The Realities Of America In The Novel The Jungle

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Have you ever thought about how hard it is to settle in a new place when you have never been to that particular place? Well, he explains the struggles of foreigners coming to the United States of America in The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. He uses various literary devices to explain to the reader how times in that time were like. Upton Sinclair has changed society and how foreigners are treated and viewed, creating the FDA when the story came out. The main character Jurgis is used by Upton Sinclair. Jurgis is viewed differently and treated differently because he is a refugee, he is an example of how people when they are refugees have to struggle and suffer. Giving these points, In Upton Sinclair's The Jungle he uses the american dream to illustrate the struggles and injustices immigrants faced while coming to the U.S.A to find success.

There are many examples of imagery in The Jungle. Upton Sinclair uses it to show how gruesome they felt at certain times in the factories, where they felt. Sinclair makes us feel like the family had a poor treatment. “If Sinclair has presented an oversimplified image of the Italian family, it is not necessarily out of sentimentality that he has done so. Such an image logically underscores the view that, along with self-interest, an almost psychopath paranoia marked the ‘American’ attitude toward the Italians, all of whom it held to be potential bomb-throwing anarchists”(xxxxx) Saying the family is discriminated against because they're different from the American. An example of this story is ”... unable to realize that they had arrived, and why, when they said “Chicago,” people no longer pointed and in some direction but they instead looked perplexed, or laughed, or went on without paying any attention. They were pitiable in their helplessness; above all they stood in deadly terror of any sort of person in official uniform, and so whenever they saw a policeman they would cross the street and hurry by” (Sinclair 32). People saw them differently and mostly because they are immigrants don't even want to help them. Imagine being on high alert every second you leave your house, thinking about what they could do if they found you. The family came here to live a good life and make good money, but were greeted with obstacles instead.

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Immigrants faced several challenges and were unable to gain the same rights as indigenous people. Therefore they were lower classes, the only jobs they could acquire in terms of hours and pay rate were not well paid and very bad. “Sinclair's novel is remembered, and rightly so, for its graphic descriptions of working conditions in Packingtown” (Yoder 38-9). The critic explains how dirty the factory is in poor working conditions. The factory in which jurgis worked was horrible and gruesome. The whole atmosphere was horrific smell from the men who worked, and the walls were not in good condition. “ ...there were men to cut it, and split it, and men to gut it and scrape it clean inside.” (Yoder 32) . Men used to work in harsh conditions, and you can imagine that they are doing the hard work. They came here for a good job and get paid well for doing it. They were 'robbed' because they were immigrants from their work.

The Jungle story makes use of symbolism to dig deeper into the novel's meaning. Symbolism is used by Upton Sinclair to communicate with the time and age of this period. “Rather than praising competition as a healthy and natural process—with the dream always rising to the top—Sinclair accepted the contradictory value of cooperation. Competition, the socially inadequate law of The Jungle, turns men into brutes in his novel..” (Yoder 32-3) The labor and the physical work had an impact on their physical and mental mind. “Now, however, since they had come to the new country, all this was changing ; it seemed as if there must be some subtle poison in the air that one breathed here it was affecting all the young men at once.” (Sinclair 16). Working in this harsh conditions and trying to survive in the hard times makes those men into stronger yet weaker people.The title of the story corresponds to setting, theme, the characters and the literary devices.

No matter how much you would work the “worker” would never really get anywhere because they are foreigners, they are looked at as “bad people”, all the work that was to put in would not matter. ”By symbolically linking the fates of the immigrants with the treatment of the butchered food products, the book establishes a nearly perfect link between setting and theme, which, even more than the sheer mass of gruesome details, accounts for the impact of the stockyard setting upon the minds of readers throughout the decades”() Stating the conditions were dreadful, it was really hard to succeed. “...learn the trade of painting cans. The painting of cans being skilled piecework, and paying as much as two dollars a day..”() Learning to do something will not get you very far in that atmosphere. The symbols of this novel are important to society and made a big impact in this novel.

In this novel, the setting of this story plays a major role. The time this story takes place, because it revolves around the setting, it has an effect. “The vivid details of the packinghouse scenes had much to do with the book's overall social significance. In 1906, when it was published, this book delivered the news of just what conditions were like, performing a function that is now expected from the news media. The packinghouse scenes are still powerful today, even though the conditions described in the book no longer exist in the United States” A part of America today influenced the setting of this story. The agency called the FDA was founded because of the novel. “This floor was half an inch deep with blood, in spite of the best efforts of men who kept shovelling it through the holes, it must have been made the floor very slippery..” (Sinclair 44). Factories were in the worst condition possible, when sinclair publish this title it had an impact on the public, so things had to change.

Setting in this story also affects the evolution in society. The factories were somewhat secretive and word did not get out about how sickening the environment was. They reason why we even had to see that side of the factories is because the only job they could get was at the factory.“The immigrants, as Sinclair describes them, are faced with the difficult task of retaining desirable aspects of an old way of life ... within a new setting that affords, supposedly, the chance to succeed economically via personal efforts.” They came to live a better more lavish life but things didn't come out as expected. “Jurgis was vexed when the cynical Jokubas translated these signs with sarcastic comments, offering to take them to the secret rooms where the spoiled meat went to be doctored.” Basically, thearthing Jurgis as I interpreted, this gives an example of the time period that they live in, if jurgis want an immigrant he wouldn't even be there to start with. The setting of this factory characterizes the entire novel.

In summary, The Jungle is created to have an impact on society and serve a purpose on the challenges and difficulties that refugees encounter when they arrive in America. Upton Sinclair explains this by using symbolism, setting and imagery. Every time you get treated, think poorly about how immigrants are handled and it could shift your outlook on the whole thing and treat people differently.

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The Realities Of America In The Novel The Jungle. (2021, September 06). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 12, 2024, from
“The Realities Of America In The Novel The Jungle.” Edubirdie, 06 Sept. 2021,
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