The Jungle is the story of a man named Jurgis Rudkus and his family, who is forced to face hardship and hardship working in meatpacking plants as they limp towards the “American dream”; a dream that was quickly crushed after their immigration from Lithuania to Chicago. An author who knows hardship all too well wrote the book: Upton Beall Sinclair. Sinclair was born in 1878 in Baltimore, Maryland into an extremely impoverished family who struggled with the impact of the civil war. Sinclair’s family was moved to New York when he was ten years old. His alcoholic father, whom ironically happened to be a liquor salesman, made the decision. One very good thing came out of Sinclair’s troubling childhood: his intelligence and passion. He began writing
Not only did the family stumble upon difficulties in their workplaces, but in basic living conditions as well. Jurgis and his family witnessed such atrocities, as baby Antanas tragically drowning in the unpaved roads, devastating financial loss through misinformation concerning the purchase and custody of their house, and unsanitary meat packed and sold for regular consumption.
Poverty also has detrimental effects on families. Poor children possess a greater risk for iron deficiency, stunted growth, and asthma. “For parents struggling to raise a child, poverty adds extensive stress to the family” (Driscoll). As a result of constantly working, Jurgis rarely spends time with his son, Antanas. However, when he suffers an injury he finally gets this opportunity, “So Jurgis would begin to forget and be happy, because he was in a world where there was a thing so beautiful as the smile of little Antanas” (Sinclair 134-135). While the family remains intact, they do not remain that way for very long. Jonas leaves the family before long, and eventually Jurgis leaves the family as well. “‘No’, she answered, ‘I don’t blame you. We never have--any of us. You did your best--the job was too much for us’” (Sinclair 332). Marija clearly gave up hope for their family long ago.
“Ona’s heart sank for the house was not as it was shown in the picture; the color scheme was different, for one thing and then it did not seem quite as big”(p.35). Jurgis and his family purchased a house thinking it was going to be big and brand new, but turns out it was an old small house that someone has already lived in it. Jurgis’ family also had to work, including the women and children, just so they can pay the rent. The main issue was that the working conditions were terrible for their family. For example, the children would sometimes have to walk around in the cold snow just to sell newspapers and the women would sometimes have their entire factories shut down and lose their jobs. The factories closing did not only affect Jurgis’ family, but also every other worker who worked for that factory.
“The Jungle” truly is a touching story that depicts just how bad being an immigrant in America was. They often worked in worse conditions than anybody else while those in charge lived comfortably. The book also shows how hopeful some wear and how strictly they believed in the so-called American dream. Jurgis was a strong spirited man, which often helped his family. Ona, seeing her husband work as hard as he did, trusted his feelings that they would soon make it out of the hole they were stuck
Written at the turn of the 20th century, Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle took place in an era of unprecedented advancement in civilization where the American economy had risen to become one of the wealthiest on the planet. However, Sinclair asserts that the rise of capitalist America resulted in the virulent corruption and competition that plighted society into an untamed “jungle.” Shown by the corruption of the Chicago meatpacking industry, Sinclair highlights the repulsive filth of human greed that was created as a byproduct of the economic boom. The effects of industrialism and the rise of untamed capitalism is what raped the superfluity of workers, like Jurgis Rudkus, of the opportunity to uncover prosperity in America. Not only does The Jungle capture the brutality and acceleration of corrupt capitalism and ruthless Darwinism during the Progressive Era, it also prompts resistance and displacement of the existing political system in favor of a socialist revolution. Through the novel, Sinclair demonstrates how the deterioration of the American Dream was exacerbated by the capitalist greed and corruption that eventually drove Jurgis and his family into mental degeneration and despair.
During the 1900s many immigrants were coming to the United States for a better life. Companies would hire immigrants from all over to work in their so called meatpacking industry which had unsanitary conditions. The Jungle written by Upton Sinclair which aimed at the meatpacking industry through the use of socialism. Upton advocated socialism more than capitalism which was used in the book. After the book was written an act was passed known as the Meat Inspection of 1906 which prohibited of misbranding meat products and better conditions for workers.
Critics often argue that Upton Sinclair, author of many classic American novels including The Jungle, was cynical and bitter even. However if one were to dig just a bit deeper they may realize that Sinclair was spot on in his idea that this “American dream” that our country sells is actually a work of fiction.
The Jungle is a book that was written in 1906, in the middle of the Progressive Era. It was written by Upton Sinclair for the purpose to try to awaken the reader to the terrible living conditions of immigrants in the cities. This novel specifies in every little detail about the living conditions and the working conditions of the immigrants. In this book, Sinclair indirectly articulates what the American Dream was and what it meant for all the immigrants, with a purpose to reach people’s hearts, but instead it led them to worry about their own health.
In his work, The Jungle, Upton Sinclair depicts the brutal story of a migrant Lithuanian family and their new life in America. The novel brings to life the harsh reality that Jurgis Rudkus and his family faced everyday in the Chicago Stockyards, known as Packingtown. Their preconceived dreams of America were slowly crushed by their daily struggle to make a life for themselves and to simply survive. As the story is unfolded, it becomes clear how the family and others were trapped in a greedy and unforgiving system. They poured themselves into working under the most horrendous conditions only to make a few pennies an hour and fall victims to the evil schemes of business owners and city officials. Eventually the story turns to what I believe
In order to discuss these issues as they are pertinent to this story, a general summary of the story must first be given. The story revolves around the life and family of Jurgis Rudkus, a Lithuanian immigrant who comes to America with his wife Ona, their children, and a few members of their extended family. They have heard the stories of other Lithuanian immigrants coming to America and making a fortune in the free economic system of America. They are bright-eyed looking ahead into their futures. They are moved into a section of Chicago known as Packingtown, a slum full of run-down housing and large
As the story goes on Ona and her baby Antanas both die. Ona during child birth and Antanas will drowned in front of the house. Jurgis will then move out of the city to the suburbs leave all of his family behind. Later returning to Chicago and getting himself into a lot of trouble with the law. After some time of being in and out of jail Jurgis finally gets a job working at a hotel. He will become back in touch with his family that he left and begin to support them on what he makes by working at the hotel.
Upton Sinclair showcases the evils of capitalism and wanted people in the United States to reject it. Through his book, he depicted how capitalism destroys the lives of innocent workers. He wanted radical change and adoption of socialism where the government owns the means of production and controls large enterprises. Instead, most people who read his book were outraged by the filthy conditions in the slaughterhouses. Public outcry and media frenzy focused on the meat safety and not the labor rights and evils of capitalism. His book eventually led to the Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act of 1906 (686). Although he was disappointed that he could not bring about an improvement in the lives of meatpacking workers, he did help
Jurgis' family continues to suffer despite the fact that they have purchased a house. However this is just another con of a sleazy person trying to make a living. The house is cheap and poorly built and is actually being rented until all of it is paid for, allowing the tenant to evict the family for just one late payment. Jurgis, still clinging to the thought of the American Dream, takes a hard hit when he learns that his wife has been forced to prostitution by her