The Jungle Essay Research Paper Its a

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The Jungle Essay, Research Paper Its a Jungle Out There The Jungle has been compared to the writings of Leo Tolstoy and other nineteenth-century Russian novelists and to such French naturalists as Zola in its complete pessimism, its mood of black despair, and unrelieved tragedy. The setting is the stockyards and slums of Chicago. A succession of races–the Germans, the Irish, the Bohemians, the Poles, the lithuanians, the Slovaks–had followed each other as stockyard workers, lured from their Old World villages to America by agents of the packers with promises of phenomenal wages.(346) The Jungle, considered Upton Sinclair s greatest achievement, shows the unsafe and disgusting conditions in the meat packing plants that the workers and animals had to live and die with.

However, the main purpose was to move the reader on the path to socialism, something in which Sinclair truly believed in. The Jungle was not recognizes for this, though, and Sinclair showed his disappointment with his often quoted remark about aiming for the public s heart and hitting the stomach instead. Nonetheless, the characters, themes, and styles of writing Sinclair used show how important Socialism was and how horrible Capitalism was at that time. In the novel, the main character named Jurgis(Yoorghis) sees that everyone that comes into contact with capitalism is either taken advantage of in every way possible, or becomes greedy, dishonest, and materialistic, both of which Jurgis had lived first hand. Jurgis sees the deceitfulness used by the political machine in the

packing yards of Chicago. When the elections come around every year, he is bribed to vote under many different names, and is paid four dollars, equal to a week worth of work. Also, Jurgis is paid five dollars to pick up paychecks for imaginary city workers. Later in the novel, Jurgis becomes involved in the political machine. He becomes one of the henchmen for the political powers in the packing yards. After he gets put in jail, he is forced to buy his way out, which costs him everything he has. After he is forced to live like a tramp again, he feels an powerlessness about his life, an empty feeling. He misses how he used to live extravagantly, and wonders how he could have lived without it. Another character that finds the evils of capitalism is Marija, who is forced in a life

of prostitution and drug use due to the competitive nature of capitalism. When she first tries to get a job in the meat plants, she needs to bribe the forewomen in order to get the job. Also while Marija is trying to support the family without Jurgis, she is led to a life of prostitution because it is the only job she can obtain. While living in the brothel, she gets a morphine addiction, and she finds that she was having to pay for living there, which amounts to basically the entire paycheck. Marija soon finds out that she cannot support her family due to the capitalist mindset in Chicago. She figures that being a prostitute is better than having to starve and live on the street. In the final chapter, Marija gives up all hope of trying, as apparent in the following quote: No,

she answered, I ll never stop. What s the use of talking about it? I ll stay here till I die, I guess. (325) Therefore, due to the evils of capitalism, characters in the novel show the entire social system to prove that all that come in contact with capitalism are brutalized and corrupted. During the course of the novel, Sinclair uses many themes. One major theme is materialism and merciless competition had made America into a metaphorical jungle. When Sinclair describes the thousands of people waiting to just get a chance at getting employment, he shows that the naturalistic nature of the packing yards. He shows that the people have little chance of getting employment, or even surviving in the brutal jungle of Chicago. These naturalistic lives are something that Sinclair wishes