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The Misconceptions Of The Jungle By Upton Sinclair

705 words - 3 pages


     Upton Sinclair had always insisted that The Jungle was misread but did he ever think it could have been miswritten? The style of writing is not effective when addressing issues in a capitalistic society but proves to be very effective when exposing the secrets of the meatpacking industry. The novel is not remembered for being a classic work in literature but rather an important book in history in that it changed the way America looked at food in the early part of the century.

     Sinclair loses his argument for Socialism at around the time when the characters in the book lose their humanity. The multitude of unfortunate situations and events makes the story more and more unrealistic and the reader loses a sense of compassion for the characters. Now, instead of being characters, they become objects in which the most you can do is pity them. When Jurgis comes home from jail to find his barely eighteen year-old wife dying, the third person omniscient narration guides the reader through the mind of Jurgis: “She was dead! She was dead! He would never see her again, never hear her again! An icy horror of loneliness seized him.” (190) After Ona’s death, one could not anticipate anything more to go wrong, but it does. In just a short time later, Jurgis’ son Antanas drowned in the street.

It is extremely obvious that Sinclair is a Socialist himself. Anything and everything that could go wrong in the first three quarters of the book does, and once Jurgis is introduced to Socialism, everything ironically enough, goes right. After the death of little Antanas, Jurgis goes through an emotional upheaval. “There should be no more tears and no more tenderness; he had had enough of them-- they sold him into slavery!” (212) This is the beginning of Jurgis’ socialist way of thinking and it seems ideal for him, but at the same time, it seems like a last resort for someone so unfortunate that they are actually removed from a human society. Not many know how to feel for Jurgis at this point....

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