Upton Sinclair — страница 4

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long. The meat packers often entice people to immigrate to America with the false promises of high wages. The purpose of encouraging people to flock to the factory is to keep the supply of labor far above the actual demand for it. After the strike, the supply of scab workers will add to the total supply of labor. The effect of this practice is constant competition between wage laborers for the available jobs; “immigrants being displaced by the newer Slovak work force” (Wilson 367). It keeps the wage laborers divided and the wages low. In the end, capitalists benefit from institutionalized poverty. Sinclair goes through great effort to show that immigrant wage laborers share the same values as the reading public. He details the characters’ commitment to the institution of

the family, community, and charity. Moreover, he illustrates their faith in the American dream. He tries to make immigrants less “foreign” to the reading public so that they identify with the immigrant wage laborers’ suffering. Wilson states that “Sinclair presented his case not just in terms of exploitation but in metaphors of declension, corruption, and infestation: the worker’s degradation seems, in fact, to stem from the poisonous world they inhabit” (369). After being laid off from a dangerous job in a steel plant, Jurgis becomes successively a tramp, the henchman for a crooked politician, a strikebreaker in the packing plant, and finally a bum. Having reached the bottom of the social pit, Jurgis enters the Socialist political meeting a defeated man. He has tried

all forms of survival, but none of them offer the security and the peace of mind he seeks in “the capitalist jungle in which he has been hunted” (Rideout 350). He reacts to Socialism like a new, devout religious convert. Rideout compares Jurgis’ conversion to when the apostle “Paul saw the light on the road to Damacus, it should be noted that in The Jungle Sinclair carefully prepares such an outcome by conducting Jurgis through all the circles of the worker’s inferno and by attempting to show that no other savior except Socialism exists” (350). The speech voices the themes of his own experiences, and he feels that he is no longer alone. There are millions like him, and they have power. “Those who lost in the struggle were generally exterminated; but now and then the

had been known to save themselves by combination – which was a new and higher kind of strength. It was so that the gregarious animals had overcome the predaceous; it was so, in human history, that the people had mastered the kings. The workers were simply the citizens of industry, and the Socialist movement was the expression of their will to survive” (qtd. in Yoder 47). Jurgis’ “conversion” comes after the failure of all other forms of amelioration for wage laborers’ suffering. Sinclair has gone to great lengths to illustrate the evils of capitalism. He offers Socialism as the solution to these problems. Jurgis’ encounter with unionism teaches him that he has “brothers in affliction, and allies. Their one chance for life was in union, and so the struggle became a

kind of crusade (Sinclair 324). The title of The Jungle finally becomes clear in all its forms. The world of the wage laborer is characterized by a Darwinian struggle for survival. Those who refuse to sacrifice their humanity, their integrity, and their individuality do not survive, much less succeed in this world. New arrivals enter into a jungle crammed with predators waiting to attack them at every turn. The structures of capitalism are a jungle of hidden nooks and crannies, each containing yet another dirty secret. Sinclair writes, “ ‘But my own duty is entirely different. I am bound to see that nothing but the truth appears; that this truth does in its entirety appear; and that it appears in such shape that practical results for good will follow…The vital matter is to

remedy the evils with the least possible damage to innocent people’ ” (qtd. in Harris 87). Sinclair’s novel exposes the various levels of deception within the factories as well as the day to day details of the wage laborer’s life. Work Cited Dembo, L. S. “The Socialist and the Socialite Heroes of Upton Sinclair.” Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Roger Matuz. Detroit: Gale, 1991. 360-362. Haris, Leon. Upton Sinclair: American Rebel. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1975. Rideout, Walter B. “Realism and Revolution.” Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Roger Matuz. Detroit: Gale, 1991. 349-351. Sinclair, Upton. The Jungle. New York: Buccaneer Books, 1984. Wilson, Christopher P. “Would-Be Singer: Upton Sinclair.” Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Roger Matuz.