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The Jungle by Upton Sinclair The Jungle written by an American journalist Sinclair Upton and published in 1906 was a reflection of the inhuman practices and corruption of the American meatpacking industry during the early twentieth century. The story portrays the life of a Lithuanian immigrant Jugris Rudkus and his family…
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Download file to see previous pages This paper through the analysis of the novel focuses on the rise of socialism in America as a result of weakening family bond. The industrial revolution in the late 1750s was an era of technological changes that moved the focus from agriculture to the development of factories for production. During this time the general perception among writers was that industrial revolution along with capitalism was responsible for the deterioration of the working class. The wages were ridiculously low while working hours were long under unhealthy conditions. The extremely poor economic condition forced the women and children of the families to work in factories which destroyed their body and soul (Majewski, 1986). This is the general picture depicted by the book which major part focuses on the unhygienic conditions under which meat is processed and packed by sick or injured workers. It reflects the hopelessness of the working class which was enhanced by the corruption prevalent among those who were in power. The main story focuses on Jurgis Rudkus who settles in Packingtown, Chicago and works in the sordid environment of a meatpacking plant to maintain his family. The story started with his wedding and in the beginning everything seemed well as the wedding couple was young with dreams and hopes of having a successful life in America. As time passes, every member of the family from the elderly father of Jurgis to the children is forced to enter the labour market because of the meager income of the working class. The story goes through a turning point when Jurgis gets arrested after attacking his supervisor for forcefully sleeping with his wife. He then loses his job and his family goes through extreme poverty. As he experiences the death of his family members, he goes out on his own and stays on the streets without money and food. As he enters a meeting hall for shelter, he gets enlightened by the philosophy of the Socialist Party. He discovered among the socialists “brothers in affliction, and allies” (Sinclair, 1935, p.85) at a time when he had promised himself not to trust anyone except his family. Justification of socialism The Jungle is widely read as a historical document and is often compared with Harriet Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin for its impact on the society and the awareness created about the inhuman conditions and deceitful practices of the meatpacking industry. The novel is written in a blunt and natural way filled with shocking details. The primary intention of Sinclair was to establish the positive impacts that the Socialist Party can have on the society and the meat industry was used simply as a backdrop. With the help of the fictional Lithuanian family the author managed to tell about the wretched conditions of the working class and women and how they were exploited by the monopolistic enterprises. The novel bluntly depicted the horrible condition under which meat was produced and packed. The novel not only shows the horrible working conditions of the meat industry and the steel industry (at one point of time Jurgis worked in a steel plant) but also exposed the manipulations and exploitations by the men in power and how unethical activities were carried on by the owners with the support from politicians, criminals and magistrates (Bloom, 2002, p.49-53). Such raw revelation of the industrial revolution under the capitalistic society “ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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