Friday, 31 December 2010

The Jungle - Uption Sinclair (1906)

You remember the movie The Deerhunter? Particularly, do you remember the beginning of the movie, before they all go to Vietnam and get all messed up? There's an extended wedding scene, set in working-class Clairton and featuring pretty rough and ready working men in slightly formalised surroundings. It's possibly the most famous wedding scene in the movies (excepting, perhaps, the wedding that starts The Godfather), and is my favourite bit of the film. I love the way it flicks back and forwards amongst the wedding guests, the way Michael is restrained from starting a fight with the outsider soldier, the very fact that Steven doesn't mind that his new wife is pregnant by another man. I like them all getting drunk, and dancing and stripping naked - and I like the drop of blood which spills on Angela's wedding dress, unseen.

You might wonder why I'm bringing this up, since I've no intention of talking about the rest of the movie.

It's pretty straight-forward really - I've been reading Upton Sinclair recently and just read the first half of his most famous novel, The Jungle, which starts with a Lithuanian wedding ceremony in 1906, as opposed to a Russian Orthodox one in the seventies. Regardless of the temporal difference, the Sinclair wedding is obviously the same kind of ceremony, belonging to the same category.

And it's equally beautifully done.

I'd kill to be able to write as well as this.

More later about this novel, which was originally published in the States by a Socialist magazine, having been rejected by numerous other more conservative publishers, and which came about as the result of Sinclair working undercover in the Chicago stock-yards.

But for now, it's Hogmanay and I'm off to have a drink or two...

1 comment:

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