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The Jungle

The Jungle

by Upton Sinclair

Analysis: Allusions

When authors refer to other great works, people, and events, it’s usually not accidental. Put on your super-sleuth hat and figure out why.

Literary and Philosophical References

  • "Stay, thou are fair!," Faust, Goethe (1.29)
  • Thomas Malthus, political economist (5.11)
  • Matthew Arnold, "Modern Sappho" [Matthew Arnold's original text reads: "But deeper their voice grows, and nobler their bearing,/Whose youth in the fires of anguish hath died." Sinclair misquotes: "Deeper their heart grows and nobler their bearing..."] (7.8)
  • Oliver Wendell Holmes, "Deacon's Masterpiece, or Wonderful One-Hoss Shay" [a comic poem on the sudden collapse of a wagon after a hundred years of reliable service] (7.9)
  • Dante Alighieri, hugely famous Italian early modern poet; works include Inferno, an epic poem on the torments of Hell – see our Inferno Learning Guide to find out more about this reference (9.8; 13.4)
  • Émile Zola, French naturalist author and critic of social ills (9.8)
  • Oscar Wilde, "The Ballad of Reading Gaol" (16.24-5)
  • John Howard Payne, "Home Sweet Home" (24.34)
  • Leo Tolstoy, Russian novelist (29.3)
  • Voltaire, "Écrasez l'infâme!" (This line is a misquotation of a phrase by French eighteenth-century writer Voltaire. His letters often repeat, "Écrasons l'infâme": "Let us crush the infamous ones." In other words, let us crush those who are evil and do terrible things.) (30.17)
  • Henry Demarest Lloyd, Wealth Against Commonwealth (1894) (misquoted in The Jungle as Wealth Versus Commonwealth) (30.21)
  • Appeal to Reason, Progressive newspaper in which The Jungle first appeared; also mentioned by name in the plot of the book (30.30-2)
  • Lord Byron, "Mazeppa" (31.11)
  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German philosopher and writer (31.37)
  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman, American author and progressive reformer (31.40)
  • Peter Kropotkin, Fields, Factories, and Workshops: or, Industry Combined with Agriculture and Brain Work with Manual Work (1898) (31.40)

Historical References

  • Admiral George Dewey (Chapter 24)
  • Lexington and Valley Forge, American Revolutionary War battles (26.28)
  • The Russo-Japanese War, 1904-5 (It is this conflict to which the socialist speaker is referring when he mentions two powers battling in Manchuria.) (28.50-51)
  • "La Marseillaise," a song of the French Revolution and the current national anthem of France. (This song was also used in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as "The Workers' Marseillaise," supporting the cause of a Labor uprising against capitalist exploitation.) (29.1)
  • Otto von Bismarck, German statesman and leader in the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1) (29.26)
  • The Greenbackers, post-Civil War political party supporting the circulation of paper money. (30.18)
  • The Populist Party, American political party arising in the late nineteenth century in response to economic depressions and mass unemployment. The Populists were a left-wing third party movement that essentially fell apart after the presidential election of 1896. (30.18)
  • The Bryanites, supporters of newspaper magnate and populist William Jennings Bryan. Bryan ran for president as a Democrat and Populist in 1896. (30.18)
  • Grand Army of the Republic, an association for Union Army veterans after the Civil War (referred to in the novel as "G.A.R.")(30.18)
  • The Grangers, an organized collective of farm families established after the Civil War (30.18)
  • The Farmers' Alliance, a grassroots farmers' movement among rural (white) southerners (30.18)

Pop Culture References

  • Antanas Vienazindis, Lithuanian poet and folk song writer (author of the anonymous song Marija Berczynskas sings at Ona and Jurgis's wedding feast) (1.18)
  • "There's A Time Each Year (In the Good Old Summertime)," Ren Shields (1902; popular song) (1.37)
  • Prometheus, Greek Titan who brought fire to mankind and then was horribly punished for it by Zeus (11.18)
  • "The Sailor's Farewell," folk song (24.17)
  • Diana, Greek goddess of the Hunt (24.50)
  • Louis Quinze, the second-to-last French king, Louis XV (also of a particular style of antique French chair) (24.65)
  • Louis Seize, the last French king, Louis XVI (and another French chair) (24.65)
  • Marie Antoinette, the last French queen (and also yet another decorating style) (24.65)
  • Jacob Isaakszoon van Ruysdael, Dutch landscape painter (24. 65)
  • Benvenuto Cellini, Italian sculptor (24. 65)
  • Antinous, Roman lover of the Emperor Hadrian and famous as a symbol of young male beauty (24.92)
  • The Standard Oil Company, the subject of Ida Tarbell's 1904 muckraking exposé The History of the Standard Oil Company (30.21)
  • Galileo Galilei, Italian astronomer persecuted by the Catholic Church for showing that the Earth revolves around the sun (31.14)

Biblical References

  • The Book of Job (31.15)
  • "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth," Matthew 6:19 (31.16)
  • "Sell that ye have, and give alms," Luke 12:33 (31.16)
  • "Blessed are ye poor, for yours is the kingdom of Heaven," Luke 6:20 (31.16)
  • "But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation," Luke 6:24 (31.16)
  • "Verily, I say unto you, that a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven," Matthew 19:23 (31.16)
  • "But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!" Matthew 23:13 (31.16)
  • "Woe unto you also, ye lawyers!" Luke 11:46 (31.16)
  • "Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?" Matthew 23:33 (31.16)
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