Essay about The Jungle

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The Jungle

"The Jungle" portrays the lower ranks of the industrial world as the scene of a naked struggle for survival. Where workers not only are forced to compete with each other but, if they falter, are hard pressed to keep starvation from their door and a roof over their heads. With unions weak and cheap labor plentiful, a social Darwinist state of "the survival of the fittest" exists. The real story revolves around the integration and eventual disintegration of Jurgis Rudkis and his family, Lithuanian immigrants who move to the Chicago stockyards in hopes of a better life. Unfortunately, their hopes quickly disintegrate; like thousands of other unskilled immigrants at the turn of the century, financial necessity forces them into
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While a man was laid up his family could starve or freeze to death, and after a series of such injuries, if he survived, he would be too crippled to go on doing the work. When Jurgis is healthy and overflowing with life, he gets a job immediately. When he becomes an empty husk of his former self he is reduced to beggary. Even among beggars he finds a jungle of savage competition, in which the truly needy are often at a disadvantage.

"And each of them had an individuality of his own, a will of his own, a hope and a heart’s desire; each was full of self-confidence, of self-importance, and a sense of dignity. (Pg. 35) Here is another part of the story that shows the relationship between the animals and the people of packing town. Immigrants with peasant backgrounds, and even migrants from America’s own rural regions, are especially ill equipped to survive the urban jungle because of their stubborn individualism. Jurgis relies on his own strong back to carry his family, to cope with inhuman work, but he simply becomes a screw in the industrial machine, to be discarded as soon as he shows the signs of being broken. Jurgis and his family are desperate to own something, to be on their own, to make them feel more apart of their new country. To try to make their American dreams come true.

"And trusting and strong in faith he had gone about his business, the while a black shadow hung over him and a horrid fate waited in his pathway." (Pg. 35) Jurgis and his

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