House Of Earth, By Woody Guthrie And The Jungle Essay

House Of Earth, By Woody Guthrie And The Jungle Essay

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“House of Earth,” by Woody Guthrie and “The Jungle” by Upton Sinclair have a powerful view on the United States claim to freedom. Guthrie and Sinclair present different situations because of the time period in which each work was written but the similarities between the characters, conditions and consequences of living in the United States are significant. In these stories, the main characters experience different journeys, but they both endure hope and disappointment that leads them to recognize their dreams, shaped by the stereotype of the American dream, are unreachable because of the restrictions they have. Guthrie and Sinclair use their works to show us that the United States lacks the freedom it claims to have by presenting Tike and Ella May’s inability to build a house of earth without owning land and Jurgis and Ona’s inability to live without becoming wage slaves.
In “House of Earth,” Tike and Ella May Hamlin live the mid-west during the Dustbowl and the Great Depression, giving them the disadvantage of living in economically catastrophic period which leads to their limitations and ultimate devastation in their ability to pursue their dream of building a house of earth. The land that the Hamlin’s live on is actually rented property in the beginning of the book; however, at one point it did belong to Tike’s family. He describes to Ella May how his whole life he has wanted to own land and be a foreman and boss but that dream was taken away by Ella May’s family, “but I never was anything, nothing more than just the old hardworking son of, well, a family of folks that lost their land to your very father” (Guthrie, 62). His family had owned the land but it was taken out from under them by Ella May’s father and they were no mor...


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...(Sinclair, 177). He believed this was going to be the freedom America was really promoting because up to this point freedom was not something he had experienced or even saw.
Guthrie and Sinclair know from their experience that freedom in America does not exist. America claims to have freedom and that is why so many people want to immigrate here, but in reality no one is free. Jurgis and Ona, and Tike and Ella May lives and consequences of living in the United States really exemplify how unfree America is. The United States is supposed to be the home of the free and where you can live the American dream but in reality, as these characters pointed out, dreams are unreachable and freedom isn’t free. Hope can be something that is had but disappointment is right around the corner. Guthrie and Sinclair both prove that America’s claim to freedom is just false advertising.

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