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Book review - Essay Example

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Name History 371 20 September 2012 The Jungle Part One: Summary of the Novel The book tells the story of Jurgis Rudkus, a Lithuanian who migrated to the United States, hoping to fulfill his dreams for a better life. The story begins with the wedding in Chicago of Jurgis to fifteen year old Ona Lukoszaite, a fellow immigrant…
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Download file to see previous pages With the little savings of Jurgis, the voyage of the immigrants which include the father of Jurgis Dede Antanas, Teta Elzbieta and her children, and Ona’s cousin Marija Berczynskas came to reality. The family settled in Packingtown, a district of Chicago known for its meatpacking industry. Jurgis has resolved that he would work hard. Soon the family realized that life for immigrants in Packingtown is not easy. They all have to work, including women and children, in the slaughterhouses for twelve hours a day to survive. The family encountered numerous problems such as falling prey to scrupulous real estate agent, corruption, unsanitary working condition, unfair labor practices, and poverty. Jurgis was jailed when he attacked Phil Connor, the boss of Ona, when he learned from Ona that Phil had raped her and threatened to fire her from her job if she will not give in to his sexual demands. After his imprisonment, Jurgis returns to his family, only to be told that they were already evicted from their house. The fate of Jurgis and his family was turning very bad and came to its worst turn when Ona dies giving birth to her second child at the age of eighteen. This was followed by the death of their first child who drowned in the muddy street. These series of misfortunes led Jurgis to seek sojourn in the rural part of the country. Jurgis found out that even outside Packingtown, he could not escape poverty. Jurgis returns to Chicago and worked several odd jobs outside of the meatpacking industry such as digging tunnels, being a political hack, and con-man. But his self-worth and sense of personal pride and integrity continue to bother him, thus he drifts in life with no meaning and direction. One night, as Jurgis was seeking for a warm place to stay, he found himself listening to a speech of a charismatic Socialist speaker. The message struck him and he realized that the company of these people advocating socialism gives him the sense of belonging and has given him a purpose in life. From then on, Jurgis attended socialist gatherings and it beckons to him that socialism as well as labor unions are the answer to his and his family’s sufferings and to all the others who have endured what he went through in life. The story ends with a socialist rally that comes after a victorious win in the political arena of the socialist group. The speaker gives remarkable encouragement to his fellow socialist and proclaims “Chicago will be ours!” Part Two – Context of the Novel The novel was written in 1906, a time when a huge number of immigrants from Europe come to the United States to answer the call inscribed clearly on the famous Statue of Liberty – “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” It was written to strongly uphold that socialism was the answer to capitalism and as such was truly polemic in nature. Uston Siclair was successful in presenting the negative impacts of capitalism such as corruption among the capitalists and wage slavery among workers. Sinclair has introduced the “goodness” of socialism in every turn of event in the story particularly to the immigrants who were unskilled and therefore employers offer low wages for measly jobs. The workers could not demand better wages because there were so many immigrants willing to do the work. ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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