Upton Sinclair's Purpose in Writing The Jungle Essay

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Upton Sinclair's Purpose in Writing The Jungle

Upton Sinclair wrote this book for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, he tries to awaken the reader to the terrible living conditions of immigrants in the cities around the turn of the century. Chicago has the most potent examples of these conditions. Secondly, he attempts to show the advantages of socialism in helping to remedy the problems of a society such as the one that exists in Chicago at this time.

Sinclair accomplishes his objectives with an extremely powerful story. Jurgis Rudkus and his family seem to be an average immigrant family of the period. They are not wealthy and they are easily fooled by schemes designed to take what little they have. The
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This leads to very dangerous working conditions. As Jurgis finds out, even the slightest accident can lead to the loss of a job. After his recovery from a sprained ankle, Jurgis must join the thousands in the streets looking for work. The way that the family must live leads to the death of several of the family members. Among these are Jurgis' father, Dede Antanas; his wife, Ona; and his son, little Antanas. After these tragedies, Jurgis leaves Chicago for a time, and 'hobos it' in the country. In doing this, he finds a way of life that is similar to the one which he left in
Lithuania. In the winter, however, Jurgis must return to the city. Upon his return, he sees the other side of the coin. He becomes involved in crime, graft, and vote buying. He is now the man who goes around registering new immigrants to vote, and pays them money for it. Jurgis finds that there is a comfortable living to be made doing this. However, he is still confronted with the problem of fleeting success.

During this period, much racial unrest in present in the country. People do not like immigrants, because they take the jobs and they drink too much. Sinclair addresses both of these gripes in his book. The 'speeding-up' is the reason that the jobs go to immigrants, who are willing to work for anything. The living conditions are the reason for the excessive drinking, according to Sinclair. Jurgis most stay out of the cold of
winter
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