At the beginning of the twentieth century, a massive wave of immigrants from the southern and eastern parts of Europe came to America in search of economic opportunities. They carried to America all the dreams and hopes of wealth. When finally reaching America, these naive immigrants faced a new struggle and learned the harsh reality of America. In Upton Sinclair’s novel, The Jungle, he describes the life of an immigrant family from Lithuania that venture off to America in search of a better life. After their arrival and stay, they struggle to keep alive and barely meek their way through life. Sinclair’s style of describing the characters, conflicts, and ideas illustrates the struggle and heartache of immigrants’ life in the early 1900’s.
Sinclair’s style of imagery, diction, and tone helps create the atmosphere needed for the reader to imagine the events taken place. In the beginning, Sinclair uses a flash-forward. This scene, a wedding, gave the reader the impression of hope, life, and dreams. Behind this joyful celebration, the author implements worries and depression. Although this should be a celebration, the reader sees the bride crying, hears the throbbing tunes of a melancholy song, smells the stench of alcohol upon everyone’s lips, and feel the urgency of each individual to get home, rest, and begin a new day at work. “Most fearful they are to comtemplate, the expenses of this entertainment…” (12). The only thought expressed throughout this scene are horrors of how they are going to pay. Sinclair uses vivid details to describe the life of in immigrant. These details do more than show the reader what is happening, but the reader can actually feel what the immigrant feels. “They could feel the cold as it crept in through the cracks, reaching out for them with its icy, death-dealing fingers” (82). Sinclair offers more than a description to the reader, he shares an experience. The imagery takes the reader to new heights of sensation and feeling. “It was sickening, like a nightmare, in which suddenly something gives way beneath you, and you feel yourself sinking, sinking, down into bottomless abysses” (69). Also, Sinclair uses his vivid imagery to reveal the images seen through the eyes of the immigrant. No matter what a scene contains, he continues the story with gruesome detail.
It was too dark in these storage places to see well, but a man could run his hand over these piles of meat and sweep off handfuls of the dried dung of rats. These rats were nuisances, and the packers would put poisoned bread out for them; they would die, and then rats, bread and meat would go into the hopper together… there were thing that went into the sausage in comparison with which a poisoned rat was a tidbit (135).
Sinclair also applies diction throughout his novel. He utilizes this the literary tool and aids the reader in understanding the...