet On Just Having Seen Parasite

‪Color me contrarian. Just saw Parasite. I say meh. At times exhaustingly boring, at times simple minded, at times a cartoon, its abiding weakness is its exaggeration intended as satire and as shock, but which falls flat thematically/intellectually and emotionally. At best 2.75/5‬