Amer. Hist. II
Book Review 1: The Jungle
America has always been the country of opportunity and new beginnings. It is a place to start a fresh and better life for immigrants (at least that’s what they think). In Upton Sinclair’s book The Jungle Lithuanian immigrant Jurgis wants to better his and several members of his family’s lives. He does this by packing up and traveling to America, but he is unaware of the downfalls in his future. The family members who came along with Jurgis are Ona, his soon to be wife, Jurgis’ father Antanas, Ona’s stepmother Elzbieta, her three kids, and her brother Jonas.
When they arrive in Chicago (Packingtown) they are scammed into buying a house as well as at a loss of money for the unpaid wedding reception. Jurgis claims in order to fix this he will just work harder. Packingtown is known for the meat packing industry and also a main area of Lithuanian immigration. The family soon sets out to find jobs. Most of them find jobs quickly, but not “good” jobs. Most of the jobs in Packingtown are plagued with horrible working conditions, poor pay, and little respect from owners to workers. Jurgis’ father soon passes and Ona later has a son. Jurgis has much trouble throughout the book holding jobs due to injury or bad luck. When winter comes around in Packingtown the hardships get even harder and the ability to live becomes less likely then likely. Jurgis later finds out that his wife Ona is being forced by her boss to sleep with him. Jurgis assaults the man and is imprisoned. From this point on Jurgis struggles and so does his family. They lose their home; Ona passes away during childbirth and Jurgis’ son Antanas drowns. Jurgis is once again imprisoned for assault. He then reunites with Jack Duane and they become partners and Jurgis begins to work within the corruption of politics. Jurgis later tries to find what’s left of his family but soon becomes a lost soul until he stumbles into a socialist party...