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The Horrific Illustrations Of Capitalism In The Jungle, By Upton Sinclair

686 words - 3 pages

The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair, shows the horrific illustrations of capitalism by the circumstances of Ona giving birth, the outcomes of medicine being diluted, and the condition of embalmed beef. When Jurgis and Ona arrive in Packingtown, Chicago Jurgis is big and strong and gets pick everyday for a job, but by the end of two years Jurgis is small and does not get picked for hardly any jobs. All immigrants wait outside the meat factory companies to take the jobs of people who do not show up or come late. Because there is no building code, constructors cheat the citizens of Packingtown by having the sewer go straight under the house, the milk was also blue consisting of 1/3 of blue farmathad preserves, 1/3 milk, and 1/3 water. Throughout the novel Jurgis and Ona are immigrants from Lithuania who have been misused, cheated, and unhealthily fed.
Ona is forced to give birth in the attic of her own house because they could not ...view middle of the document...

Jurgis can finaly live what he came to the United States for, the “American Dream”.
All medicine during this time was diluted and defective. Old Antanas, Jurgis’s father, has tuberculosis which is highly contagious and needs medicine to be cured. Old Antanas works at the Durham meat factory in the pickle room. “Then, too, a still more dreadful thing happened to him; he worked in a place where his feet were soaked in chemicals, and it was not long before they had eaten through his new boots” (81). He is coughing all over the meat and eventually gets cut through his boots and the pickle juice gets infected in his feet. Old Antanas then loses circulation to his feet and they fall off. Old Antanas has frostbite and ultimately ends up dying.
One of the main ways the military would eat meals was by the three main meat companies, Durhams, Browns, and Johns. Soldiers would be eating embalmed beef that would have been laying in cellars for months. They would say if you were not dead within an hour of eating the embalmed beef you would be fine. “These were cattle which had been fed on ‘whiskey-malt,’ the refuse of the breweries, and had become what the men called ‘steerly’--which means covered with boils” (102). The horrific beef came from “steerly” cows that have been fed by whiskey-malt. When the cows eat the whiskey-malt they gain 100 pounds and are now terribly diseased. There is no nutritional value in the whiskey-malt and there ends up having puss everywhere. Some citizens in Packingtown would be forced to eat this embalmed beef if they could not afford anything else.
Jurgis was the main support for eleven people when he first comes to the United States, but now he is just responsible for himself. It is almost impossible to prosper as a lower class citizen when you have to support a family. Every person Jurgis was supporting in America has either been abandoned or died. “He started down the track, and when he was past the gate-keeper’s shanty he sprang forward and swung himself on to one of the cars” (225). Jurgis has jumped onto a train going out into the country, where he is going to start his new life and finally attempt to live the “American Dream”.

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