Immigrants Exposed In Upton Sinclair's The Jungle

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The early 1900s came with an abundance of changes. There were multiple waves of immigration causing increased social separation. There was also increased industrialization. The increase in industrialization provided many jobs for the incoming immigrants. However, these immigrants took on a lot more than just a new job when they came to America. Immigrants faced harsh living and working conditions, racial strife, poverty, as well as social class issues. Upton Sinclair’s novel The Jungle explores many of these hardships immigrants had to face through the lives of Lithuanian Immigrants. Throughout his novel, Sinclair focuses on poverty and thoughts of what America was supposed to be like to portray hardships immigrants faced when coming to America. …show more content…

For example, “How could they find out that their tea and coffee, their sugar and flour, had been doctored; that their canned peas had been colored with copper salts, and their fruit jams with aniline dyes? And even if they had known it, what good would it have done them, since there was no place within miles of them where any other sort was to be had? (148) These people do not have the money to purchase higher quality goods, the goods that do not make them ill. Since they cannot purchase the higher quality goods, they have a slew of health problems associated with their lack of money to purchase quality goods. This also results in higher medical costs worsening the poverty even more. This type of problem is one that Sinclair was adamant about fixing through socialism. Another quality problem associated with poverty was the meant Jurgis and his family were eating. Sinclair writes, “They had always been accustomed to eat a great deal of smoked sausage, and how could they know that what they bought in America was not the same – that its color was made by chemicals, and its smoky flavor by more chemicals, and that it was full of "potato flour" besides? Potato flour is the waste of potato after the starch and alcohol have been extracted; it has no more food value than so much wood.” (227). They believed they were purchasing nutritious meats and feeding their families with foods that will sustain them. These sausages had no nutritional value. They may as well have been eating cardboard. This was a problem with living in poverty. The quality of goods was sub-par. Sinclair uses the theme of poverty to give readers a closer look into the brutal lives of immigrants coming to

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