The Jungle by Upton Sinclair - Essay Example

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Name Instructor Course Date The Jungle by Upton Sinclair The Jungle by Upton Sinclair was widely credited for its in-depth documentation and exposure of the horrific working conditions during the early years of the 20th century. The novel was created from an underlying theme that depicted political and social nature of the society at the time…
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The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
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Download file to see previous pages The novel begins from a societal setting typified by poverty and other social challenges. The main actor, Jurgis Rudhus, who lived in a small town of Lithuania, fell in love with a young woman named Ona, who had just been orphaned. The level of poverty that was experienced by Jurgis, together with his extended family, pushed him to think of an alternative way of making ends meet (Sinclair 14). At the time, Jonas, one of his step-uncles had a friend who had a job in the United States and had amazingly progressed. The news made Jurgis consider moving to the United States together with the entire family in a bid to find a better life. They were tired of their country since hierarchies and social rules had contributed to their poor standards of living. Sinclair uses the novel to illustrate the poor, working conditions and struggles experienced by the workforce under capitalistic economy. He also uses the novel as a tool for highlighting the plight of immigrants in America. Initially, Jurgis and the entire extended family moved to America with the hope of getting well paying employment opportunities that could guarantee them a decent life. Right from the onset, they remained stuck to their faith in the American dream. However, as the story unfolds none of the expectations seemed to be realizable since they found a totally different scenario. In fact, the conditions that they experienced were far much worse than those experienced in Lithuania (Sinclair and Clare 37). Through the experience of the Lithuania immigrants, Sinclair uncovers hypocrisy of the American dream. Throughout the story, virtually all aspects of the family life were a direct opposite of the purported American dream that they had hopefully subscribed. The immigrants expected to find a land, full of opportunity, high standards of morality, equality, acceptance, and success, but instead, they found out that the new location was full of exploitation, prejudice, graft, crime, and corruption. Sinclair does not directly attack the American dream, but he chose to use the manner in which the family disintegrated, under capitalism to indicate that it was a wrong strategy for realizing the American dream. He indicated that capitalism impacted negatively on the efforts of realizing the American dream because of its close association with evils such as, greed, graft, corruption, and exploitation. The novel began with a united extended family who shared a common goal and vision. Through the use of social traditions like the wedding feast in Chapter 1, the author sought to portray the goodness of a family. The author uses a family as a basic group in the society that acts as a source of consolation and help during times of need. However, as the story unfolds, we find that the family disintegrates. The disintegration of the family was used purposely by the author to reveal the degree of the destructive nature of capitalism. The economic and social challenges that were experienced by Jurgis and his entire family led to disintegration of the family. Jurgis finally abandons his family, as Jonas disappeared, and Marija became a drug addict, and a prostitute (Bloom 31). The author also chose to use a family unit to reveal how capitalism could lead to loss of basic family and societal morals. At the beginning of the story, Jurgis family was typified by love, support, care, and togetherness. As the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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