Summary Of The Jungle By Upton Sinclair

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Since his childhood, Upton Sinclair suffered through poverty in the United States. Through writing, he payed for his college education at age fifteen, where he learned about socialist philosophy. This philosophy influenced his writing. In his book, The Jungle, Sinclair explores the unfairness of a capitalist society through the story of an immigrant family. To show the evils of capitalism, Sinclair writes about the Rudkus family, who endure through the corruption and brutality of America after emigrating from Lithuania. After acclimating to life in America, the Rudkus family discovers its rampant corruption. Upon visiting a jail, which “was a Noah’s ark of the city’s crime,” Jurgis thinks that the prisoners “had been everywhere and tried everything” …show more content…

Further establishing this analogy of life in America, Sinclair states that “lusts were raging fires, and men were fuel, and humanity was festering and stewing and wallowing in its own corruption” (168). Throughout the book, several characters’ actions show the truth to this analogy; they take advantage of others as “fuel” to their desires. For example, the “high-class criminal world of Chicago” merely “was… an oligarchy of businessmen” who corrupt the city (266). By buying votes, hiring speakers, and distributing drinks, these businessmen manipulate the transfer of power in Chicago. Furthermore, “the police department, and the fire department, and water departments, and the …show more content…

Because Jurgis’s father, Dede Antanas, cannot find a good job, he must support the family through hard labor. The job took its toll on him; “the sores would never heal - in the end, his toes would drop off, if he did not quit” (78). However, Dede “saw the suffering of his family… [s]o he tied up his feet, and went on limping about and coughing” (78). Eventually, he “fell to pieces” because of the difficulty of the job (78). During the winter, Jurgis risks his life by working in an unheated slaughterhouse. In the summer, “the hot weather there descended upon Packingtown a veritable Egyptian plague of flies” (103). However, he must continue to work; the possibility of losing his job poses a greater threat than injuring himself. Eventually, when he sprains his ankle, Jurgis cannot work. Disregarding the health of its workers in favor of their production, “the injury was not one that Durham and Company could be held responsible for” (116). This leads Jurgis to go three months without pay. Therefore, the cruelty of these jobs harms the Rudkus family not only through physical pain but also through the loss of their

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