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The American Dream In Upton Sinclair's The Jungle

Decent Essays
Most citizens today work on the basis of the American Dream, their hopes replaying in their minds every day as they work to get themselves at the top of the chain in the land of opportunity. The minds of the laborers filled with hope that one day everything will be better and the fruit of their labor will soon bloom to light. But, Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle paints a more grim reality of hard work and the dream that Jurgis and his family held so dear to his heart. The corruption of the American Dream conveys the delusion of a reward for the hard work and suffering of the laborers in Packingtown instead showing it as an illusion created by capitalism. Ona’s working conditions under Mrs. Henderson manifested not only as a result of most of the girls in her department getting their jobs from personal connections with Mrs. Henderson, but because her forelady doesn’t like her and can choose to make her life absolutely miserable much to her dismay. The conditions of her work and attitude reveal the reward she has gotten from working so hard: wages barely enough to put even a little food on the table and little to no progress in the “American Dream” that she and her family believe in so much. Sinclair wrote this passage in order to show the lack of work even for decent young women such as Ona. Prostitutes were able to get her job easier than her with little to no work ethic purely from personal connections. Also, because of her boss’s opinions, she is made miserable and is working
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