The Jungle Symbolism

Decent Essays

“The Jungle” by Upton Sinclair explores the effects of capitalism on poor working class people through the eyes of Jurgis and his immigrant family. Jurgis and his family are recent Lithuanian immigrants that found work in Packingtown; the center of Chicago’s meatpacking district. Sinclair carefully illustrates how a system like capitalism exploits the lives of blue collar people while dismantling the American dream as a farce. In chapter one, immigrants see America as “...a place of which lovers and young people dreamed. If one could only manage to get the price of passage, [they] could count [their] troubles at an end”(27). In order of a capitalist country like America to grow, they bank on immigrants to believe that a comfortable life awaits them beyond the sea. Once they arrive at America, their dreams of a better life get exchanged for the gritty impoverished reality. They become cheap and easy labor to aid the rich at getting richer.

The author also compares this to Ona’s (Jurgis’ wife) situation to chattel slavery. Ona is described a modest and pure woman. When is she forced to work with prostitutes for a living, it presents a moral dilemma for Ona who describes the situation as working with “a population, low-class and mostly foreign, hanging always on the verge of starvation, and dependent for its opportunities of life upon the whim of men every bit as brutal and unscrupulous as the old-time slave drivers… and were taken for granted by everybody; only they did

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