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Upton Sinclair

My cause is the Cause of a man who has never yet been defeated, and whose whole being is one all devouring, God-given holy purpose, declared Upton Beall Sinclair. This man is not only an American novelist, essayist, journalist, but also deeply involved in politics. He has accomplished so many things throughout his life span, it is tough to compare him to anyone else. Until Sinclair was in his later life, he was an unknown failure to many, but then for forty years after that, he was Americas most important writer. Sinclair was born in Baltimore on the 20th of September in 1878.

He was born in near poverty conditions to his dysfunctional family consisting of his father who drank himself to death, and his mother a southern aristocrat. He taught himself to read and write by the time he was five years old. By the time he was 14, he had already graduated the City College of New York. He furthered his education by becoming a special student at Columbia University. He was supporting himself and paying his own way through his education by writing and selling book. While at Columbia University he was inspired by another student to write even more novels.

He started writing weekly novels consisting of more than 30,000 words and selling them as half-dime novels. With the frustration of trying to make it on such little profit, he left Columbia University. Once Sinclair left, he started his first real novel entitled Springtime and Harvest. Publishers did not see his point to the novel, so they figured no one else would and with much disappointment, turned down the novel. In order to succeed, one must fail at least once was often a quote used by Sinclair. He followed this quote often due to the next couple of novels he wrote.

Within the two years, he wrote four long novels, and all were reviewed negatively and very few had sales. 1906 was Sinclairs lucky year. In years earlier, he would often fight for free speech and write about politics, but he decided to try a new approach this year. Sinclair is most famous for the novel he wrote this year entitled The Jungle. As for the rejection, six publishers turned him down on the book at first, so Sinclair decided to publish the book himself. One publisher wrote I advise without hesitation and unreservedly against the publications of this book which s gloom and horror unrelieved.

One feels that what is at the bottom of his fierceness is not nearly so much desire to help the poor as hatred of the rich. To prove this publisher wrong, Sinclair advertised for his book, and received orders for 972 copies of The Jungle. Within in the next couple of years, more than 150,000 copies were sold, and the book was printed in seventeen different languages and was a best seller all over the world. During this period of time, the President of the United States was Theodore Roosevelt. He read The Jungle, and mmediately following he declared an investigation of the meat-packing industry.

Although Roosevelt was not happy with such a book, he was not happy at what he saw in the industries he investigated. The impact of this book, had the same impact as Harriet Beecher Stowes book called Uncle Toms Cabin. With the profit made from The Jungle, Sinclair decided to build the Helicon Hall. This was a utopian community that contained all of the virtues he believed in for socialism. On November 1, 1906 this building was opened. Over $30,000 was invested in this utopia. Journalists remarked that the

Helicon Hall was only built for a free love nest just to have mistresses available, but truly it was a communal living hall for families upholding high moral standards. Sinclairs greatest hero was that of Jesus Christ, so to have such stereotypes journalists should rethink what they might have said. Not even a year later, on March 7, 1907, Sinclair awoke to the smell of smoke and cries of fire. He made his way outside, half burned, and looked back upon his dream as it went disappeared. The beautiful utopia was flaming and roaring, until it crashed in and died away to a dull low Sinclair recalled.

Some say that the Helicon Hall was only built to burn down for insurance collecting, but actually insurance only paid for about two-thirds of the damage and Sinclair ended up paying for the other damage. The profit he made on The Jungle was now lost. Years would go by, and Sinclair would continue writing novels, poems, and pretty much everything. He was known as a Renaissance man because he wrote in nearly every form. Sinclair died on the 25 of November in the year 1968. By the time Sinclair died, he was again virtually unknown.

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