Can you imagine being an immigrant to this country, being ignorant to the corrupt ways of the new land you now call your home, and being taken advantage of by people who do not think twice before letting you and your family starve and die? Sounds like a rough situation to be in. This is the exact situation for many immigrants coming over to America in the 19th century. In the book The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair, the Protagonists, a Lithuanian family, come to America to live the dream, but soon find that the dream does not truly exist and standing in its place is a nightmare of hardship and sorrow.
The novel starts off at a wedding for Jurgis and Ona. They follow the traditions of their culture and collect some money to help pay for the ceremony. At this wedding, the reader is introduced to Marja, Ona’s cousin. After the wedding is over, members of the family are trying to find work. The members of the family that find work are Jurgis, Marja, Teta Elzbieta (Ona’s step-mother), and Jonas (Teta Elzbieta’s brother). They must be careful about going to work on time because if they do not show up, they are fired. Sinclair then goes to the background of the family, and introducing characters such as Dede Antanas (Jurgis’s father), Stanislovas Lukoszas (Teta Elzbieta’s eldest son), and Vilimas and Nikalojus (Teta Elzbieta’s other two sons).
When the family gets to America, they move into Packingtown: a filthy, overcrowded city, which is filled with poor immigrants. They decide to buy a house that seems to be a good value and in good shape. When they move in, the family finds that it is in very poor condition. Also they find that it is a rental until the price is paid off. As the family continues to work to pay off the debt, most of them find that they hate their jobs and bosses. However, Jurgis remains optimistic and does not mind his job. As the family continues to work and live in Packington, they more and more of the deep corruption and unhealthy/unsafe working conditions. These events lead me to make the prediction of the conditions continuing to get much much worse.
The family meets their neighbor, Grandmother Majauszkiene, and she explains that almost nobody can pay off the houses in the neighborhood and that she did just barely could manage it. Also, she informs the family of the poor building quality of the homes. In response to the alarm about the house and payments, Ona gets a job sewing covers on hams. The conditions of Packingtown continue to get worse and worse when winter hits. Though all the negativity and illness is getting to everyone, some joy comes when Tamoszius begins to “court” Marja. They become engaged and plan to renovate the attic of the house for their room.
Unfortunately, Ona loses her job and it is decided that every wage earner in the family will join the union. Jurgis begins to learn English and even becomes a US citizen. He then gets sucked into what is called vote-buying by listening to a man and getting paid for...