Critical Analysis of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle Essay

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The Jungle is a novel that focuses on a family of immigrants who came to America looking for a better life. The novel was written by Upton Sinclair, who went into the Chicago stockyards to investigate what life was like for the people who worked there. The book was originally written with the intent of showing Socialism as a better option than Capitalism for the society. However, the details of the story ended up launching a government investigation of the meat packing plants, and ultimately regulation of food products. It gave an informative view of what life was like in America at the time. Important topics like immigration, working conditions and sanitation issues of the time were all addressed well in the novel. …show more content…
As they set out on the voyage to America, they were tricked by an officer into taking his passport, and another officer arresting him and charging him for it. They were also cheated out of their savings when they arrived in New York when an agent forced them to stay in his lodge that was much too expensive for them to afford (18). But when they reached the town, a stockyard called Packingtown where Meat Packing Plants were, it shows just how much advantage was taken of all these immigrants. Real Estate places would build houses out of poor material, then advertise the old houses as brand new for three times the cost it was to build them (69). The houses also had charges on interest, taxes, water and insurance that were not explained up front to the immigrants, who were unable to read and comprehend the deeds they would sign. All the jobs were paid at desperately low wages due to the high number of demand for work, since there were so many people that had immigrated and ended up homeless and poor, and needed a job to survive (83).

The working conditions for these immigrants at the meat packing plants were appalling and displayed how badly in need of a change they were. Workers in the factory that did unskilled labor would be paid only somewhere between a mere fifteen to twenty-five cents an hour. They would have to work from early in the morning until it was dark at night, with only a half hour break for lunch. They had no choice but to accept whatever position
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