The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

1400 WordsApr 23, 20196 Pages
What are the major issues Sinclair addresses in The Jungle? The Jungle by Upton Sinclair is a vivid account of life for the working class in the early 1900s. Jurgis Rudkus and his family travel to the United States in search of the American dream and an escape from the rigid social structure of Lithuania. Instead, they find a myriad of new difficulties. Sinclair attributes their problems to the downfalls of capitalism in the United States. While America’s system was idealistic for Jurgis and his family at first, the mood of the story quickly transforms to assert that capitalism is evil. This theme drives the author’s message and relay of major issues throughout the entirety of the novel. The idea of capitalism and social Darwinism is to…show more content…
It is an obvious safety hazard at the fault of the company, yet, he does not receive compensation. He is forced to beg for his job back. Marija loses her job drawing advertisements at a canning company when she joins a union. Ona’s boss, Phil Connor, harasses her. When Jurgis learns of the assault, he attacks the man and goes to jail. “They put him in a place where the snow could not beat in, where the cold could not eat through his bones; they brought him food and drink—why, in the name of heaven, if they must punish him, did they not put his family in jail and leave him outside—why could they find no better way to punish him than to leave three weak women and six helpless children to starve and freeze?” (Sinclair, 184-185). This quote shockingly illustrates that the prison is actually an environment far preferable to the cruel, filthy world of Packingtown. Sinclair’s famous descriptions of the repugnant meatpacking plants is meant to enhance the plea for better physical conditions. There are endless examples where Sinclair addresses the lack of rights for the working class. He suggests socialism as a possible remedy where the social classes would be even, but stresses the necessity of labor unions to maintain wages, workers’ compensation claims, and a safe and healthy work environment free from exploitation. Women were portrayed as even lower on the social scale. As previously mentioned, Ona was sexually assaulted by her boss. She was victimized

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