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"The Jungle" By Upton Sinclair Essay

1341 words - 5 pages

Upton Sinclair. The Jungle. New York: Signet Classic. 1960.The Jungle by Upton Sinclair is a novel set in Packingtown, the meatpacking sector of Chicago. The time is set in the beginning of the twentieth century. Upton Sinclair tells the story of an immigrant named Jurgis and his family that come to America in search of wealth and the good life that they hear so much about. They believe so much in the American dream. However, life in America isn't so great. Sinclair talks about the harsh reality of life in the factories, the horrors of the slaughterhouses and their inhumane working conditions. He talks about all of the poverty, disease, and despair that are underneath the gold blanket of America. Upton Sinclair's main purpose of the novel is to warn people of the evils of capitalism and how socialism is the remedy for it. Since Jurgis and his family are from Lithuania and they are migrating into America, Sinclair shows how hard life is for immigrants in America. He also tries to illustrate to his readers that, contrary to the belief of the time, the idea of Social Darwinism is not how the American people really run.It's obvious that Sinclair's main goal is to persuade the reader that capitalism is evil. The definition of capitalism is an economic system of private ownership of capital. This means that there is no intervention of government into business. Sinclair tried to press the ideas of socialism and the flaws of capitalism on the people of 1906. Every event, especially in the first twenty-seven chapters of the book, is written deliberately to describe the failure of capitalism, which is, inhuman, destructive, unjust, brutal, and violent.The slow destruction of Jurgis's immigrant family, in the world of a cruel and prejudiced economic and social system, demonstrates the effect of capitalism on the working class as a whole. First, he shows that the jobs in Packingtown involve backbreaking labor, conducted in unsafe conditions with little regard for individual workers. For example, winter is the most dangerous season in Packingtown, and even Jurgis is forced to work in an unheated slaughterhouse in which it is difficult to see because of poor lighting. He risks his life every day by simply going to work. When Jurgis's wife Ona gives birth to a healthy boy, whom is named Antanas after Jurgis's late father, she is forced to return to work only seven days later. Sinclair is stressing that without government regulations in business, there are no regulations for workers. If there are no regulations then the company has all the power in their world. They can pay the workers as little as they want to, and they force them to work as many hours as they want to.In Packingtown, any mishap can bring ruin upon a family. Jurgis sprains his ankle and is forced to spend nearly three months in bed, unable to work. Even though poor working conditions caused the accident, the factory simply cuts off Jurgis's pay while he recuperates. Life is extremely difficult...

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