The Wretched Lives Of Workers In Upton Sinclair's 'The Jungle'

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The Wretched Lives of Workers America during the early 20th Century was a time full of selfish capitalists and the poverty-stricken workers who paid for their success. The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair, captures this perfectly with the portrayal of Jurgis Rudkus. Jurgis is a newly immigrated person to the United States with his family when they realize they need jobs and a place to live. Throughout the book, Jurgis finds new jobs such as in meat factories and fertilizer plants but loses them as well. The book is full of tragedies ranging from Jurgis losing his job to the death of his wife and child. In The Jungle, Upton Sinclair successfully shows how the working class was affected by capitalistic America, by the lack of safety standards, and…show more content…
This causes Jurgis to spend a lot of their money on alcohol in order to allow himself to “see clearly” again. Sinclair shows how the poor reacted to the neglect, by making Jurgis become a drunk who abused his family 's money. From the article “Realism and Revolution”, Walter Rideout remarks, “When illness destroys Jurgis 's great strength, he realizes that he has become a physical cast-off, one of the waste products of the plant, and must take the vilest job of all in the packing company 's fertilizer plant.” (Rideout) As Jurgis lives through his life of poverty, he becomes weaker and weaker until he becomes worthless to employers. This causes Jurgis to have little self-worth, or as Rideout puts, Jurgis believes he is “one of the waste products of the plant” (Rideout). Jurgis was not the only character to be belittled, Rideout also puts, “After their pathetically happy marriage, the descent of Jurgis and Ona into the social pit is steady. They are spiritually and, in the case of Ona, physically slaughtered, more slowly but quite as surely as the cattle in the packing plant.” Not only Jurgis, but his wife Ona as well was mentally affected. The world that the immigrants at the time lived in was very demanding and caused many problems for
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