Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

Upton Sinclair dedicated The Jungle to the “Workingmen of America.” How does this dedication reflect his attitudes in other novels?

A fierce fighter for women’s rights, Sinclair rarely created memorable female characters. Do you find that this detracts from his attempt to portray a full picture of society?

What journalistic or muckraking (investigative) aspects are prominent in Sinclair’s art?

Sinclair is admired for his fine detail of ethnic customs, traditions, and other aspects of immigrant life. Can you identify such passages and analyze their literary technique?

Does Sinclair aim to shock and scandalize or rather portray the people and events in a truthful, albeit unflinching, light?

Some of Sinclair’s fictions resulted in changes to American laws and customs. Can you think of other writers whose works had such impact on the country?