The Jungle: Critical Analysis

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The Jungle: Critical Analysis

By | March 2005
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The Jungle: Critical Analysis
The Jungle is a novel that focuses its story on a family of immigrants who came to America looking for a better life. It was written by muckraking journalist Upton Sinclair, who went into Chicago and the stockyards to investigate what life was like for the people who lived and worked there. The book was originally written with the intent of showing Socialism as a better option than Capitalism for the society. However, the details of the story ended up launching a government investigation of the meat packing plants, and ultimately regulation of food products. It gave an informative view of what life was like in America at the time, and some of the parts of it that were not talked about. Important topics like immigration, working conditions and sanitation issues of the time were all addressed well in the novel.

Immigration was one of the heavy themes in the novel, including where immigrants came from and why they came to America, and how they were treated once they got here. The story is about a man from Lithuania, Jurgis Rudkus, who takes his family to America in hopes of attaining the American Dream. A family he knows has lost all their money to creditors in Lithuania and now have nowhere to live, but a member of the family, Jonas, talks about how a friend he knows who immigrated to America and had great success. The majority of the immigrants who came to America at this period, during the Industrial Revolution, were mainly "Lithuanians, Poles, Slovaks, or Bohemians" (28). Before them it was the Irish, and then before them the immigrants mostly coming to America were German (70). The reason that Jurgis decided that he would go to America is because of all the great things he had heard about it, about the ideal of being free. He had heard "In that country, rich or poor, a man was free, it was said; he did not have to go into the army, he did not have to pay out his money to rascally officials—he might do as he pleased,...

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