Two Views of the Working Class of Chicago

Essay by hballaCollege, UndergraduateA+, October 2014

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Comparison of the Two Views of the Working Class In Chicago

At the turn of the 20th century, Chicago, which was famously known for being the meat packing industry capital in the United States, was almost entirely composed of hopeful yet ignorant immigrants. With the hopeful wishes of coming to the United States to become successful and wealthy, many immigrants readily accepted jobs that seemed to be the metaphorical genie to grant them their wishes. However sooner than later, these same immigrants would be the same ones to second-guess their decision and have their dreams tainted and shattered. In the historical texts The Jungle by Upton Sinclair and Back of the Yards by Robert Slayton, the two authors strived to explain to audiences worldwide the exact hardships and struggles the working class in Chicago had to endure to simply provide for their families and to make a living. Although Sinclair and Slayton both attempted to address these hardships, both authors had different ways of interpreting the happenings that occurred during this period of time such as the relationships, community, and political occurrences.

In The Jungle written by Upton Sinclair, Sinclair approaches the subject of the stockyards in a more gruesome and shocking manner. Written as a novel, Sinclair focuses on the protagonist of the novel Jurgis Rudkus and his family's lives. Recently married and new to America, Jurgis is determined to become the breadwinner for his family and work hard to provide for them. Therefore when he finds a job working at Packingtown, the center of the meat industry, Jurgis becomes quickly elated and is more than certain that his future in America would certainly be more than bright. However as time elapses, he is quickly faced with the harsh realities of these meat factories and all of the...