Book Review of the Jungle

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Book Review on The Jungle

As in any classic novel, there are several themes that contribute to the betterment of the story. However, the most prominent seems to be that capitalism is the root of the evils in the world, and socialism is the only cure. In my opinion, this is an excellent theme, because Sinclair truly persuades the reader into the belief that socialism is far superior to capitalism. He creates a sort of propaganda for the cause of socialism. The theme is developed subtly. The author introduces the idea of socialism in chapter 28, when Jurgis just happens to stumble upon a socialist meeting. Upon entering, he initiates his (and the readers’) intrigue into the world of politics. This method is successful, because the speech gives Sinclair a way to explain his views on politics, through a fictional third party representative of the socialist movement.

The author uses symbolism as a way to develop the theme. The setting, Packingtown, gives the reader a general sense of how hectic the capitalist government is. Jurgis is regularly competing with tens of thousands of people in the hunt for a steady job. This is symbolic of the feuding capitalist government. No matter what torment Jurgis subjects himself to, he makes little to no progress. Sinclair also utilizes gruesome imagery, as to make the reader come to the realization that this was an intensely laborious time. This imagery also contributes to illustrate the amount of corruption involved in the stockyards. There were even times that I, the reader, began to feel uncomfortable in my reading. One stomach-churning moment is when Jurgis is visiting the pork factory. “Relentless, remorseless, it was; all his protests, his screams, were nothing to it--it did its cruel will with him, as if his wishes, his feelings, had simply no existence at all; it cut his throat and watched him gasp out his life." (Chapter 3, Page 43) There were tales of people freezing to death in the winter, because of the utter...
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