Upton Sinclair's The Jungle

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Upton Sinclair's The Jungle

Jurgis Rudkus and Ona Lukoszaite open the novel of The Jungle with a celebration of their wedding. The opening of the book highlights the best time that Jurgis and Ona will ever again experience during their stay in America. Jurgis is convinced that he can accomplish the American Dream, gaining prosperity from hard work and dedication. However, as the novel progresses, we soon see that this dream that Jurgis had is much farther away than he anticipated, and prosperity seems untouchable unless one gives up their morals and values and joins the capitalistic America. In this novel we see Jurgis start with a dream and end with a dream, however much is lost in the process.

Jurgis and Ona deicide to move to America with the convincing of Teta Elzbieta' brother, Jonas, who tells stories of a man who made his fortune in America. However, the first sign of hard times and troubles comes when Jonas runs into this man in America and learns that he is far from successful, but rather suffering financial troubles. Upton Sinclair, author of The Jungle, opens the novel with the wedding feast and celebration of Jurgis and Ona to allow the reader to sympathize with the characters. If the novel immediately started with the hardships that fell upon this family the reader would know nothing of their values or lifestyle without poverty and misery. The first chapter allows the reader to connect with the family, so in turn the reader is more sympathetic to the hardships that the family goes through.

As soon as the wonderful feast with abundant amounts of food is over, Sinclair begins to introduce the reader into the life of an immigrant and the troubles that come upon the immigrants. Jurgis comes to America wit...

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...ty changes the way of life for Jurgis. Sinclair accomplishes several things in the novel like allowing an American reader to sympathize with a poor immigrant, which was not a common thing during this time. The reader is not aware that the entire point of the novel is to argue for socialism until the final chapters of the book. Sinclair did not ease into socialism and almost changed what the entire novel was about in the final chapters. The point is proven, immigrants lived an unfair life of poverty and mistreatment, and socialism was the answer for many of these immigrants. However, the point is not proven as well as it could have been due to the sudden change towards socialism. Sinclair uses the life of an immigrant family to show the hardships that all immigrants faced in America and the benefits of socialism to these immigrants and the American wage laborers.

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