The Jungle By Upton Sinclair; Book Review

451 words - 2 pages

The JungleBy: Upton Sinclair The Jungle, written by Upton Sinclair in 1906, enlightens the reader about Socialism as a remedy for the evils of capitalism; the immigrant experience and the hollowness of the American Dream. The third-person narrator focuses on what the main character, Jurgis Rudkus, and what he feels, learns, and experiences. Sinclair also shows the social values that affect his characters lives in the past and future, but the entire novel is in the past tense. During the early 1900s, there was a little place called Packingtown within the city of Chicago. Ironically, this was the meat-packing sector ...view middle of the document...

Jurgis, who was forced to work in an unheated slaughterhouse, in which it is difficult to see, risks his life every day by simply going to work. Eventually, Jurgis injures himself and is forced to spend nearly three months in bed, unable to work. Many dramatic occurrences take place in Jurgis and Ona's lives. It all begins when Ona doesn't return from work one night, Jurgis ascertains what occurs and his actions send him to jail, but this is not the last time he will visit this penitentiary. After the demise of his son Antanas, Jurgis felt destroyed by capitalism. Jurgis eventually finds inspiration at a socialist political rally. He finds another job and is reunited with Ona's stepmother, Teta Elzbieta Lukoszaite; Teta is a resilient, strong-willed old woman, one of the strongest and most important characters in The Jungle. Sinclair uses her to represent the redemptive power of family, home, and tradition. Sinclair emphasizes the exploitation of workers, families, and altogether lifestyles during the 1900s. The idea of the jungle symbolizes the capitalist idea of the survival of the fittest; cans of rotten meat symbolize the hypocritical face of capitalism; different characters symbolize different meanings as stated with Teta Elzbieta in the previous paragraph. Sinclair's attitude towards the story is obvious throughout the reading; the victimized working class is righteous, and the oppressing capitalists are evil.

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