Essay about The Jungle

Essay about The Jungle

Length: 1083 words (3.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview


The Jungle Essay
     The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair, clearly depicts the socio-economic strife and political turpitude that ushered America into the 20th century. While telling the story of Lithuanian immigrants struggling to survive in Chicago, Sinclair illustrates how avarice and ruthless competition were driving forces in the exploitational predatory capitalist ³jungle² of American ³society² at the turn of the century. This radical novel, described as muckraking by President Theodore Roosevelt, was a sounding board for pro-socialist politics.
     Sinclair¹s polemic drama begins in the back room of a Chicago saloon. The guests are drunk and drained. The prospect of returning to the rigorous labors of the stockyards right after the ceremony leaves them demoralized. Jurgis Rudkus, however, the main character, refuses to succumb to the suffering of the multitudes in Packingtown, a predominantly immigrant community in Chicago. He promises to work harder; he wants to achieve the American dream.
     After pooling the family¹s resources, Jurgis is able to leave a dilapidated lodge-house for a ³new² modest home (which had hidden costs) where his family would reside. When Dede Antanas, Jurgis¹ father, loses his job and is forced to kickback a third of his paltry salary in order to get a new job working in a dark, damp, ³pickle room², Jurgis begins to lose faith in America. Jurgis witnesses the darkside of American society, and the resultant lassitude in the workforce. Jurgis observes the butchery of pregnant cows and their unborn calves, which are illegally mixed with other carcasses, including those of sick animals dead on arrival to the stock yards, for consumption. He witnesses beatings, graft, and dirty deals.
     As winter approaches, the marriage of Jurgis to Ona becomes cheerless. The pressures of work, poverty, and illness stifle their spirits. Jurgis¹ father dies.
     Vexed by the working conditions of Packingtown, Jurgis joins a labor union where he begins to learn English. He develops a cynical attitude towards democracy. Eventually, the deteriorating working conditions, sickness and despair make life too depressing for Jurgis. He discovers that his wife was pressured into sleeping with her boss, and that the second child she...


... middle of paper ...


...d over 60 characters to show that people in all walks of life were traumatized and corrupted by the system.
     The Jungle helps us understand the industrial revolution from the personal disadvantaged view of the proletariat. It is an exposé of many ills, including specifically, vile practices of the meat-packing industry. Of his own work, Sinclair reported, ³I wish to frighten the country by a picture of what its industrial masters were doing to their victims; entirely by chance I stumbled on another discovery - what they were doing to the meat supply of the civilized world. In other words, I aimed at the public¹s heart, and by accident, I hit it in the stomach.²
     This novel by Upton Sinclair is worth reading because it presents the history of turn-of-the-century America from a deeply personal view that goes well beyond events to penetrating comprehension. The study of history offers much more than the memorization of facts and Sinclair¹s The Jungle exemplifies this, through historically-based, dramatized pathos. One is not obliged to believe in his socialist or anarchist views to appreciate the value of this pioneering work.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

The Jungle By Upton Sinclair Essay

- 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]

Strong Essays
1276 words (3.6 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]

Strong Essays
1109 words (3.2 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 Warning in The Beast in the Jungle Essay

- 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]

Free Essays
2443 words (7 pages)

Essay about The Power of Upton Sinclair and The Jungle

- 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]

Strong Essays
1497 words (4.3 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)

Upton Sinclair's The Jungle - Socialism Essay

- 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]

Free Essays
436 words (1.2 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]

Strong 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)

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]

Strong Essays
607 words (1.7 pages)