Zoomorphism In Upton Sinclair's The Jungle

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Zoomorphism, or the shaping of something in animal form or terms, is almost the opposite of personification. Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle illustrates early twentieth century Chicago as a metaphorical jungle primarily through the use of zoomorphism. The use of zoomorphism highlights the animalistic similarities of Chicago and the jungle, and suggests that Darwinism relates to humans. The main protagonist, Jurgis, is commonly described using negative zoomorphism. He is often compared to a wild, dumb beast, such as in the line: “he was pacing up and down his cell like a wild beast that breaks its teeth upon the bars of its cage” (Sinclair 154). Because Jurgis is described this way several times, it can be inferred that life in Chicago has brought Jurgis back to a primal state. This quote in particular indicates that although Jurgis is literally in a cell, or cage, he has been trapped figuratively as well. This is supported in the novel, and the main “trap” he faces is his family. Jurgis is also described as a “wounded buffalo” (112) and a “wounded bull” (147). The wounded buffalo is used to illustrate Jurgis’s struggle against a snowstorm, and the wounded bull zoomorphism is used to figuratively…show more content…
Sinclair illustrates Chicago as a jungle and compares his characters to animals to get his point across. The connotation of Darwinism in Sinclair’s metaphorical jungle gives insight to early twentieth century Chicago. Chicago is a place where “human beings writhed and fought and fell upon each other like wolves in a pit; in which lusts were raging fires, and men were fuel, and humanity was festering and stewing and wallowing in its own corruption. Into this wild-beast tangle these men had been born without their consent” (160). The city took everything it could from its inhabitants: their money, freedom, sometimes even health. Chicago truly used “everything about the hog except the squeal”
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