The Jungle Critical Analysis

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Andrew Force
The Jungle Critical Analysis

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair is a powerful piece of classical literature. Indeed, it is arguably Sinclair's most famous of all prior and latter works of art due to the simple fact it had such an impact on the meatpacking industry. Oddly enough, Sinclair didn't achieve his underlying goal in stressing the importance of a socialistic society, but rather society focused on the atrocities of the how their food was being prepared in factories. The Jungle is a fictional novel, set in the early 20th century in Chicago. Immigrants from Northern Europe looking to live the American dream make the bold move after hearing word of friends striking it rich. The family quickly finds work, with the men in the household eventually getting work from the local stockyard. The protagonist Jurgis is immediately overjoyed to have a job, denies to join a union because he is all but ecstatic with the poor working conditions, and believes he is making a good living for his family. The Jungle couldn't be a better title for this book, as the immigrant family is eaten alive by conmen, politicians, dirty employers, lawyers, and shoddy living conditions. Jurgis slowly but surely realizes America isn't what he thought it was after being conned more often than not, and seeing his family suffer. Jurgis eventually educates himself on politics and English and tries to make change, but it comes too late and most of his family either dies or runs away. Grief stricken with the death of his wife, Jurgis himself becomes a bum, criminal, and ultimately a socialist conspirator. One could say the end result of the novel is downright socialist propaganda disguised as a fictional heart breaking story of a crumbling family. The book's storyline takes a radical change as Jurgis becomes more involved in politics as he tries to take down capitalism and resurrect socialism from the ashes. Sinclair fails to see the errors in his own ideas while putting his political...
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