The Jungle by Upton Sinclair Essay
In the book “The Jungle” by Upton Sinclair the author gives a critique of the early twentieth century labor practices in the growing cities of the United States. It gives people an opportunity to see all the factors that were going on not only in the meatpacking industry, but also the way working people lived and all the challenges that they had to overcome to just be able to survive. It also shows how the working conditions are in the city of Chicago. It shows how workers did their tasks in unsanitary conditions. The book would say that they would be working and rats would be passing by and because they were so tired they did not care anymore. * “And, for this, at the end of the week, he will carry home three dollars to his family, being his pay at the rate of five cents per hour-just about his proper share of the million and three quarters of children who are now engaged in earning their livings in the United States.” I found this quote to be interesting because even though Jurgis works for whole family. Life in the United States is very difficult.
* “They had dreamed of freedom; of a chance to look about them and learn something; to be decent and clean, to see their child group up to be strong. And now it was all gone-it would never be!” This shows how life in America turns out nothing like they expected. The observation that I made about the author’s style in the first half of the book is that Sinclair uses a lot of words to describe one situation. He creates a scene in the reader’s mind to be able to get the idea. Sinclair uses a lot of words just to prove a point. He also uses several Lithuanian words throughout the first half. He also explains the unsanitary conditions people worked on. There are descriptions on how bad the place actually was.
I believe that the main idea of the story, not just the first half, is the American dream. Sinclair talks how most families got to the Unites States and what their expectations were. He uses Jurgis to portray that role. He explains how Ona’s brother, Jonas, suggested they move to America because he had a friend that had done so and he was now rich. They took that in consideration and decided to move.
I agree with the author’s main idea because he shows how desperate people were to be able to get a good job and have a good life. He shows all the difficulties people with an American dream have to face. For example, Jurgis thought America was all about freedom but when he arrived he is disappointed because he notices the way other people notice him. They see him as nothing. In my own life experiences my family faced the same thing. As immigrants we faced challenges, but we come to America to succeed and we will work hard to be able to do that. I can relate on how Jurgis and his family struggled in the United States. * “All of these agencies of corruption were banded together, and leagued in blood brotherhood with the politician and the police; more often than not they were one and the same person, the police captain would own the brothel he pretended to raid, and the politician would open his headquarters in his saloon.”
This quote shows how corruption worked in most parts of Chicago. He expresses the police, politicians, and corruption was bonded. * “And we shall organize them for the victory! We shall bear down the opposition, we shall sweep it before us-and Chicago will be ours! Chicago will be ours! CHICAGO WILL BE OURS!” This is, in my opinion the most important quote of the book. It shows how Jurgis has learned everything that he needs, to be able to give Chicago back to the people. He wants corruption to be vanished from the city. The observation I made in the second half of the book is how the main character changed and becomes more alive. After just losing hope in his life, he suddenly becomes really interested in all the things he has been learning about socialism. He wants to keep on learning more and more things that are related to socialism. Jurgis does not miss one meeting and at the end he ends up by joining the socialist party. Sinclair does not include as many Lithuanian words.
The author focuses more in socialist terms and socialist speeches. One of the themes that stand out the most I think in the second half is corruption. They have been facing corruption since the beginning. By the end of the novel, Jurgis has been a thief, mugger, strikebreaker, and an agent in a political vote-buying scheme. The family itself has been subject to manipulation, and rape. Corruption took a major role in this. Also, I believe another theme could be tradition and family. Jurgis want to make Chicago a better place for whoever is left of his family and other people that live in the city. The main idea in this part, in my opinion, is that if people work together they can achieve something. I agree with the author because when people work together as a team they can actually get something done.
In the novel it is showed that Jurgis goes to every meeting that has to do with socialism because he believes that something can be done. He has members working with him. He wants to see change and he believes that one day he will get that change for the rest of the people in Chicago. He did not want his people to keep on suffering in the meatpacking industry. The meatpacking industry just represented no hope for the poor people in America. The connection I can make in this particular half is how the people worked together to get something done. I personally try to work with others to do something positive as Jurgis is doing. It can be working with my family to try to solve a problem or I can be working with my school friends in trying to get a group project together. Whatever it is working with others can make a positive change at home, school, or even the community that you live in.