the jungle

i finished reading upton sinclair’s book “the jungle” yesterday. it was amazing. sure the socialism that is blatantly preached within the book has been proven a failure (the book was written during a time of socialist revival) but the book is still powerful. the book was great before i reached the last chapter but then it got better and better. even if the rest of the book sucked it would be worth reading for the last chapter.

“I am not defending the Vatican,” exclaimed Lucas, vehemently. “I am defending the word of God–which is one long cry of the human spirit for deliverance from the sway of oppression. Take the twenty-fourth chapter of the Book of Job, which I am accustomed to quote in my addresses as ‘the Bible upon the Beef Trust’; or take the words of Isaiah–or of the Master himself! Not the elegant prince of our debauched and vicious art, not the jeweled idol of our society churches–but the Jesus of the awful reality, the man of sorrow and pain, the outcast, despised of the world, who had nowhere to lay his head–”

“I will grant you Jesus,” interrupted the other.

“Well, then,” cried Lucas, “and why should Jesus have nothing to do with his church–why should his words and his life be of no authority among those who profess to adore him? Here is a man who was the world’s first revolutionist, the true founder of the Socialist movement; a man whose whole being was one flame of hatred for wealth, and all that wealth stands for,–for the pride of wealth, and the luxury of wealth, and the tyranny of wealth; who was himself a beggar and a tramp, a man of the people, an associate of saloon-keepers and women of the town; who again and again, in the most explicit language, denounced wealth and the holding of wealth: ‘Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth!’–‘Sell that ye have and give alms!’–‘Blessed are ye poor, for yours is the kingdom of Heaven!’–‘Woe unto you that are rich, for ye have received your consolation!’–‘Verily, I say unto you, that a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of Heaven!’ Who denounced in unmeasured terms the exploiters of his own time: ‘Woe unto you, scribes and pharisees, hypocrites!’–‘Woe unto you also, you lawyers!’–‘Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?’ Who drove out the businessmen and brokers from the temple with a whip! Who was crucified–think of it–for an incendiary and a disturber of the social order! And this man they have made into the high priest of property and smug respectability, a divine sanction of all the horrors and abominations of modern commercial civilization! Jeweled images are made of him, sensual priests burn incense to him, and modern pirates of industry bring their dollars, wrung from the toil of helpless women and children, and build temples to him, and sit in cushioned seats and listen to his teachings expounded by doctors of dusty divinity–”

“Bravo!” cried Schliemann, laughing. But the other was in full career–he had talked this subject every day for five years, and had never yet let himself be stopped. “This Jesus of Nazareth!” he cried. “This class-conscious working-man! This union carpenter! This agitator, law-breaker, firebrand, anarchist! He, the sovereign lord and master of a world which grinds the bodies and souls of human beings into dollars–if he could come into the world this day and see the things that men have made in his name, would it not blast his soul with horror? Would he not go mad at the sight of it, he the Prince of Mercy and Love! That dreadful night when he lay in the Garden of Gethsemane and writhed in agony until he sweat blood–do you think that he saw anything worse than he might see tonight upon the plains of Manchuria, where men march out with a jeweled image of him before them, to do wholesale murder for the benefit of foul monsters of sensuality and cruelty? Do you not know that if he were in St. Petersburg now, he would take the whip with which he drove out the bankers from his temple–“

now i’m starting “the shack.” i guess i’ll finally find out if all the hype is true.

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One Reply to “the jungle”

  1. Awww… we can read The Shack together!
    I read the foreword yesterday, and am taking it with me to Disney World next week!

    Oh- I’m sorry, did I fail to mention I’m spending next week at Disney World (tee-hee)? Where temperatures will be in the mid 70’s to mid 80’s.

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