The Desensitization Of Workers In Upton Sinclair's The Jungle

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In the novel The Jungle, Upton Sinclair illustrates that “Neither the squeals of hogs nor tears of visitors made any difference to [the workers]; one by one they hooked up the hogs, and one by one with a swift stroke they slit their throats” exemplifying the desensitization of workers in the meat-packing industry (Sinclair, 35). This desensitization was the result of years of tedious work that removed all hope from the workers and left them isolated. However, it is not only the nature of the work that affected them, but those who had more power than them. The advance of the industrial revolution resulted in businessmen and bosses gaining power simultaneously while workers were becoming circumscribed by their work.
The rise of monopolies ensured
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In the beginning of the Jungle, Upton Sinclair implies that Jurgis and his family did not expect to move from the jungle in Lithuania to another allegorical one. Jurgis repeatedly assures his wife that “Leave it to me; leave it to me. I will earn more money-I will work harder” (Sinclair, 20). But the constant repetition of this throughout the novel cannot help but make one wonder whether it was true that hard work is valuable, or he wanted to convince himself that it was. It soon proved to be the latter, because as the novel progressed he loses his spirit and he even became more selfish and “went home half ‘piped’” (Sinclair, 134). The workers, in their misery, sometimes seemed to forget about the others that relied on them, even ceasing to speak with each other. For example, in On Child Labor, Andrew Carnegie reveals that even children in a breaker room who should be joyful “were bending over till their spines were curved, never saying a word all the live long day”. These children never had the time to think of anything but work, so even if they had some other talent they would not even know. The workers were stripped of their personality as quickly as meat was
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