Sinclair 's book talks about the broken dreams of a Lithuanian immigrant, Jurgis Rudkis, and his Lithuanian family. In the book, unions are meant to be institutions that give false hope to many workers. These workers live in utterly dreadful circumstances and are exploited like animals by their capitalist overlords. The women are forced to work at an inhuman pace and fired if they complained. The men worked liked slaves in the meat packing plants. When Jurgis finally finds a job, he finds working conditions to hardly be fitting of the American Dream for which he’d left his native country. Sinclair is relentless in providing page after page of detailed horrors the immigrants faced on a daily basis.
These horrors are inten...
... middle of paper ...
...ream in general. And then they find the unions ineffective and corrupt, and find as well that they are on their own in a sea of sharks.
Sinclair viewed socialism as the only answer for the immigrant worker, because it is an option which will not merely try to reform a corrupt system from a naively Progressive perspective, but will completely do away with capitalism and replace it with a just and fair system designed to treat human beings like human beings instead of like machines or animals to be abused and used up and tossed away when they prove rebellious or are no longer capable of adding to profits. If we accept Sinclair 's premise, that capitalism is utterly corrupt and inhumane, then his denunciation of unionism (in the context of capitalism) makes sense, as does his argument for socialism.
Sinclair, Upton. The Jungle. New York: Signet, 1990.
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