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Upton Sinclairs novel the Jungle as an instrument to describe the rise of progressivism in America - Essay Example

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Upton Sinclair was, as his narration suggests, a supporter of Socialism.His book The Jungle was at the time one of the primary modes of insight into the lives of American immigrants and their quest to achieve the dream that made the land so famous…
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Upton Sinclairs novel the Jungle as an instrument to describe the rise of progressivism in America
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"Upton Sinclairs novel the Jungle as an instrument to describe the rise of progressivism in America"

Download file to see previous pages Upton Sinclair was, as his narration suggests, a supporter of Socialism.His book The Jungle was at the time one of the primary modes of insight into the lives of American immigrants and their quest to achieve the dream that made the land so famous.Sinclair sought out to highlight the commercialist capitalism that defined the many aspects of American society that rendered the conditions of the country almost unacceptable for immigrants. Given the profit driven nature of the business owners of the seemingly Progressive America at the turn of the 20th century, the work conditions were more often neglected and the plight of the laborers extended to their entire family structure.
Summary: The story is largely credited to be fictional but it is evident that it pertains largely to a select regime that saw similar setbacks in its time. Sinclair presented the story of a newly wed couple with the protagonist Jurgis Rudkus, who belongs to a somewhat poor background, marrying and moving to Chicago with his family in the hopes of making it big there. Of course, being of Lithuanian origin, this was bound to take a turn for the worst as Jurgis quickly discovered how power driven the rich bosses of America were. His admiration for their lust quickly turned into contempt as he realized that the primary buttress to their profits was the helplessness of foreigners who, like himself, were only too eager to work long grueling hours in order to provide for basic amenities. Eventually, this led to sickness, family disruptions, victimization, and the eventual death of his wife. As Jurgis gathers himself together, Sinclair makes stark jibes at Progressive Capitalism and how it has plagued the very roots of civilian Americans in so much as depriving them of their humane rights. As such, he suggests Socialism as the way forward. Analysis Sinclair was particularly displeased with the way laborers were treated during his time. More so, the profit oriented business elite were displayed as cynical tyrants who strove for power and money every chance they could. The first evidence of this was in the treatment of hogs. Sinclair exemplified this trait by depicting the workings of the meat-packing industry through the eyes of Jurgis, the poor immigrant meatpacker. Jurgis observed that every part of the hog was utilized for profit. He cringed at the sight of them squealing and drifted into philosophical ideologies relating to their helplessness; “… that there was nowhere a god of hogs… to whom these hogs squeals had a meaning” (Sinclair 33). Jurgis expressed his relief about not being a hog himself, which demonstrated his naivety with regards to the work ahead. It is no doubt that Sinclair wanted to signify that there was no humane connection between the meatpacking business vendors and the animals that were churned into profit. Seemingly, this was the same with regards to the workers they hired. To counter the plight of the workers, Sinclair suggested the use of unions, which was prevalent at the time. Jurgis found representation in the meetings he attended, which taught him not only English but the importance of fighting for your rights. It was, in essence, a religion; “Here, however, was a new religion – one that did touch him, that took hold of every fiber of him; and with all the zeal and fury of a convert he went out as a missionary” (Sinclair 85). The problem here was, the unions themselves were a misrepresentation of the ongoing efforts. It is true that they gave the workers a voice but what they did not manage was an end result since union members consisted of spies and leaders were often bought off. Moreover, the union members often fell victim to discrimination as a result of any unpleasantness with the managers, as seen by the telegram sent by Durham and Company warning all packing centers not to “employ any union leaders” (Sinclair 272). Sinclair describes the rigors of greed and gluttony that marked virtually every rich political ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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