The Jungle

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The Jungle

By: Upton Sinclair

The Jungle

Brandi BurnellPre-AP English 10Crouch P.1IRU Glog

"Leave it to me, leave it to me. I will earn more money-I will work harder" (24).

This is a photo of a modern-day sweatshop. Much like the meat processing plants in Chicago, working there is laborious and pays very little. The people who work here have very little education, and are therefore not able to choose a better job. Companies take advantage of this fact, and exploit the workers abilities. In Chicago, the meat companies took advantage of the unskilled immigrant workers to get away with paying low salaries and having bad work conditions because they knew the immigrants could not do any better.

Capitalism is a corrupt system, and should be replaced by Socialism.Upton Sinclair opens the book with the wedding, or veselija, of Jurgis Rudkus and Ona Lukoszaite, immigrants from Poland. The wedding is a grand feast, with plenty of wine, food and music. Many of the people invited to the wedding are poor and take advantage of the family,free wedding food, and wine. This is the start of a life of misfortune for Jurgis, Ona, and their family. They continue through life working dangerous jobs in the meatpacking industries of Chicago, and find nothing but misery. Eventually, almost every family member dies from accidents related to their poverty-stricken life. Jurgis resorts to drinking to try to cope with all the disaster in his life. One night, Jurgis wanders into a socialist political rally. Jurgis finds himself greatly inspired about the ideals of socialism, gets a job at a socialist-run hotel, and becomes a large advocate for socialism in Chicago.

Sinclair had a very strong dislike of capitalism, which he communicated through his book, The Jungle. Instead of Capitalism, Sinclair proposed a more socialist based society. Many Americans think of Capitalism as good, and Socialism as bad, like Bill Maher said in the video. In The Jungle, Sinclair was trying to expose the faults of Capitalism, hoping that people may look into what Socialism really is and how it might be a more effective system. The video pointed out that socialism aids many people with Medicare, Social Security, and other benefits, supporting Sinclair’s point that Socialism can help many people better than Capitalism can.

“If we are the greatest nation the sun ever shone upon, it would seem to be mainly because we have been able to goad our wage-earners to this pitch of frenzy” (206).

When Henry Ford came up with the idea of an assembly line, all factory processes quickened immensely, and mass-production was introduced. Items could now be sold in much bigger quantities, producing more money and profits. In this new system, the company who could produce the most products generally made the most money. The heads of these companies noticed this trend, and forced the workers to work at incredible speeds that were unsafe for the workers. Sinclair thinks that in a socialist society, there would be less exploitation of workers, because more of the money would be going back to them anyways.

Sinclair had a very negative view of capitalism and how it reflected in our government, as demonstrated in this quote. Most politicians are wealthy, and Sinclair feels that they will run for office to ensure they stay that way. In this cartoon, a politician is hurrying to try and put out a “fire.” This “fire” that we see is really the fire of Lady Liberty’s torch, and the symbol for justice. By having wealthy politicians, Sinclair believed they would be corrupted into promoting capitalism instead of Socialism because it would benefit themselves, but not bring justice to the country as a whole.

“One of the necessary accompaniments of capitalism in a democracy is political corruption” (354).


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