Charles Dickens uses his novel, Oliver Twist, to lead us through the filthiness and struggles in which poor people are made to live in. It shows how the rich mistreat the poor and consider them as inferiors. Oliver Twist is an orphan who lived in a workhouse were the kids were oppressed and poorly fed. The board of the workhouse treat poor people as less than humans and starve them to death. Oliver is treated as a criminal since the beginning of the story bringing him misery despite his kind and benevolent heart.
The Jungle, a novel written in 1906, by Upton Sinclair is a harsh and very real account of what child labor looked like during the time of the Industrial Revolution. This work particularly looks at the lives of Lithuanian immigrants funneling into the United States and the work they are forced to do to maintain their meager existences. The immigrants are in such a degraded state that so many are forced to have their children employed to help the family survive. The key word for these immigrants and their children was survival. Sinclair states throughout the novel that education for these immigrant children was purely a bonus, as so many had to give up schooling to help the family make ends meet.
The two plays Death of a Salesman and Fences are both very similar. both plays take place in American cities. This is post WW2 era and both families are facing the struggle of the “American Dream.” In each play the families deal with the disappointments of life during this time period. Willy Loman is the father figure in the play Death of a Salesman. He is a salesman with big dreams for himself and his two sons.
In the novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jay Gatsby’s elusiveness leads to his funeral, with all but two people not attending. All that Gatsby wanted to do was to rise above his poor upbringings and live the American Dream, just as his mentor did before him. But, the process of conquering this dream was not as smooth as it was thought to be. Through Gatsby’s lying and deceiving, Fitzgerald reveals what would be a fundamental theme of the novel: that people will do whatever it takes to make their dream a reality. As the son of two unsuccessful farmers trying to make a living in the Midwest, James Gatz was born poor.
The labor union in The Jungle advocates for child labor laws, shorter work hours, and safer working conditions. Many of the machines used to cut and package the meat cause great danger to the workers, causing them to miss work. Since there is no paid sick leave, workers lose their positions and become unemployed. At first, Jurgis sees these people as weak and undeserving of a job. As he starts to experience and understand the harshness and unfairness the workers battle each day, he then agrees to attend a meeting.
In the early 1900’s, many immigrants moved to America with hopes that they could live freely and work to have a better life. The Jungle, written by Upton Sinclair, is about a Lithuanian family who worked in the Chicago Stockyards and discovered the true horrors of working in the meatpacking plants. The theme in Upton Sinclair’s book, The Jungle, reveals how much damage capitalism caused and the effect that capitalism had on people. As the main character goes throughout life, he is constantly being set back by capitalism. “Capitalism is an economic system where private entities own the factors of production”, says Amadeo.
The 1906 novel The Jungle written by Upton Sinclair rendered the sickening work condition of immigrants in the industrialized city of Chicago. The early twentieth century was the time when Europeans were migrating to the United States many of the immigrants lived in an overcrowded urban area, and immigrants worked for low and unfair wages for American factories and businesses. At the time the city of Chicago had one of the worst poor living conditions in the United States. The Lithuanians faced the American businesses who ruthlessly manipulated them, experiencing the horrendous working conditions, and the harsh exploitation of the labor of women, men and children. Immigration.”the act of coming to live permanently in a foreign country”(dictionary).
Written as an indirect attack at the labor industry, the real driving force behind the popularity of the novel was that many readers could not fathom the truth behind the meat industry. Which means, rather than seeing change in labor rights, many people instead fixated on his vivid descriptions of meat packing in the text. Sinclair embodied such descriptions of rotten meat, toxic chemicals, dirt, sawdust and even rat droppings, that consumers across the nation could not believe was actually being sold in stores and butcher shops. The story initially begins with a Lithuanian couple who have moved to Chicago in search for a better life. Following the wedding of the two, the main character in the novel, Jurgis, pursues a job at the stockyards of Chicago.
But while The Jungle has long been associated with food production (and its disgustingness), the book is actually a much broader critique of early twentieth-century business and labor practices in the rapidly growing cities of the United States. By the time The Jungle was published at the turn of the century, the massive flow of poorer European immigrants into the United States over the previous half-century had changed the demographics of American cities. Many of these immigrants lived in overcrowded, run-down tenement buildings with no access to clean water or proper sewage systems (source). Having come to America looking for work opportunities, the immigrants provided a cheap source of labor for American factories and businesses. As Sinclair, a self-proclaimed socialist, saw it, millionaire businessmen were building up huge fortunes by exploiting their immigrant workers.
In the story, you have a father who is taken away, and we learn he is arrested for being a spy, which is a false accusation. The loss of income of the primary breadwinner forces the family into poverty. Today, with the economy still in a downturn, many people are only a pay cheque away from financial devastation. This tells us, that in the good times, no matter how little we earn, we should put away some of the money for ourselves, for the rainy days that will inevitably come. The main themes in the story are bravery, kindness and compassion, hope and optimism, and the importance of family.