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Immigration in United States, From the view point of The Jungle - Research Paper Example

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Name: Course: Tutor: Date: Cultural Transformations in “The Jungle”: Compulsion of Circumstances Upton Sinclair’s novel “The Jungle” deals with the story of an immigrant family with a view of working out the theme of a flux of changes which takes place in the socio-political and cultural background of the US society in the first half of the 1960s…
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Immigration in United States, From the view point of The Jungle
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Download file to see previous pages These were the changes that had been induced by the rise of the metropolis, the development of a national economy and, to a crucial extent, by the industrial revolution –which has been viewed by highly educated people (including Sinclair) as the feverish mechanization of human life - arousing deep tensions and turbulences in the sociopolitical culture of the American society around 1890s. Sinclair’s readers may ask whether the transformations in the culture of the Lithuanian immigrants, who occupy the central themes of the novel, will suffice the cultural transformations of the US society. But while asking the question, one has to bear in mind the fact that the novel presents a particular aspect of American society in which the society’s socio-political-cultural variables of social transformations allow other cultures to be assimilated and to be fused with its own cultural traits in order to produce another which is more global and tolerant in nature. Consequently, the traits of the socio-political-cultural-economic transformation of the Lithuanian immigrants’ culture and their assimilations into the mainstream US culture serve as the prototype of the cultural changes of the US society around the first half of the 1960s. ...
Then finally, they are forced to adapt themselves and their culture to the changed circumstances. These adaptations necessarily yield into new cultural forms that are capable of surviving in the hostile environment of industrialization. The attempts of the Lithuanians to preserve their native values, norms and traits of culture are evident throughout the whole novel. But in the beginning of the novel, the marital culture and other cultural values that are observed in an exuberant environment are livelier than in any other part of the novel. These wedding customs of the Lithuanians have had to go through the inevitable transformations and have to adapt themselves to the changed circumstances of life in Chicago. Throughout the first six chapters, the Lithuanian marital customs such as the matchmaker episode, wedding ceremony, wedding feast, very often accompanied by music, wedding songs, dances etc seem to exist in more or less modified forms. As Suk Bong Suh says, “Lithuanians seem to have preserved much of these traditional wedding customs in America, though in somewhat modified form. Among others, the detailed descriptions of the wedding feast, veselija, show graphically to what extent they tried to preserve their old customs in a new environment” (Suh 11). Being the part of the agrarian society norms, the Lithuanian wedding tradition includes serving abundant foods and drinks during the marriage ceremony. As Sinclair remarks, “It was one of the laws of the veselija that no one goes hungry, and, while a rule made in the forests of Lithuania is hard to apply in the stockyards district of Chicago, with its quarter of a million inhabitants, still they did their best, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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