Upton Sinclair, the Lithuanian Jungle: Upon the Centenary of the Jungle (1905 and 1906) by Upton Sinclair

By Giedrius Subačius | Go to book overview

THREE
Specific Locations

1. Carey's Dump

As mentioned earlier, Sinclair put great emphasis on the reality of the wedding feast that he had observed. He claimed that he noticed the wedding procession when he was returning from his inspection of Tom Carey's dump. Sinclair presented the scene of the wedding as though it were located somewhere in the vicinity of that dump: “I had been over to inspect Tom Carey's dump … I noticed a crowd in front of a saloon” (Sinclair, 1906b, 1132). The position of the dump, therefore, is germane to the process of locating the saloon where Sinclair had seen the real-life wedding feast.

Thomas Carey was the president of the American Brick Company at the time. In the 1904 Chicago directory he was listed as: “Carey, Thomas pres American brick co 4500 S Robey h 4201 S Western av boul” (1904). So, his brick factory address is given at 4500 South Robey Street (today's Damen Avenue).

But there was more than one city dump there. As Sophonisba P. Breckinridge and Edith Abbott demonstrated, there were four city dumps in the neighborhood in 1909 (Breckinridge, Abbott, 1911, 464–465), five years after Sinclair's visit to Chicago; probably, Sinclair had seen the same number of them as well.

To determine which one of the four could have been called “Carey's dump” by Sinclair in his 1906 article, we have to study his description of the dump's geographical position in his novel (in the 1905 serial Tom Carey was camouflaged under the name Tom Cassidy; in the 1906 edition, his alias was Mike Scully):

It was Cassidy … who owned that dump which Jurgis
and Ona had seen the first day of their arrival. Not only
did he own the dump, but owned the brick-factory as
well; and first he took out the clay and made it into
bricks, and then he had the city bring garbage to fill up
the hole, so that he could build flimsy houses and sell
them. (FE 82; Ch 9)

Jurgis and Ona's first visit to the dump was described quite elaborately in The Jungle:

Later that afternoon he and Ona went out to take a walk
and look about them to see more of this district which

-59-

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Upton Sinclair, the Lithuanian Jungle: Upon the Centenary of the Jungle (1905 and 1906) by Upton Sinclair
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • On the Boundary of Two Worlds - Identity, Freedom, and Moral Imagination in the Baltics 5 ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgements v
  • Table of Contents vii
  • Foreword xi
  • One - Sinclair's Sources and His Choice of Lithuanian Characters 1
  • Two - The Lithuanian Language 17
  • Three - Specific Locations 59
  • Four - Conclusion 83
  • Bibliography 91
  • Abbreviations 95
  • Index 97
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