The Jungle Review
The Jungle is a perfect example of an effective form of muckraking journalism that affected the masses and catalyzed the reform movements of the Progressive Era. The Jungle written by Upton Sinclair was a story that not only focused on the unfortunate life of a Lithuanian family headed by a man named Jurgis, searching for the American dream, but also the corruption and reform attempts of the Chicago government and Packingtown. Even though Sinclair discusses the corruption, bribery, and union system that control the working class, it is left to the reader to decide whether Sinclair’s accounts are accurate depictions of Chicagoan society. In comparison to historical facts and documents discussed in class, the stories of reform and corruption amongst the classes in The Jungle are accurately depicted as truthful to an extent.
Upton Sinclair uses each chapter of this book to convey the working class’ failures in the economic and social system of Chicago. His story centers on Jurgis, a Lithuanian national and the family he brought to America to search for freedom and prosperity. Their plight represents the struggle of the working class in capitalist America. 1 Throughout the novel, Jurgis and his family have a high belief that their hard work and strong ethics will set them up for a successful and happy future, but in each chapter there is something that makes this goal virtually unobtainable. For example, Jurgis is prideful of his new job at the slaughterhouse, but many of the other workers say that over time, Jurgis will grow to hate his jobs and conditions they work in just like the rest.2 Later on, Marija, Jurgis’ wife’s cousin, is fired for being in a union that goes on strike.3 This situation was common amongst other historical strikes by unions. These unions would fight for higher wages and better conditions, but they would lose many of the strikes because laws gave the companies all of the power. Many times the union workers are...
Bibliography: Bloom, Harold. Editor, Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, (Infobase Publishing, 2002, p 11.
Mary Norton, Carol Sheriff, David Blight, Howard Chudacoff, Fredrick Logevall, and Beth
Bailey, A People & A Nation Ninth Edition Volume II: Since 1865 (Wadsworth: Cengage Learning, 2012), p 578.
Upton, Sinclair. The Jungle. (Massachusetts, Cambridge: 1971).
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