Rhetorical Analysis of the Jungle

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Rhetorical Analysis of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle

The Jungle, being a persuasive novel in nature, is filled with different rhetorical devices or tools used by Sinclair to effectively convey his message. Sinclair’s goal of encouraging change in America’s economic structure is not an easy feat and Sinclair uses a number of different rhetorical devices to aid him. Through his intense tone, use of periodic sentencing, descriptive diction and other tools of rhetoric, Upton Sinclair constructs a moving novel that makes his message, and the reasoning behind it, clear.

Sinclair’s use of periodic sentences allows him to cram details and supporting evidence into his sentence before revealing his interpretation of the evidence. Take for example, “Here was a population, low-class and mostly foreign, hanging always on the verge of starvation, and dependent for its opportunities of life upon the whim of men every bit as brutal and unscrupulous as the old-time slave drivers; under such circumstances immorality was exactly as inevitable, and as prevalent, as it was under the system of chattel slavery.” (Sinclair 88). By formatting his idea that low-class, working immigrants in America live in circumstances easily comparable to slavery into a periodic sentence, Sinclair is able to give supporting detail after supporting detail as to why this is true while saving his conclusion for the end. This allows the reader to go through the natural process of thinking, making observations and then forming a conclusion. The conclusion, that these immigrants are practically slaves, becomes the reader’s own conclusion.

The tone throughout The Jungle is intense and at times disturbing. This serves Sinclair by helping to show the dire importance of his message and why the reader should care about what he has to say. If Sinclair’s novel lacked this intense tone, his depictions of the appalling living conditions of lower class immigrants in America would have been less moving; therefor...
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