Strengths Of The Jungle

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In the novel, The Jungle, author Upton Sinclair, lays out the harsh conditions within the immigrant working class, by examining the apparent poverty that many faced, as well as their continuous lack of hope for a better life. When it comes to writing a book of this scale of disturbance but relevance during this time, historian, James R. Barrett, examines the novel by elaborting on particular strengths that reinforced this accurate depiction of these times, as well as several weaknesses that he uncovered. First and foremost, it is important to note the amount of time and effort that Sinclair went into investigating the toll that the immigrant working class took within the packing industry. Sinclair diligently disgused himself as a worker, …show more content…

This provided Sinclair with an advantage when comparing himself to other novelist during this time, because he didn’t only see how this mass production was at play, but he was also able to hear first-hand accounts of the emotional and physical sturggles that the workers were facing. Furthermore, Barrett explains how Sinclair refused to sugar-coat or dust over any areas of great disturbance within this industry. Barrett adds, “Sinclair’s real genius, clearly displayed in The Jungle, was an unrelenting realism in describing the grittier details of life among common people” (xv). This is a very important aspect of this novel, because despite the stomach-churring details and scenes that one may have experienced, instead of masking it and creating something that is less significant, Sinclair dove deep into the depths of the packing industry, and uncovered every hidden corner of the packing industry. However, Barret explains that because of Sinclair’s extensive detail within the pages of The Jungle, the overall goal that Sinclair initially wanted to achieve was partially skewed, by ‘accidently hitting the public in the stomach rather than their hearts’ …show more content…

Instead of honing in on the social aspect, and the workers in general, many scholars and students are taught that the main purpose of this novel was to unveal the meat-packing conditions and the lack of policies and standards regarding the health of the public. To add, Barrett states, “...the slaughterhouses and the fate of the animals consigned there symbolized a much greater human tragedy being played out in factories and urban slums throughout the world” (xiii). This perfectly sums up that the initial goal of Sinclair’s writing was intended to emphasize and focus in on the hearts of humans, but rather as previously mentioned, ended up hitting them in the stomach, in relation to the unsanitary and disturbing conditions that America’s food was being processed. Another valid part was the lack of emphasis on American’s social life. This served as a prime weakness that Barrett explained, which he states, “The social and cultural lives of the immigrants disintegrate under the pressures of daily life in an urban slum” (xix). In other words, a weakness that was proposed regards the social aspect of the workers, by almost dehumanizing them, making them seem less human, but rather “machines” working non-stop, for little pay. In addition, “Through such images, Sinclair drains his characters of their human agency” (Barrett, xix), which

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