Where do I find literary criticism on The Jungle?

Expert Answers
gojsawyer eNotes educator| Certified Educator
In locating literary criticism, the most important points to keep in mind are relative to the source of the criticism and the authority of the source. Keeping these aspects of research in mind helps both trained and lay scholars alike to view literary criticism of a work in the context of forming a subsequent critique of the work. The most appropriate sources will be located and utilized according to the end result of the need for the research of literary criticism. Given electronic sources, literary criticism can be found in numerous places. For example, a Google search under the terms "the jungle literary criticism" reveals multiple sources of criticism for Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle." The sources range in expertise from commercial literary criticism from for-profit sources to that provided by university scholars. To decide upon the utility of such sources in terms of the authority of the expertise may depend upon the rigor of the context in which the literary criticism is necessary. For example, for casual enjoyment of the work, a non-scholarly reference may suffice. Academic work in a university setting may require more rigor in terms of expertise. As such, a search for literary criticism using the search engine Google Scholar may be more appropriate. Also, limiting searches with “.edu” helps to refine resources to university or scholarly sources. However, sometimes academically rigorous literary criticism may not be available online. In that case, academically rigorous literary criticism of "The Jungle" intended for scholarly analysis may require research in academic databases, many of which are online, such as JStor, or in libraries. The libraries of local colleges and universities may be more useful in finding academic literary criticism than a typical local public library. Whether in a library or online, some resources are provided free of charge while others carry a fee, depending on what is needed and whether the reference must be printed as a hard copy. Ultimately, reviewing literary criticism of a work helps a reader to contextualize the work relative to developing either an informed personal opinion or to creating new literary criticism that adds to the analyses that have been completed by others in the field. As such, the reader must decide from a review of a range of literary criticism that may vary in depth and authority as to which literary criticism best suits the intended purpose.
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In addition to the sources suggested above, if one wishes to obtain critical essays of quality upon aspects of The Jungle--even in comparison to other such works--he/she can also turn to the Reference section of the library and seek such essays in the Contemporary Literary Criticism volumes.  This collection of literary analyses is boundless, offering a wide variety of critical approaches  by learned writers.  Each volume contains an Index, and there is also a general Index to aid in the location of essays. Certainly, the use of these references books is of the quality needed for the student in the college setting. Since The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair is also a novel that crosses into social criticism, there should be ample essays, too, upon an aspect of the novel that touchess social issues. However, there are dangers in obtaining social criticisms. For example, an article from American Studies by social historian Louise Caroll Wade, contends that the novel is only mildly worthy as a historical novel. She states that since Sinclair was a Socialist,

...he "loaded the dice" by ignoring "how millions could consume Chicago meat without ill effects." The demise of the Rudkus family is far-fetched, given the statistically improbable series of disasters that befall it within a few years' time.

Nevertheless, Wade does concede that The Jungle raises questions on many worthy issues. Fianlly, there are four or five criticisms of Sinclair's work on enotes. She the enotes link below.