The Jungle Review Essay Research Paper The

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The Jungle Review Essay, Research Paper The Jungle Upton Sinclair’s most famous novel, The Jungle, not only symbolized an era where dirt and filth ran rampant in meat packing industry, but it also exposed people to the natural human desire of greed, power, and corruptions. This newly gained knowledge resulted in a socialist transformation. The novel follows the lives a large Lithuanian family living during the early 1900s that immigrates to the United States in the pursuit of freedom and happiness. The family of eleven took what little money they had with them to the United States with the hope of escaping poverty and providing a better life for their children. After a long, arduous journey across the Atlantic Ocean, the family arrived in New York and was swindled out most

of their savings by police who were supposed to protect them. The family continued to travel to Chicago (or Packing town), where they finally settled down. Upon arrival in Packing town, the family found that the cost of living in the United States was far more expensive than in Lithuania. Packingtown was a section of Chicago where the meat packing industry was centralized. They took a tour of the plant, and saw the unbelievable speed and efficiency at which the hogs or cattle were butchered, cooked and shipped. In Packingtown, no part of the animal is wasted; the tour guide explained, “They use everything about the hog except the squeal” (Sinclair 38). To further add to the family’s problems, they learned that the only employment available to non-English speaking and

uneducated, although hard-working, immigrants like themselves was scarce, unstable, and even dangerous. Packing town had been designed to make families depend on their employment in the factories. When a factory’s employee hurt themselves or was became ill, they would Kearney 2 quickly be tossed aside and replaced with a fresh worker. Employers in Packing town demanded 16 hour workdays from their employees and rewarded them with meat infected with tuberculosis, fatigue and low wages. Large businesses were able to commit such unfair crimes because they paid off politicians, union leaders and also the police. Another reason employers were able to treat their employees so poorly was because unemployment was so high; there was always a constant supply of working men and women to

fill any person’s job who may quit out of protest. Politicians had no desire to address the needs of the people under their helm and only had their own special interests in mind. Both the Republican and Democrat parties bought votes and manipulated numerous elections. The Democrats ruled Packington and were easily the biggest offender. Men who held political office were not fresh young men who were elected every couple of years, instead they were the same elder incumbents, whom have held office for 30 years or more. Although these incumbents had a lot of experience, they usually looked out for their own personal interests first, large business interests second, and finally the working people’s interests. The Communist Party grew popular at the time because citizens found that

the Republican and Democrat parties weren’t doing enough for them. The Communist Party was built on the platform of helping the working men and women of the United States. The most tragic concept visible in Sinclair’s novel is the class system. Today, we have the privilege to strive for a better life and attempt to better ourselves economically through education. During the early 1900’s, most of the people were born Kearney 3 and died in the same class, never moving up or down. The gap existing between the rich and the poor was extremely large and there were hardly any middle class citizens. Although times seemed bad for the immigrants, they had actually left worse circumstances in their home countries to work in places like Packingtown. Upton Sinclair tells a story about