the jungle Essay examples

the jungle Essay examples

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Upton Sinclair was the most famous of the American “muckraker” journalists. He was born in Baltimore, Maryland on September 20, 1878. Although his family was poor, Sinclair was able to earn money as a writer from a very early age, and was able to save enough money to go to college. He attended the city college of New York and graduated from there with a B.A. degree. Soon after he went to Columbia University to graduate school. It was there that he began writing full-length novels with important social themes. His novels showed that he was concerned with the conditions of working people. During the early part of the twentieth century businesses had very little to restrain them and working class unions were not nearly as common as they are today. Some of the biggest abuses of labor conditions took place in big cities such as New York and Chicago. It was in the meatpacking district of Chicago that Sinclair found the setting of the book that would bring him to fame. He first won recognition by the jungle in 1906. This book is a powerful realistic study of social conditions in the stockyards and packing plants of Chicago. It aided in the passing of pure food laws.
     This novel illustrates how greed and ruthless competition has made the turn of the century into a ruthless jungle. “Take or be Taken” was the guiding rule, and everyone was someone else’s prey. The meatpacking district of Chicago in the early 1900’s is where the novel takes place. The main characters in this book are a Lithuanian immigrant Jurgis Rudkis, a hardworking strong man out to find the American dream, his wife, and his family who is trying to do the same.
     After a long journey to America the family arrives in Packingtown, where Jokusbas Szedvilas, a fellow Lithuanian immigrant, introduces them to the filthy stinking part of the city that will now be their home. Jurgis is very eager to get a job and succeeds easily. The family has rented living quarters in the filthy boarding house ran by Anielle Jukniene, but Jurgis and the others want to buy a house. An attractive advertisement brings them to a dishonest house agent. They do buy a house, but are made to sign a deed that they can’t even understand. They find out later it requires them to rent the house for a long time and if they miss even one payment they lose all they have in the ...


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...e time. He knew he had to be very graphic and specific to get the message across. His novel was the main reason that congress was pressured into passing the Pure Meat Inspection Act in 1906.
     The economical and social issues of the book are told by the tragic stories of the men and women who worked, and died in the stockyards district. They encountered nearly every evil possible. Unable to speak English they were easily exploited and taken advantage of. The workers of the stockyards were paid horribly low wages that weren’t even enough to keep a family going. Every member of the family must work or they would all starve. It seems that no one cared or even knew about this until Upton Sinclair wrote “The Jungle.” For the people of the stockyards they were living in a great depression, a life of depression.
     This book impacted history in a great way. The power of meat inspectors greatly improved, and Americans finally had confidence in the meat that they ate. This book impacted American meat and Americans eating habits more than it did working conditions, which were what I believe Upton Sinclair was really trying to change.

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