Upton Sinclair's The Jungle - The Lie of the American Dream

Upton Sinclair's The Jungle - The Lie of the American Dream

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The Jungle - The Lie of the American Dream

 In The Jungle, Sinclair deeply understands his subjects and can make the plots real for the reader. Even in a small section of the book, Sinclair makes me feel, imagine and contemplate his words. Chapters 18 through 23, were chapters that Sinclair took time and effort to write and make it to perfection. In my own perspective, I think he achieved this accomplishment and made these chapters a realistic event.

The main theme of these 6 chapters is "The lie of the American Dream". Jurgis thought by coming here to the United States, he would find everything easy, but everything turned against his wishes. In chapter 18, he's out of jail, free, only to find someone else in his home. He realized that his family had lost their home because of lack of money, and because he wasn't there when they needed him the most. Later finding them and finding his wife giving birth with complications and smelling death around him. Is a very shocking and yet horrifying idea.

With only a dollar twenty-five, Madame Haupt helped Ona give birth, but failed to give them their life. With that dollar twenty-five, Ona lost her life and left Jurgis alone forever. That same day little Kotrina earned three dollars, Jurgis took it and got drunk. This American lie struck him hard, the least he can do was to get drunk and forget about life for a while.

However, life was still ahead of him. He went back to the fertilizer, but found no job there. He owed so much money, the least he could do was to get a job. He tried many places until his friend found him a job in a big factory. There he worked and worked, but lost it because the factories closed down and there was no work until further notice. Probably Jurgis thought "America lies to me once again", and has to deal with it.

Thus, Jurgis did not stay with his arms crossed; he went out again to look for more work. He begged, he slept in the streets, he tried everything, but finally he got another job in a mill and worked there. It seemed that life was getting easier but it got worse. One day, Jurgis got home, and found out that his son, his little boy Antanas, had died. This was a nightmare for Jurgis.

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In fact there are 4 nightmares that Jurgis passes through, 4 different rages that made Jurgis do what he did in the last chapter on pg.219. His first nightmare rage, was when he lost his home, in pg176. Sinclair says "Grief, despair, rage overwhelmed him". His second nightmare rage, when Ona died, in pg189, Sinclair says "He was like a little child, in his fright and grief". His third nightmare rage, when he lost his job again, pg200 Sinclair quotes "it took him 2 days to get over this heart-sickening disappointment". And his last and final nightmare rage, was the death of his son. This made him leave his home, and walk and walk far away from his shelter and far away from everything he ever wished for in life.

At the same time, Sinclair uses figurative language to describe Jurgi's feelings and to once again make the story realistic to the reader. An example for figurative language will be in pg 177. Sinclair writes Jurgis fears "Racked, and tortured him, mocking him, meantime, jeering in his face." These 3 words, especially mocking has more meaning to it than its literal meaning. Jurgis felt tortured, but it could mean, mental torture, physical torture, or spiritual torture. There are three other words that are figurative language found in The Jungle"monstrous, hideous and demonical". These words are used to describe the poverty of Jurgis family, but its other meanings are stronger. Sinclair uses these words to make his plots stronger, more efficient, more profound. It all really depends how the reader defines them and perceives them.

Sinclair writes deeply, profoundly, directly. Besides knowing how to write intelligently, Sinclair uses two philosophies that sort of make up the whole section of these chapters. Communism and Socialism. These two philosophies are used to compare and contrast Sinclair and his character Jurgis. Socialism appeals to Sinclair because he learned to educate the public about the evils of an economic and social system that destroyed millions of people by disease, poverty and mental torture. It appeals to Jurgis also because that's what he lived through, poverty, disease and mental torture. Jurgis fought with all his strength and might in order to get work, and support his family. Sinclair will define Socialism as " no one is responsible for suffering and evil". In a way I think Jurgis would've also defined it as well.

The literal meaning for Communism is a Dictator. In my perspective, is just like capitalsim, a private shared resource. Communism appeals to Sinclair because Sinclair lived through poverty as so he said in the end of the book, he lived through a harsh society that made him do things that destroyed him. Compared to Jurgis, he lived a life just like his, but Jurgis life was yet far more horrifying. Jurgis dominant was poverty, the debts, the dues, the shame and the guilt.

Overall, I believe that both Sinclair and Jurgis had lives that can be history today. But in reality, they are one person, in a book they are author and character, but they still show resemblance of different similarities.

 
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