Analysis Of Upton Sinclair 's ' The Grapes Of Wrath '

3839 Words Oct 28th, 2014 16 Pages
Contemporary society deems social class a division within a given population defined by wealth, education, and power, but the lines that divide them unceasingly deepen. Social mobility, or the movement of an individual between the stratification of societal classes, remains virtually illusory, an unattainable falsity that millions have laboriously fought for since the turn of the twentieth century. Monopolies and wage slavery remain definite and palpable, both of which contribute to immobility between social rankings, establishing an unbreakable cycle of poverty. The idyllic ethos of the American Dream, a belief that one will achieve success through hard work and opportunity, prove to be a fallacious, hollow and vague ambition that cannot …show more content…
Jurgis, the novels protagonist, brought his young wife and her extended family to America with the hopes of attaining a job and earning an honest living, but these ideals proved to be virtually unattainable, as monopolies dominated Packingtown, Chicago. The labor that the meat packing industry relied on was simple work, unskilled and requiring no prior experience or formal education, resulting in insufficient wages and frequent employee turnover. The class divides between the workers at the bottom of the social chain and the factory owners at the top hinder success, as the greedy upper class deprived the lower of any advantage allowing them to progress, creating a system indistinguishable to slavery. Likewise, an anonymous article defines capitalist slavery as employees who are “dehumanised, treated as a commodity: a faceless entity filling a slot, a hired hand” (Anonymous). Unskilled labor produces negligent management, where workers are seen as replaceable; they are not even human in the eyes of capitalist employers, as the anonymous article states. They are seen as a commodity, or material item that can simply be substituted for others. Similarly, John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath is another literary work that serves as a paradigm demonstrating hindrances of social mobility and equality as a result of unskilled,
Open Document