Exposing Capitalism in Upton Sinclair's The Jungle Essay

Exposing Capitalism in Upton Sinclair's The Jungle Essay

Length: 2086 words (6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Exposing Capitalism in The Jungle

 
     While the works of Upton Sinclair are not widely read today because of their primacy of social change rather than aesthetic pleasure, works like The Jungle are important to understand in relation to the society that produced them.  Sinclair was considered a part of the muckraking era, an era when social critics observed all that was wrong and corrupt in business and politics and responded against it.  The Jungle was written primarily as a harsh indictment of wage slavery, but its vivid depictions of the deplorable lack of sanitation involved in the meatpacking industry in Chicago resulted in public outrage to the point where Congress passed the Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act. 

 

The Jungle is a product of the era when industry was rapidly evolving and millions of immigrants came to America, the perceived land of milk and honey.  What they often found instead were a lack of jobs, low paying jobs in deplorable conditions and the realization that the American dream was not equally accessible to all.  In the novel Sinclair denounces in brutal prose the deplorable conditions of the Chicago stockyard where the men and women workers are diminished to a level lower than the dumb beasts they must slaughter in the fields.  Many immigrants were forced to accept such conditions and low wages because they did not have other options.  Jurgis wrestles with this dilemma when he thinks of turning down a job in the lowest of all occupations, a fertilizer plant worker, "As poor as they were, and making all the sacrifices they were, would he dare to refuse any sort of work that was offered to him, be it as horrible as ever it could?  Would he dare to go home and eat bread tha...


... middle of paper ...


...llows Sinclair to tack on an optimistic ending where often in life none was found.  Like Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, the ending of Sinclair's novel is a victory for the common man, the working class man and woman who were so great in number, so indomitable in spirit, and so determined to survive that there was no force of oppression too great to be surmounted, "...then we will begin the rush that will never be checked, the tide that will never turn till it has reached its flood-that will be irresistible, overwhelming-the rallying of the outraged workingmen of Chicago to our standard!...We shall bear down the opposition, we shall sweep it before us-and Chicago will be outs!  Chicago will be ours!  CHICAGO WILL BE OURS!" (Sinclair  341).



Works Cited

Sinclair, U.  The Jungle.  (7th printing).  New York: The New America Library of World Literature, 1964.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Upton Sinclair 's The Jungle Essay

- The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were a time of great social and political change. With an influx of immigrants rushing to work in factories, the dynamics of culture were swiftly changing. The naïve, new Americans were easily persuaded into making decisions in voting that were greatly influenced by the corrupt individuals guiding them (Sinclair, 1906, pp. 97-98). Unknowingly, these immigrants were working very hard to prevent themselves from achieving the heavily desired “American Dream.” Upton Sinclair’s own political beliefs are reflected in his startling novel, The Jungle, which details a believable account of such an immigrant’s experience....   [tags: Marxism, Socialism, Social class, Working class]

Powerful Essays
1164 words (3.3 pages)

Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath vs. Sinclair’s The Jungle Essay

- Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath vs. Sinclair’s The Jungle The global appeal of the so-called American dream of happiness and success has drawn many people to the “promised land” for hundreds of years. Although the American government preached equality for all on paper, it was driven primarily by money. Both Upton Sinclair and John Steinbeck recognized this and used literature to convey the flaws of capitalism. Sinclair’s The Jungle satirized America’s wage slavery at the turn of the century and forty years later, Steinbeck’s novel The Grapes of Wrath criticized the commercialism of American farming....   [tags: compare Contrast Rhetoric Essays]

Powerful Essays
1886 words (5.4 pages)

Socialism and Upton Sinclair's The Jungle Essays

- Socialism and Upton Sinclair's The Jungle In 1906, Upton Sinclair's Book The Jungle was published in book form; it had previously been published as a newspaper serial in 1905. Few works of literature have changed history in the United States so much as The Jungle did when it was published. It has been said that the book led to the direct passage of the "Pure Food and Drug Act" of 1906 (Dickstein) and that it lead to a decades long decline in meat consumption is the United States. The book is set in the early 1900's in Chicago; a time when true industrialization had come to the United States, and immigrant populations soared (numbersusa.com)....   [tags: Upton Sinclair Jungle]

