Summary Of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle

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Literature is where one could go to explore the highest and lowest points of human society, find the absolute truth, and support it using personal experiences and knowledge. Such is the case with writer Upton Sinclair, who grew up experiencing both sides of wealth and class divisions. By reflecting on his experiences with class division, Upton Sinclair’s exposé not only sheds light on the fight for workers rights but also incorporates a Socialist philosophy. Upton Sinclair was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on September 20, 1878. From birth Sinclair was exposed to dichotomies that would have an effect on his young mind and his thinking in later life (“Upton”). He was born with a volatile social background: his mother came from a wealthy family…show more content…
It was a time when Socialism and workers rights was at its peak and appealed to many, especially immigrants. Upton Sinclair used his novel to feature the people of this time period and the obstacles they faced. Many of the incidents included in The Jungle are based on actual events including the 1904 beef strike in Chicago and other cities and the Socialist movement in the early years of the twentieth century (“The Jungle”). Sinclair used the novel to portray the harsh conditions and the mishandling of food in the meatpacking industry. In the novel, Jurgis is exposed to the revolting conditions the meat is kept in: “This is no fairy story and no joke; the meat would be shovelled into carts, and the man who did the shoveling would not trouble to lift out a rat even when he saw one … “(Sinclair 144). This quote highlights a time when food did not require regulation to be sold to the consumers. Because of the unsanitary conditions food was kept in, The Pure Food and Drug bill was introduced in 1906, in part, as a result of the revelations made in The Jungle (“The Jungle” 164). Upton Sinclair also used the novel to exploit the lives of immigrants in the United States. It is never easy to leave one’s country and go somewhere else where one might not even speak the language. What immigrants go through is unimaginable to those who have not experienced it for themselves.…show more content…
The contempt Sinclair had developed for the upper class as a youth had led him to Socialism in 1903. In 1904, he was sent to Chicago by a socialist newspaper, Appeal to Reason, to write an exposé on the mistreatment of workers in the meatpacking industry (“Upton”). Socialism supports the equal distribution of wealth and the breaking down of the social class system (“The Jungle”). With its emphasis on the rights of the workers and on the sins of the property owners, it is only natural that many activists in the labor movement, Sinclair, would be supporters of socialist philosophies (“The Jungle”). For many workers, income was low and many became desperate in order to survive. It was common for the poor to turn to a life of crime: “He used to speak to me -- out on the platform. Then he began to -- to make love to me. He offered me money. He begged me -- he said he loved me. Then he threatened me. He knew all about us, he knew we would starve. He knew your boss -- he knew Marija’s. He would hound us to death… “ (Sinclair 161). This quote is honestly heartbreaking. Ona, Jurgis’s wife, is forced to turn to prostitution by her boss. It is obvious that Ona just wants to protect her family and this reflects the life of those living in poverty. Upton Sinclair wrote The Jungle specifically to draw attention to the working conditions faced by laborers in America,

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