Harsh Conditions of Being an Immigrant In 'The Jungle Book'

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The Jungle is a book written by Upton Sinclair in 1906 and it is about the harsh conditions of being an immigrant coming to America and how the American Dream is questionable. Sinclair's work stirred up plenty of controversy with how the meat industry worked during that time because his work ultimately birthed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Also, this book was generally about how capitalism impacted the poor very negatively, while the rich and powerful people only gained from this system. Since the poor had no control or say in almost anything, the wealthy and powerful ruled politicians, jobs, and much more. Due to these people being in control, it led to families similar to Jurgis's to live a cruel life they were not supposed to. 

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Jurgis and many others proceeded to then start believing in the idea of socialism after everything he has been through since his arrival to America. Throughout the whole story, capitalism is seen ruining and exploiting the lives of Jurgis and his family. Capitalism is basically where private individuals and corporations play a huger role in the economy than the people, as seen in The Jungle. Jurgis finally had heard about the socialism idea because it favored his own interests were never truly appealed with capitalism. Socialism according to merriam -webster.com, ' Any various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of the production and distribution of goods.' To sum the definition up it is when competition and pay in the workplace is no more, and everyone is now seen as equal, even with the different jobs people have. In today's society, competition is already taught to us when we were really little, so socialism changes all of that. Jurgis also realizes that communism is very evident with capitalism, so he wants to make a change by resorting over to socialism, since he came to America for an opportunity.

Socialism must appeal to Jurgis because he is part of one of those immigrant families struggling to find economic success in a country where success was promised. In The Jungle it says, 'Here was a population, low – class and mostly foreign, hanging always on the verge of starvation, and dependent for opportunities of life upon the whim of men every bit as brutal and unscrupulous as the old – time drivers; under such circumstances immortality was exactly as inevitable, and as prevalent, as it under the system of chattel slavery.'(Sinclair, 126) This is a great quote that depicts the lives of poor family immigrants, like Jurgis, who have had to struggle under the system of capitalism. Sinclair compares the capitalist system to 'chattel slavery,' since poor families are being treated like they are slaves with starvation, little opportunity, and life for them is seen as brutal. Due to this, Jurgis's appeal to socialism is basically inevitable because the idea of socialism means his family and himself are no longer seen as inferior, but rather an equal in the eyes of society. He would finally get the pay and life he deserves to support the rest of his family. Ultimately, socialism is the not the best idea to come ever exist, since everyone is seen as completely equal and that does not go well with a lot people, but for Jurgis socialism does appeal to him. Packingtown is a Lithuanian city in Chicago during the early 1900's or when The Jungle was made it is where the meat industry is most predominant. Across the story, Packingtown has not been all too great to Jurgis and his family because of corrupt government officials and people, harsh working conditions, the weather, and a whole lot more. Mentally, Jurgis has lost a lot of things and people because of Packingtown. 

During one part of the story Jurgis is now living the life of a criminal to survive the streets of Packingtown. He loses a part of himself when he decided to rob from a rich man because he no longer has the ideology of being the good and noble man he used to be. He has had to endure the loss of many loved ones including his wife, his kids, and a few more relatives. After the amount of people he has had to lose throughout his time in Packingtown, he lost his control of his emotions, his mind, and his dignity. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), 'Loss is understood as a natural part of life, but we can still be overcome by shock and confusion, leading to prolonged periods of sadness or depression.' Jurgis goes into a deep depression when he finds out his only son, Antanas, drowned while he was at work so, he eventually abandons his family. He is seen going through multiple drinking binges to help fight his depression and sadness, but it still does not end up working because harmed a bartender who tried to scam him from one hundred dollars. 

Physically, he has lost a few jobs due to injury and because he has attacked people who have a lot more authority over Jurgis. Those jobs were vital to the family of Jurgis because they really needed the money he was earning to survive the harshness of Packingtown. Also, Jurgis loses connection with his only powerful person he knew, Mike Scully, so at that point it was extremely difficult for Jurgis to find a good and steady job

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