Summary Of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle

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Written by Upton Sinclair in 1906, The Jungle is a novel meant to describe the social and political situation of the time, having as a basis his undercover investigation in a meatpacking plant in Chicago, for the socialist newspaper Appeal to Reason. The story, set in the Chicago of the time, describes the life of a group of immigrants that, persuaded by the idea of the American Dream, embarked themselves in the most important journey of their lives. In the city, they would have to overcome the many challenges that an industrial city holds, such as the meatpacking industry, that sells spoiled meat, and oppresses workers, having to work long hours for a minimum wage. The book soon became one of the most influential books of its time. It turned …show more content…

It would not be strange that this ideology takes an important role in the outcome of the story, as part of Jurgis’ “solution” and new source of hope. For the writer, of Socialist roots, the American Dream was just a mirage, directing millions of immigrants into poverty and oppression. As in most industrial cities, workers had a very tough life. They mostly lived in tenements, small flats that could hold several families, located in very poor places, and holding unsanitary conditions. This was not their only threat to their lives. Workers had to spend the whole day, sacrificing their vitality, working in dangerous places, just to gain a minimum wage and being later demoted to eat the spoiled meat they produce. The author took advantage of the harsh climatic conditions of Chicago to accentuate the extreme working conditions of immigrants. Although noticeable, Jurgis belated to understand that “there was no justice, there was no right, anywhere in it--it was only force, it was tyranny, the will and the power, reckless and unrestrained!”(Sinclair …show more content…

On the beginning of the XX century, the meatpacking industry was unregulated and incredibly dangerous. Simple habits, such as washing the hands and the use of hairnets were unknown. This, together with other unhealthy practices, contaminated the resultant meat with dirt, human hair and sweat. However, this was not the only issue concerning that industry. In the end, the meat appropriate for intake would be mixed with ruined meat and chemicals, as the author illustrates, “There was never the least attention paid to what was cut up for sausage; there would come all the way back from Europe old sausage that had been rejected, and that was mouldy and white—it would be dosed with borax and glycerine, and dumped into the hoppers, and made over again for home consumption” (Sinclair

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