Free Essays
1116 words (3.2 pages)

Essay about Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle

- Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle      Many immigrants are moving to the United States in the early 1900’s with the hopes of living the “American Dream.” However, that glittering American lifestyle is merely a distant ideal for the immigrants living in Packingtown, the Lithuanian meatpacking district of Chicago. Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle portrays life through the eyes of a poor workingman struggling to survive in this cruel environment, where the desire for profit among the capitalist meatpacking bosses and the criminals makes the lives of the working class a nearly unendurable struggle for survival....   [tags: Upton Sinclair Jungle Essays]

Powerful Essays
607 words (1.7 pages)

Oppression in Sinclair's The Jungle and Steinbeck's The Grapes Of Wrath

- Oppression in Sinclair's The Jungle and Steinbeck's The Grapes Of Wrath In The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair, and The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck, the characters are forced with economic, social, and political problems that they must cope with throughout the story. Both books are similar in that they emphasize that in this country, one simply cannot win unless they play by nature’s rules.      The economic problems of both stories were great. Jurgis (The Jungle) wishes to go to America to get rich....   [tags: Sinclair The Jungle]

Powerful Essays
450 words (1.3 pages)

Upton Sinclair's The Jungle Essay

- Upton Sinclair really wrote The Jungle for the promotion of socialism, himself being a long-time socialist, but what really caught the attention of the public was the few pages of descriptions about the horrors of the meat-packing industry. He couldn't have been very happy that the book gained fame for a different reason, but nonetheless it did gain a significant amount of fame and get that message of socialism is better than communism out to the public widely. There are a lot of different characters in The Jungle, and they all have some significance in their roles....   [tags: Jungle Sinclair Upton]

Free Essays
1311 words (3.7 pages)

Upton Sinclair's The Jungle - It’s a Jungle Out There Essay

- The Jungle                   It’s a Jungle Out There               Upton Sinclair’s novel The Jungle (1906) gives an in depth look at the lives of the immigrant workers here in America.  In fact the look was so in depth that the Pure Food and Drug Act was created as a result.  Many people tend to focus purely on the unsanitary conditions instead of the hardships faced by the workers.  Actually I think that Sinclair doesn’t want the focus on the meatpacking, but on overcoming obstacles, especially through Socialism.  Sinclair was himself very outspoken when it came to Socialism....   [tags: Upton Sinclair The Jungle]

Free Essays
713 words (2 pages)

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair Essay

- The Jungle, written by Upton Sinclair was a very touching and motivating story. Sinclair aimed for our hearts, but instead, he hit our stomachs. The Jungle is a story of hardships and trouble, some successes and many failures as a family tries to achieve the "American Dream." In this book, "The Jurgis Ruckus' myth of failure is the other side of the Horatio Alger's myth of success." (xxvi) Although this book was written about the hardships of a family, it was not just a story for one to read and feel sympathy for the family, but it had many "real-life" reasons behind the events that went on and happened....   [tags: Upton Sinclair Jungle, analysis, review]

Powerful Essays
1846 words (5.3 pages)

Upton Sinclair's The Jungle as Socialist Propaganda Essay

- The Jungle as Socialist Propaganda In the world of economic competition that we live in today, many thrive and many are left to dig through trashcans. It has been a constant struggle throughout the modern history of society. One widely prescribed example of this struggle is Upton Sinclair's groundbreaking novel, The Jungle. The Jungle takes the reader along on a journey with a group of recent Lithuanian immigrants to America. As well as a physical journey, this is a journey into a new world for them....   [tags: Upton Sinclair Jungle Essays]

Powerful Essays
3115 words (8.9 pages)

Upton Sinclair's The Jungle Essay

- 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....   [tags: Jungle Sinclair]

Powerful Essays
1109 words (3.2 pages)