"The Jungle" by Upton Sinclair

Essay by the_golfsterCollege, UndergraduateA+, April 2003

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Upton Sinclair. The Jungle. New York: Signet Classic. 1960.

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair is a novel set in Packingtown, the meatpacking sector of Chicago. The time is set in the beginning of the twentieth century. Upton Sinclair tells the story of an immigrant named Jurgis and his family that come to America in search of wealth and the good life that they hear so much about. They believe so much in the American dream. However, life in America isn't so great. Sinclair talks about the harsh reality of life in the factories, the horrors of the slaughterhouses and their inhumane working conditions. He talks about all of the poverty, disease, and despair that are underneath the gold blanket of America. Upton Sinclair's main purpose of the novel is to warn people of the evils of capitalism and how socialism is the remedy for it. Since Jurgis and his family are from Lithuania and they are migrating into America, Sinclair shows how hard life is for immigrants in America.

He also tries to illustrate to his readers that, contrary to the belief of the time, the idea of Social Darwinism is not how the American people really run.

It's obvious that Sinclair's main goal is to persuade the reader that capitalism is evil. The definition of capitalism is an economic system of private ownership of capital. This means that there is no intervention of government into business. Sinclair tried to press the ideas of socialism and the flaws of capitalism on the people of 1906. Every event, especially in the first twenty-seven chapters of the book, is written deliberately to describe the failure of capitalism, which is, inhuman, destructive, unjust, brutal, and violent.

The slow destruction of Jurgis's immigrant family, in the world of a cruel and...