The Jungle: Critical Analysis
The Jungle is a novel that focuses its story on a family of immigrants who came to America looking for a better life. It was written by muckraking journalist Upton Sinclair, who went into Chicago and the stockyards to investigate what life was like for the people who lived and worked there. The book was originally written with the intent of showing Socialism as a better option than Capitalism for the society. However, the details of the story ended up launching a government investigation of the meat packing plants, and ultimately regulation of food products. It gave an informative view of what life was like in America at the time, and some of the parts of it that were not talked about. Important topics like immigration, working conditions and sanitation issues of the time were all addressed well in the novel.
Immigration was one of the heavy themes in the novel, including where immigrants came from and why they came to America, and how they were treated once they got here. The story is about a man from Lithuania, Jurgis Rudkus, who takes his family to America in hopes of attaining the American Dream. A family he knows has lost all their money to creditors in Lithuania and now have nowhere to live, but a member of the family, Jonas, talks about how a friend he knows who immigrated to America and had great success. The majority of the immigrants who came to America at this period, during the Industrial Revolution, were mainly "Lithuanians, Poles, Slovaks, or Bohemians" (28). Before them it was the Irish, and then before them the immigrants mostly coming to America were German (70). The reason that Jurgis decided that he would go to America is because of all the great things he had heard about it, about the ideal of being free. He had heard "In that country, rich or poor, a man was free, it was said; he did not have to go into the army, he did not have to pay out his money to rascally officialshe might do as he pleased, and count himself as good as any other man" (23). This is what many immigrants believe in, and they wanted to come to the country in hopes of finding the American Dream, where they could work hard and make their way to the top of the ladder, where they would live freely in success.
However, the reality of what America was like was very harsh to most of the immigrants that flocked to it during the Industrial Revolution. For Jurgis and the eleven others he brought with on the voyage, they found that immigrants were often exploited in every way possible because they lacked knowledge of the country and the language. As they set out on the voyage to America, they were tricked by an officer into taking his passport, and another officer arresting him and charging him for it. They were also cheated out of their savings when they arrived in New York when an agent forced them to stay in his lodge that was much too expensive for them to afford (18). But when they reached the town, a stockyard called Packingtown where Meat Packing Plants were, it shows just how much advantage was taken of all these immigrants. Real Estate places would build houses out of poor material, then advertise the old houses as brand new for three times the cost it was to build them (69). The houses also had charges on interest, taxes, water and insurance that were not explained up front to the immigrants, who were unable to read and comprehend the deeds they would sign. All the jobs were paid at desperately low wages due to the high number of demand for work, since there were so many people that had immigrated and ended up homeless and poor, and needed a job to survive (83).
The working conditions for these immigrants at the meat packing plants were appalling and displayed how badly in need of a change they were. Workers in the factory that did unskilled labor would be paid only somewhere between a mere fifteen to twenty-five cents an hour. They would have to work from early in the morning...
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair is a powerful piece of classical literature. Indeed, it is arguably Sinclair's most famous of all prior and latter works of art due to the simple fact it had such an impact on the meatpacking industry. Oddly enough, Sinclair didn't achieve his underlying goal in stressing the importance of a socialistic society, but rather society focused on the atrocities of the how their food was being prepared in factories.
The Jungle is a fictional novel, set in the early 20th century in Chicago. Immigrants from Northern Europe looking to live the American dream make the bold move after hearing word of friends striking it rich. The family quickly finds work, with the men in the household eventually getting work from the local stockyard. The protagonist Jurgis is immediately overjoyed to have a job, denies to join a union because he is all but ecstatic with the poor working conditions, and believes he is making a good living for his family.
The Jungle couldn't be a better title for this book, as the immigrant family is eaten alive by conmen, politicians, dirty employers, lawyers, and shoddy living conditions. Jurgis slowly but surely realizes America isn't what he thought it was after being conned more often than not, and seeing his family suffer. Jurgis eventually educates himself on politics and English and tries to make...
4 February 2015
“There is no ‘I’ in team.” Many of us have heard this saying before whether it is in the sports world, in school, at work, or maybe even at home. The lesson taught is to show teamwork and care for the benefit of one’s teammates. Ideally this lesson will work out, though in Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle the saying is proved to false. Taking place in a capitalist society, the novel depicts the polar treatment of individuals during this time. The wealthy few would benefit from the hard and dangerous work of the poor many; while the wealthy would also suppress the working conditions and the multitude of the poor themselves. Jurgis represents the working class of America at the time, and his many jobs and difficulties represent Capitalism’s negative impact of the many of the United States. Capitalism is almost equivalent to death for Jurgis. Not only do many relationships and family members themselves die from the effects of Capitalism, but Jurgis himself “dies” in the sense that all his values and his former self are gone. Capitalism presents many difficulties for Jurgis and his family, many of which are so powerful that they cause Jurgis to change into a completely different individual; while also causing everyone in society to change along by the same cause. “Men are not essentially evil, but within capitalism immoral behavior is systematically rewarded” (Wiener 65)
Throughout the course of the...
Like so many works now considered to be classics, upon its release, Upton Sinclair's The Jungle was received with much criticism. Journalists consistently attacked the work’s style, gruesome images, and lack of the sturdy elements of typical literature. One essay states that The Jungle was considered “propaganda or muckraking--no more and no less” (Wosowski), the author also adding that the “form of the novel was to promote [Sinclair’s] political agenda at the loss of his art” (Wosowski). Yet, The Jungle still seemed to manage to scourge itself into the interests of society. Even initially, it was an “extraordinary success--it became an international bestseller within weeks” (Sinclair xxxiii). Why, despite its many synthetic flaws, was this book so widely and powerfully received, and why does it continue to be read and enjoyed as a classic work? Perhaps it is important to note that these synthetic flaws fade when put into context of the reasons Sinclair had for writing this book. This work may have survived as a classic because of the author’s success in weaving the elements together--and even bypassing them to an extent--in order to allow the audience to focus on a theme that would shock and move it into action.
