Analysis Of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle

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At the turn of the 20th century, many immigrants were moving to the United States with the hopes of living the “American Dream.” However, that glittering American lifestyle is merely a distant ideal for the immigrants living in Packingtown. Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle portrays life through the eyes of a poor workingman struggling to survive in this cruel environment, where the desire for profit among the capitalist meatpacking bosses and the criminals makes the lives of the working class a nearly unendurable struggle for survival.

Throughout The Jungle, Sinclair unveils how the lower class is trapped by the very nature of capitalism. Sinclair contrasts Lithuania, where the characters were healthier and happier to where they are now, downtrodden and desperate in the slums of Chicago. The setting that Sinclair chose was vital in creating that massive uproar in society. The Jungle served to show the ills of Gilded Age capitalism, in the early 1900’s, and also showed how bad living conditions were for the poor people who worked in these industries were. Most of the novel is set in the early 1900’s Chicago district called “Packingtown” where a lot of the United States’ meat packing industry was located, as well as the people who worked in the industry. Sinclair set up Packingtown as a sad, grim, tired town that does not welcome much excitement or happiness, and rather just destroys every last bit of what happiness and hope that remains in it. The town almost seems like it is
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