Summary Of The Jungle By Upton Sinclair

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Upton Sinclair wrote The Jungle to portray the lives of wage workers in industrialized areas of the United States. His goal in publishing this story was to promote the Socialist movement, but many readers were most concerned with his exposure of health violations and unsanitary production practices in the meatpacking industry. The novel depicts working class poverty, – or “wage slavery” – the absence of social programs, harsh and unpleasant living and working conditions, and the hopelessness that wage workers experienced. He compares these components with the presence of deeply rooted corruption in people with power. During the Gilded Age, corruption was the biggest obstacle preventing workers from achieving prosperity, as well as the most …show more content…

It also provides a look into the corruption of the justice system and the democratic political process. Jurgis makes far more money by mugging, rigging elections, and working as a scab than he did as a regular wage earner. “They divided the spoils, and Jurgis got his share of fifty-five dollars and some change. He protested that it was too much…” (Sinclair 307). Jurgis makes more money as a criminal than he ever did working for the packers, so much that he feels like he does not deserve the share he receives. While he failed to achieve his American Dream when he devoted himself to a life of hard work, he now succeeds by means of unethical and selfish behavior. The profits that Jurgis makes from these practices outweigh his conscience, so he can think only about himself and ignore the suffering of his victims, just as the real estate agent and various foremen earlier ignored his …show more content…

“To Jurgis the packers had been equivalent to fate; Ostrinski showed him that they were the Beef Trust. They were a gigantic combination of capital, which had crushed all opposition, and overthrown the laws of the land, and was preying upon the people.” This quote describes the effect that the adoption of socialism had on Jurgis. He previously considers the capitalists “equivalent to fate,” believing them to be all-powerful, inhuman forces that have total control over the lives of workers. However, Ostrinski convinces him that the capitalists are merely corrupt human beings who immorally oppress those they see as being less important than themselves. Jurgis realizes that the only difference between the capitalists and the workers is money. While the capitalists have “a gigantic combination of capital,” the workers have nothing. He also observes how those who have money gained it through corruption. This quote demonstrates the opening of Jurgis’s mind to politics and economics, as he takes up the socialist cause at least as passionately as he initially embraced capitalism and the American Dream in the beginning of the

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