As with many of the elements in this work, the plot is confusing and shallow, following the decline of an immigrant family who has been sucked into the wheels of the great machine, the packing industry....
...The Jungle by Upton Sinclair gives an in depth look at the lives of immigrant workers here in America and the quality of the meat consumed by Americans. Quality so poor that the Pure Food and Drug Act was created as a result. The audience tend to focus purely on the unsanitary conditions instead of the real problem. The true problem is the hardships faced by the workers and their families who depend on meat industry to keep them alive. It almost seems as if Sinclair doesn’t want the focus on the meatpacking, but on overcoming hardship, especially through Socialism. Sinclair as a person was extremely outspoken when referring to the subject of Socialism. Sinclair really wrote The Jungle for the promotion of his political position, as he himself was a socialist.
What really caught the attention of the public were the few pages of horrendous descriptions about the quality of the meat-packing industry. People were forced to work from before sunrise to after sunset. In the meat preserving plants, the floors were
never dry. The workers would catch horrible foot diseases, causing them to suffer loss of toes and even entire legs. The butchers would be forced to move at a blinding pace, often cutting
themselves and others. They would still have to work though, or lose their job. Often, the wounds would become infected, and butchers would die of blood poisoning. These are all examples of how the conditions were just flat-out horrible, and...
...The Jungle by: Upton Sinclair
In the book “The Jungle” by Upton Sinclair the author gives a critique of the early twentieth century labor practices in the growing cities of the United States. It gives people an opportunity to see all the factors that were going on not only in the meatpacking industry, but also the way working people lived and all the challenges that they had to overcome to just be able to survive. It also shows how the working conditions are in the city of Chicago. It shows how workers did their tasks in unsanitary conditions. The book would say that they would be working and rats would be passing by and because they were so tired they did not care anymore.
* "And, for this, at the end of the week, he will carry home three dollars to his family, being his pay at the rate of five cents per hour-just about his proper share of the million and three quarters of children who are now engaged in earning their livings in the United States." I found this quote to be interesting because even though Jurgis works for whole family. Life in the United States is very difficult.
* “They had dreamed of freedom; of a chance to look about them and learn something; to be decent and clean, to see their child group up to be strong. And now it was all gone-it would never be!” This shows how life in America turns out nothing like they expected.
The observation that I made about the author’s style in the first half of the book is that...
...1900s hundreds of thousands of European immigrants migrated to the United States of America. The book The Jungle written by Upton Sinclair focuses on the meat packing industry and the hardships and obstacles the immigrants faced. This book had an amazing impact as it publicly exposed the realization of the horrendous work and unsanitary conditions in the meat packing industry that lead to the passage of the Pure Food and Drug act of 1906. The Pure Food and Drug Act of June 30, 1906 is a United States Federal Law that provided federal inspection of meat products and forbade the manufacture, sale, or transportation of adulterated food products and poisonous patent medicines. The 1906 Act paved the way for the eventual creation of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is generally considered to be that agency's founding date.
The Jungle was first published in a serial form because publishers told Sinclair that his novel was too shocking. Eventually he found a publisher and in 1906, The Jungle was published. It became an instant best-seller; Sinclair’s book The Jungle exposed the realization of the conditions of Chicago’s meat packing industry. The book told how bribed inspectors allowed diseased cows to be slaughtered and made into beef. There were also accounts of workers falling into rendering tanks and being ground along with animal parts. In Sinclair’s novel The Jungle hey says, “This is no...
Focus on sustainability has appeared on the face of the earth over the last ten years and a lot of books and articles are published on the topic of sustainability. Early on, John Elkington developed and promoted the concept of “Triple Bottom Line” in his book Cannibals with Forks: The Triple Bottom Line of 21st Century Business which was published in late 1999 (Creating a Sustainable Organization: Approaches for Enhancing Corporate value through Sustainability By Peter A. Soyka, Pg. 1) The concept of sustainability is transformed to cover three basic components known as the Triple Bottom Line which are complexly linked to one another: profits-it is the economical part that balances financial growth with awareness and concern for the social good and environmental stewardship; planet-it is the environmental part that safeguards and preserves the natural qualities of our ecosystem for the benefit and health of future generations; people-it is the social equity part that safeguards the benefits of opportunity and equality for every individual. The growing importance of sustainable development establishes a significant and developing challenge for environmental economics and natural resources. This challenge is such big that if it is not measured and controlled then it will ruin the life of the future generations that’s the reason why every field now a days strive to work hard to have Sustainable Value Creation (SVC). The question arises what is...
...Rhetorical Analysis of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle
The Jungle, being a persuasive novel in nature, is filled with different rhetorical devices or tools used by Sinclair to effectively convey his message. Sinclair’s goal of encouraging change in America’s economic structure is not an easy feat and Sinclair uses a number of different rhetorical devices to aid him. Through his intense tone, use of periodic sentencing, descriptive diction and other tools of rhetoric, Upton Sinclair constructs a moving novel that makes his message, and the reasoning behind it, clear.
Sinclair’s use of periodic sentences allows him to cram details and supporting evidence into his sentence before revealing his interpretation of the evidence. Take for example, “Here was 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; under such circumstances immorality was exactly as inevitable, and as prevalent, as it was under the system of chattel slavery.” (Sinclair 88). By formatting his idea that low-class, working immigrants in America live in circumstances easily comparable to slavery into a periodic sentence, Sinclair is able to give supporting detail after supporting detail as to why this is true while saving his conclusion for the end. This allows the reader to go through the natural...