The Jungle Book Review: Upton Sinclair

Author Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle is a fiction story but has very much real stories that happened in early beginnings of meat packing industries. I believe Upton Sinclair’s purpose of the book was to expose but also to connect the argument of how immigrants were treated in such fields of labor. The book went into great detail about how immigrants lived and survived these harsh conditions of there jobs and neighborhoods. Immigrants who worked in 1900s and even now still face many of the same obstacles such as low wages and low tier work conditions. This book allowed me to understand why there is inspection acts in food departments.
The story takes place In Chicago where Ona Lukoszaite and Jurgis Rudkus originally from Lithuania now married were making way to Chicago. They moved to America in hopes of finding a better life in means of work. They thought America had more freedom and they would live the American Dream. On page 14 of the book it states “It was in the stockyards that Jonas’ friend had gotten rich, and so to Chicago the party was bound.
They knew that one word, Chicago and that was all they needed to know, at least, until they reached the city.” The plan was to go to Chicago and for Jurgis to get a job and support his few relatives that immigrated with him as well as his wife. He plans to work harder and earn more money because they were not the wealthiest family and were highly in debt. Little does he know that In Chicago at the time men women and children all worked long hours for the most part.

When they arrived at Chicago they felt lost and had no idea of how they were gonna get employed. Jurgis finally gets a job and is excited his job is sweeping cattle guts into a trapdoor. He finds out that his co-workers all hate their jobs and neighborhood. The original plan is not successful as he realizes all his friends and relatives he left with will need a job for them to survive. His wife, dad and relatives all get a job. Ona was supposed to be a housewife she soon must go to work in order to provide for the family. His dad has a hard time landing a job due to old age but eventually gets one sweeping up brine.
Dede Antanas, Jurgis dad realizes the terrible work conditions and bad hygiene practices. As an effect the plan takes a hard left as work is causing health risks to everyone. He explains that the meat packing industries are dirty and unsanitary. Most of the times spoiled meat will be used and shipped out for sale. They even sold rotten pieces of animals. In the factories pieces of dead animals were added to the meat. And the bosses did not care and only want faster production.
Since there were more immigrants looking for jobs than jobs to give almost all workers only made a few cents per hour. Due to these terrible conditions Dede Antanas dies the labor breaks his body down. Ona also dies the tough labor decays her body after she is raped and beaten by one of the factory foremen named . Due to being raped she dies during her birth and the baby does also.
I think the author made some good points in explaining in great detail about some of the practices in these packing houses that led to and caused many illnesses and deaths. This gave us the readers a better understanding because it allowed us to see how unsanitary these places were and how the bosses only cared about the money.
The structure of the book was in chapters and the author made it easier to understand the main idea and points given to the reader. The author made it a little easier to comprehend the book by telling it in order but at times did get a little to dull and had some paragraphs where it explained unclear points. The book is a little long but has a lot of background info and explains the lives and and information about the topic.
According to Upton Sinclair he summed up his purpose in writing The Jungle in the following quote: “I aimed at the public’s heart and by accident hit its stomach.” Sinclair wanted to expose the terrible conditions faced by immigrants as they tried to survive in Chicago’s Meatpacking District. This shows that the people of the U.S. at the time were being lied to and mislead on how there food was being made.

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