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The Jungle By Upton Sinclair Essay

1118 words - 4 pages

Upton Sinclair wrote The Jungle with an unabashed message in mind. Using his powerful descriptions of the repugnance of the meat packing industry as his vehicle, Sinclair conveyed his position of socialism and lamented the plight of the working-man.The Jungle's main character, Jurgis Rudkus, immigrates with his family to America from Lithuania with hopes of living the "American Dream". Instead, their dream is torn apart by the dreadful cruelties of the working class life in Packingtown, Chicago. Jobs are scarce and those available are more deadly than life on the streets but Jurgis is ready and eager for any kind of work. Working conditions are almost unbearable and home life is not much better. When both Jurgis' wife and children die, he can take no more suffering. Jurgis abandons the family to become a beggar in the country. He later returns to Chicago where he rejoins his remaining family members and begins a new life, persuaded by a socialist group to start over and begin making a difference through socialism.Upton Sinclair wrote The Jungle with an exceptionally effective writing style in that he uses prominent characters to represent certain elements in society. For example, Jurgis represents the bourgeoisie, working class and through his struggles, the reader is able to experience what every person of that level of society might have gone through. Although this writing style is effective, it can create conflicts. One of these conflicts is that the reader may begin to lose interest because of lack of reality. Sinclair uses every last trial and tribulation he can to express the pain and suffering these people went through, but soon, it becomes too much, and the reader stops caring about the lives of the characters. This may have been intentional on Sinclair's part, by intentionally desensitizing the reader to the point that all hope is lost, just as Jurgis finally does when life becomes too overwhelming, the reader can better relate to the characters and their struggles? Sinclair had many motives for writing The Jungle. He did want to expose the horrible indecencies and horrifying details of the meat packing industry and its working conditions in order to fix these problems but he had an alternative motive for doing so. Upton Sinclair was a devout socialist and by revealing the horrendous lives and conditions of the meat industry workers, he was able to show the direct effects of capitalism on the working public. His socialist background is seen clearly as he makes parallels with the workers and the livestock that are slaughtered on the killing beds each day. Capitalism is described covertly through the description of the killing beds. The men working on the killing beds have a joke about the pigs, stating that every part of the pig is used, except for the squeal, what they don't see is that the same could be said for them. Just as the entire pig is used and then disregarded, so are the workers. They are used up and tossed out.If Sinclair...

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