Close to the Edge: Analysis of Upton Sinclair's 'The Jungle'
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Close To The Edge
The title of Upton Sinclair's genre defining novel regarding the ills of immigration to the United States and the meat packing industry in the early 20th century, The Jungle, is anything but euphemistic. In the Chicago streets and suburbs that Sinclair depicts, there are a variety of predators (such as that exist in virtually any jungle). There are corrupt justice systems that prey on victims, corrupt employers that wantonly exploit their laborers (and even sexually assault them), and woefully inept conditions for working and living that are all extremely hazardous and conducive to taking lives not supporting them. Most jungles in conventional settings such as in tropical conditions or in wastelands heavily populated with forestation and creatures of prey like carnivores, function exactly the same way. To that end, a parallel exists between the events of the plot in Sinclair's novel, and their overarching significance that is manifested in the themes of this work, and the predator mentality and noxious conditions of a true jungle. With blissfully unaware immigrants providing the fodder for rapacious capitalists and the unsanitary living and working conditions typifying the dangerous environment of a conventional jungle, Sinclair is able to replicate the inherent dangers of the latter environment in a concrete equivalent.
One of the central notions that The Jungle is based upon is the overall state and vulnerability of the immigrants who had come to