The Importance Of Knowledge In Upton Sinclair's The Jungle

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When Upton Sinclair, a progressive era muckraker, wrote The Jungle in 1906, he was attempting to bring knowledge of the horrific conditions in Packingtown to the average citizen. His revelations on the terrors of Packingtown helped to slowly improve the lives of the immigrants. Sinclair’s pursuit of knowledge relates to the slowly growing knowledge of the characters in The Jungle. Throughout the story the characters find themselves in many tragic circumstances that could have been more easily avoided if they had been more aware of their surroundings. The immigrants are full of a false hope for success that disillusions the reality of their life. Examples of the consequences of lack of ignorance can be found in other literary works such as Two Sheep by Janet Frame. The overwhelming absence of knowledge in combination with unrealistic hope is the cause of the frequent dilemmas they encounter, and by that definition, can be considered the antagonist of The Jungle.
The first situation that delivers the Rudkus family into difficult circumstances transpires before they even enter America. The very decision to leave Lithuania and come to America was fraught with invalid information. The Rudkus family eagerly believes the misrepresentative aspirations of what life in America is truly like. If they had known the real nature of the …show more content…

The first sheep is aware of his hastily approaching death and is able to use his knowledge of the freezing works to avoid the situation. The second sheep is unaware of the fate that awaits them and is impatient and frustrated with their surroundings. The second sheep is much like Jurgis in his desire to advance from his situation. Also like Jurgis the second sheep is unprepared for the truth and falls into the trap of the meat packing industry. The first sheep knows the code of the industry and continues to avoid the death that is awaiting

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