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Sinclair's Style and PurposeEdit
Upton Sinclair wrote The Jungle and other works to educate the public and provoke change. Instead of creating manifestos and suggesting propaganda, he wrote novels with stories which served to convey his points. This story-telling style not only made his thoughts about societal issues easier to read, but they also made them appear real. By creating characters with feelings who encounter real life issues, Sinclair was able to communicate with the public in an effective way.
Ultimately, in works like The Jungle, Sinclair made the public’s job easier. The public did not have to digest complicated numbers and facts, or search for the root of the problem. Sinclair’s writing laid the issues out in simple terms.
Modern Day Sinclair - MoviesEdit
Nowadays, one does not need to look far to find Sinclair-like work. Today it exists in many different genres, such as movies, books, and music. Movies are especially effective because they are able to connect with audiences both visually and audibly.
Supersize Me summary:
"Why are Americans so fat? Two words: fast food. What would happen if you ate nothing but fast food for an entire month? Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock does just that and embarks on the most perilous journey of his life. The rules? For 30 days he can't eat or drink anything that isn't on McDonald's menu; he must wolf three squares a day; he must consume everything on the menu at least once and supersize his meal if asked. Spurlock treks across the country interviewing a host of experts on fast food and an equal number of regular folk while chowing down at the Golden Arches. Spurlock's grueling drive-through diet spirals him into a physical and emotional metamorphosis that will make you think twice about picking up another Big Mac." - Sujit R. Varma (IMDB)
Supersize Me uses an average American to personally convey the negative effects that fast food has on people’s lives. Rather than featuring dozens of scientists and health experts, the movie is filmed as if a regular guy is simply conducting a personal/social experiment in his free time, which in itself adopts Sinclair’s method of using a person or family to represent people as a whole.
Though Supersize Me is very relatable, it cannot escape the use of qualified scientists' opinions as well as statistics to further Morgan's month long experiment. In modern times, the public needs sufficient evidence to prove the story they are seein. Sinclair was able to use the information he gather to construct a fictional, yet realistic, story that appealed to the working class throughout America. Sinclair effectively shined the spotlight on flaws in American society without the need for credible pieces of evidence (though the audience he was appealing to during his time was much different the modern day audiene of movies like Supersize Me).
Movies can also create awareness for social injustice unexpectedly. For example, the 2012 hit film The Dark Knight rises seems like an everyday superhero film at first, but can actually be quite a thought-provoking film. In short, the movie revolves around the conflict between the untouchable upperclass and the virtually immobile lower class.
In today's day and age, movies can serve as powerful reenactments or potential scenarios. It's almost like Sinclair2.0. Imagine if The Jungle had been a multi-million dollar, big screen movie. Now, instead of The Jungle, movies like Supersize Me and Farenheit 9/11 allow our imagination to rest by providing our eyes and ears with bluray visuals and surround sound.
By: Joseph North