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Compare and Contrast Two Books - Essay Example

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“I will work harder,” vowed Jurgis, the main character of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, when the problems in his life seemed overwhelming and insurmountable. (Sinclair, p. 17) His pledge appears to be the continuing mantra of the meat packing industry in the United States…
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Download file to see previous pages The workers were immigrants at the beginning of the twentieth century and are still immigrants today. Only their nationality has changed. A hundred years ago they were Eastern European and Caucasian. They emigrated from the then economically troubled nations of Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Germany on board passenger ships traversing the Atlantic, travelling third-class or steerage. They entered the United States legally through the main immigration gateway at Ellis Island outside the New York harbor. Some of their number included children and younger women. (Sinclair, p. xxi) Today, they are of Latin origins, predominately Mexican, travelling, more often than not, illegally across the southern border of the United States on foot or by car, truck, or bus. And far more of their numbers are women than one hundred years ago. (Schlosser, www.mcspotlight.org/media/press/rollingstone2.html)
The manner in which the workers live has also changed only on the surface, but the deeper characteristics of their lives remain a constant. The location of slaughterhouses in the nineteenth century began in the midst of large urban areas such as Chicago. (Sinclair, p. xxxiii) In the latter part of the twentieth century it was discovered that moving them closer to the feedlots was more economically efficient, and thus they are now located close to stockyards and feedlots in rural, agricultural areas of the United States. (Schlosser, web book) However, moving the workplace did not change the location or living conditions of the workers. One hundred years ago they lived “Back of the Yards”, in substandard housing within walking distance of the plants. The rancid odor of the plant and the thick acrid smoke of the factory smokestacks were their daily air supply. Organic waste was daily pumped into the Chicago River which also ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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