The immigration experience in the early 20th century was much different than any of the immigrants expected. Many immigrants expected America to be very nice and clean, with extremely kind people and exceptional job opportunities. When they arrived, they found America to be completely different from what they had envisioned. In The Jungle, Lithuanian immigrants One and Jurgis travel to America with their families to havfe their wedding and find work. At their wedding they encounter the first of many unpleasant U.S. citizens. The saloon owner gives them a keg of beer from a different night that is only half full although he claims it is full and fresh. People took every opportunity they could to take advantage of innocent immigrants who did not know any better.
Immigrants are taken advantage of in numerous ways. The most common way is being given much lower wages than the average American citizen. Immigrants today make up eleven percent of all United States residents, and fourteen percent of all workers in the country(urban.org). Since there is sucha small amount of them, they are easy to target. They make up twenty percent of all low-wage workers; in addition, half of all immigrant workers in the U.S. make less than 200 percent of minimum wage compared to only one-third of American workers who earn less than that(urban.org). Although it might seem the most significant, wages are merely one of the multiple ways that immigrants are treated unfairly in the United States. They come to the country with an idea of how life in America is, and they are always disappointed in what they find.
Besides their low wages, the dangerous and unsanitary working conditions are also unfair for immigrants. In The Jungle, Jurgis gets a job sweeping the entrails (remains) of slaughtered cattle in a meat packing factory. At first he is very optimistic about the job and completes it with enthusiasm, but does not understand why the other workers are so angry about the conditions. He...
Cited: “A Profile of Low Wage Immigrant Workers.” Urban Institute. 15 July 2012
“Inhumane Immigrant Treated Protested.” Peoples Weekly World. 16 July 2012
“Only 4 in 10 Americans Satisfied With Immigrant Treatment.: Gallup. 16 July 2012
Sinclair, Upton. The Jungle. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2001.
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