John Steinbeck and Upton Sinclair: A Comparison
“The Grapes of Wrath”, written by John Steinbeck and “The Jungle”, written by Upton Sinclair are two books that have and will forever be impactful on American history and literature. They are both considered very powerful novels. Although these books seem very different, they are much more similar than they seem. Steinbeck tells the story of a family making their way to California amidst the Great Depression and era of the Dust Bowl, while Sinclair tells the story of immigrants working in the horrifying conditions of meat pack factories in Chicago in the early 1900s. Steinbeck criticized the commercialism of farming in America and Sinclair takes a satirical approach to the flaws and shortcoming of capitalism in American at the beginning of the century. Both novels are alike in a sense that they can be considered very raw, depressing and extremely truthful.
Both Sinclair and Steinbeck share a similar writing tactic or technique. This being the fact that they are extremely graphic and heavily use symbolism throughout the course of each novel. Both books are quite vivid and present the story in a very “gritty” way. Intense imagery is a very heavily used rhetorical device in both “The Jungle” and “The Grapes of Wrath”. When Sinclair describes the conditions of the meat packing factories, readers can find it utterly repulsive and disgusting. It is obvious that Sinclair does not “sugar-coat” any of the details of the factory. He does not mean to leave anything out purposely in order to adequately convey to reader the horrible conditions that these people had to put up with and live and work in. Sinclair vividly describes everything and it creates very powerful and at times disturbing images in the mind of the reader. The strong imagery used by Sinclair in his novel places the reader in the meat packing factory. The reader is given almost a firsthand look at the horrors. Steinbeck also uses a vast amount of imagery and...
Bibliography: Sinclair, Upton. The Jungle. New York: Airmont Publishing Co., Inc., 1965.
Steinbeck, John. The Grapes of Wrath. New York: Bantam Books, 1972.
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