Giant industries had an enormous amount of control at the turn of the century in United States; the greed of the powerful ones has turned the American Dream into a nightmare for an ordinary worker. Idea of "Social Darwinism" was a very popular one at a time, it argued for government's noninterference in private economic affairs, "Social Darwinism" applied survival of the fittest to the economic atmosphere, which meant the rich are going to get richer and the poor will only get poorer and eventually die out. Upton Sinclair, a well rounded in socialist circles writer, was shocked by the way the working class was being exploited and the way consumers were being hoaxed, and as a result he writes The Jungle in 1905.
In writing The Jungle Upton Sinclair wanted to expose the evils of capitalism, and the suffering of the wage earners. Sinclair follows the life of Lithuanian immigrant family that moves to Chicago in hope for a better life.
Meatpacking industry is focused upon as the author describes the hardships of immigrant life in America. The book starts with a wedding scene. Jurgis, the main character of the novel, is getting married to Ona. Although Lithuanian traditions require the guests to give money to newlyweds, so many freeloaders come to the celebration that Jurgis and Ona start their life together in debt. Jurgis is portrayed as strong and big, but can come up with only one solution, which reoccurs on many other instances in the book: "... I will work harder" (p. 19). As soon as family members get jobs at the meat packing factories Sinclair has a chance to describe in detail the horror of the meatpacking industry. Jurgis' father Antanas works in the chemical room where the beef was canned, his...