Upton Sinclair was born on September 20th, 1878 in Baltimore, Maryland. Upton was sent to Chicago by a socialist newspaper company to expose the terrible treatment of people working in the meat packing industry. After a few weeks of undercover research, he wrote The Jungle. At first the book was rejected by publishers but then when it finally got released, it caused a public complaint and altered how people bought their food. As an outcome, The Pure Food and Drug Act, and The Meat Inspection Law were passed in 1906.
The Jungle is in fact a novel. The purpose that Upton Sinclair intended to show when he wrote this book was the severe conditions and abused lives of foreigners in the United States, within Chicago, and alike industrialized cities. The central idea inside the text is the corruption of capitalism and the book especially shows the failure of capitalism in most parts of the novel, which Sinclair believes is cruel, hurtful, unfair, vicious, and out of control.
The Jungle starts of with a guy named Jurgis getting married to his fiancé Ona In Chicago’s meatpacking district, Packing town. Going back a year, in Lithuania, Jurgis finds out that one of his friends that moved to the USA got rich because he moved to the USA so Jurgis talks to his family and they decide to move to the US. Once they get to America, Jurgis finds a job in Chicago’s industrial stockyards, where lots of cattle are killed and processed into different things every day. Jurgis finds a job but their living condition was already awful, so they needed to start looking for a house, but they can’t afford one yet. Some of the other family members got jobs so they decided to put a down payment on a house but then a neighbor warns them that if they miss a payment, they will be evicted because the down payment doesn’t really matter. They lose and gain a couple of jobs, then a couple times, Ona had been staying at work because it was too cold for her to walk home, which was a lie and her boss was actually raping her and told her that if she did anything he would make sure nobody in the family would get jobs. After Jurgis finds this out he goes and beats Ona’s boss up and then he goes to jail. After Jurgis gets out of jail he finds out that the family had been evicted. Ona, while giving birth dies and so does the baby so to cope with it Jurgis gets drunk. After a couple times of getting fired/released and finding a job again, Jurgis comes home to his baby that was born before Ona’s death and he had drowned and had died. Jurgis doesn’t care about anything anymore so he becomes a criminal. Jurgis makes $300 from his new job but then he beats up the guy who rapped Ona which didn’t go well with his boss because the rapist was good friends with Jurgis’s boss, and he went to jail again. When out of jail again, his life depends on socialism now. He now has a steady job a hotel run by a fellow socialist.
One of the strengths that I have found in the novel is the use of description whether it be while Jurgis it is touring his first job at the meat place, or the house that they were going to buy but then found out it was a scam, etc. Some of the weaknesses of this book were that I was having trouble seeing who is related to who, I couldn’t find out who Marija was until the end of the book. An outstanding idea that popped out to me closer to the end of the book is when it talks about socialism and how they are fighting for workers’ rights because there are current events right now that are happening like this scenario like LGBTIQA+ rights, so I found it interesting that even 100 years later, we are still having these issues.
I believe that Upton Sinclair did a great job on conveying the message throughout this book and I am glad the book because popularized because it was an important time in history that needed to change and there are still things with immigration that need to change. Sinclair made sure that the reader could understand the main points of the story which the evil of capitalism were, how brutal it was to be an immigrant in that time, and how socialism came into play during that time.
Cite this Essay
To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below