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 ...
... middle of paper ...
...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.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The Jungle by Upton Sinclair is a novel that details the struggles endured by an immigrant and his family in Chicago in the early 1900s. The main character, Jurgis, sought out a better life than the one he had in Lithuania. He and his family heard stories of men making fortunes in America, "where a man might make three rubles a day". (Sinclair 27) America "was a place of which lovers and young people dreamed." (Sinclair 27) However, with their voyage to a new land, the dreams of Jurgis and his family were soon met with seemingly insurmountable odds.... [tags: Socialism, Capitalism, Max Weber, The Jungle]
1276 words (3.6 pages)
- 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]
1109 words (3.2 pages)
- 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]
713 words (2 pages)
- The Warning in The Beast in the Jungle "In the case of Henry James there should not be much dispute about the exactness and completeness of the representation; no man ever strove more studiously or on the whole more successfully to reproduce the shape and color and movement of his æsthetic experience." These are the remarks of Stuart P. Sherman from his article entitled "The Aesthetic Idealism of Henry James," from The Nation, p. 397, April 5, 1917. Now, some seventy-two years later critical readers are still coming to terms with James' aesthetic vision.... [tags: Beast in the Jungle Essays]
2443 words (7 pages)
- The Power of Upton Sinclair and The Jungle The novel "The Jungle", is a hybrid of history, literature, and propaganda. It was written in 1906 by Upton Sinclair, to demonstrate the control big business had over the average working man, and his family. Sinclair was one of the most famous muckrakers in history; he exposed scandals and political corruption in the early nineteen hundreds (Literature 572). He attempted to show his idea of the solution to this problems of the times: socialism.... [tags: Upton Sinclair Jungle Essays]
1497 words (4.3 pages)
- 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]
1116 words (3.2 pages)
- The Jungle Socialism During the late 1800's and early 1900's hundreds of thousands of European immigrants migrated to the United States of America. They had aspirations of success, prosperity and their own conception of the American Dream. The majority of the immigrants believed that their lives would completely change for the better and the new world would bring nothing but happiness. Advertisements that appeared in Europe offered a bright future and economic stability to these naive and hopeful people. Jobs with excellent wages and working conditions, prime safety, and other benefits seemed like a chance in a lifetime to these struggling foreigne... [tags: Upton Sinclair The Jungle]
436 words (1.2 pages)
- 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]
450 words (1.3 pages)
- 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]
1311 words (3.7 pages)
- 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]
607 words (1.7 pages)