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Sinclair wrote The Jungle to show the corruption of the American meatpacking industry during the early-20th century, and the troubles of the working class during this time.

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Introduction

The Jungle By: Upton Sinclair Sinclair wrote The Jungle to show the corruption of the American meatpacking industry during the early-20th century, and the troubles of the working class during this time. The novel portrays harsh tones poverty, lack of social programs, poor living and working conditions, and hopelessness prevalent among the working class. All of which go in hand with the deeply-rooted corruption on the part of those in power. Sinclair's observations of the state of turn-of-the-century labor were placed front and center for the American public to see, suggesting that something needed to be changed and get rid of this undesirable lifestyle. Sinclair intended it not as a work of art but as an instrument for changing people's minds. He thought of it as a good means to social justice. The novel is better judged as propaganda than as literature, although I think Sinclair's story is also well thought out and entertaining. I really enjoyed the symbols he used to further get his point across. Including Packington, the stockyards, the cans of rotten meat and the title itself. ...read more.

Middle

Sinclair uses the cans of rotten and unhealthy meat to represent the essential corruption of capitalism and the hypocrisy of the American Dream. The cans seem well put together and stable but truly contain putrid meat unfit for human consumption. In the same way, American capitalism presents an attractive face to immigrants, but the America that they find is rotten and corrupt. Sinclair refers to the sweatshops as modern day jungles. The conditions for the workers were extremely dehumanizing. They were crowded, dirty and had very poor ventilation. Sinclair did a great job illustrating the dog-eat-dog world of the packing industry and how the workers were treated no better than animals. In the jungle (the real jungle), there are no human laws and regulations. The only thing that keeps one animal from killing or eating any other animals is basic instinct. The Jungle depicts how the food industry was also lacking laws and regulations. There were no humans with morals to say, "We should not feed that to our fellow man." Ona's boss said if she didn't agree to giving him sexual favors he would make she her and her family would be out of work. ...read more.

Conclusion

Capitalism is simply portrayed as a total evil, from its greedy destruction of children to its cynical willingness to sell diseased meat to an unsuspecting public. Sinclair opts not to explore the psychology of capitalism; instead, he simply presents a long litany of the ugly effects of capitalism on the world. In Sinclair's view, socialism is the cure for all of the problems that capitalism creates. In conclustion, I think The Jungle is a very well told story. We spoke in class about how Sinclair "aimed for the readers hearts but hit their stomach instead", although this may be true I think he still did a great job getting his point across. Sinclair's form of socialism dominated his writings as he attempted to provide a logical argument for what was, to him, a very personal and emotional issue. For Sinclair, the ideals of America stressed equality and brotherhood, but in all actuality, the rich did indeed get richer and the poor got poorer. There was no equality. But just as The Jungle was seen as an attack on the meatpacking industry, Sinclair's perceived views on capitalism and socialism endured more so than his actual message. I do believe Sinclair's novel is a work of art but also an instrument for changing people's minds, which makes it a great American novel. ...read more.

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