The Jungle

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The Jungle

The JungleBy: Upton Sinclair

The story begins with the Rudkus family deciding that it is in their best interest to start a new life in the United States to escape the opression and unfair social structures set in their home country. Once they arrive in the U.S. the family realizes that the "Land of Oppurtunity" is not as giving as they had expected. Jurgin and some other members of the family begin to work in Chicago's growing meatpacking industry, and they are able to scrape up some money in order to pay for a house. After several months, Jurgin finally gets married to Ona. Then comes a harsh winter, in which Jurgin's fathers father passes away however, Ona gives birth to a baby boy who they name Antanas in honour of Jurgis' father. Several months later, Jurgin gets injured at work and must stay at home without any compensation. Slowly the family starts to fall apart. Ona dissappears from night to night and Jurgin realizes that she is being raped by her boss at work and forced into prostitution. Jurgin becomes furious and attacks her boss and is thrown into jail. Shortly after Jurgis has been released from prison, Ona dies while giving birth to their second child. Jurgis begins to jump from job to job in order to protect the remaining members of his family and become a model for his son. Several months later, he arrives home to learn that his son has been drowned in mud. Jurgis gives up entirely on his future and becomes a nomad, wandering around the outskirts of town performing odd jobs. He becomes an active member of the criminal underworld of Chicago along with his past cellmate Jack Duane. Jurgis starts to work for criminal Mark Scully in order to drum up votes for his election.His work for Mark Scully ends when he encounters Ona's old boss and attacks him. He decides to flee and becomes a street beggar once again. He learns about different social movements occuring and decides to join them. He realizes that while he has lost his family due to corruption, he can fight to improve something far greater than him alone.

Summary

Historical Plot

Characters

The Jungle takes place in early 20th century Chicago. The Rudkus family resides in the poor part of Chicago where many of its residents work in the meatpacking factories.

I would not only recommend this book to people who enjoy the political fiction genre, but also to readers who enjoy reading about hardships, tradgedy and family. This book is definetly a page turner, as each page reveals another obstacle that the Rudkus family must solve in order to survive.

Recommendation

Settings

Interesting Link, Source

Jurgin Rudkus- An Eastern European immigrant who travels with his wife determined to live the American Dream. He is motivated to raise a family but is soon destroyed by the harsh working conditions of the meatpacking industry and begins to lose everyone and everything he loves.Ona Lukoszaite- Wife of Jurgin, a kind, loving individual who travels with Jurgin to America to raise a family, however, she is also destroyed by capitalism.Antanas Rudkus- Jurgis and Ona's son, a strong, sturdy boy deeply impacted by the harsh and unstable environment he is forced to reside in. Jack Duane- A polished criminal that Jurgis meets in his first prison sentence. After the two of them are released after Jurgis' second sentence, Jack shows him the criminal underworld and they both begin to commit crimes. Teta Elzbieta Lukoszaite- Stepmother of Ona, a strong willed woman who is there in the household and forms a sense of hope and creates a strong family connection. She remains there for Jurgis even after it seems he has lost everything and everybody.Phil Connor- Ona's boss, he is the man responsible for sexually assaulting her as well as ruining Jurgis' life. He remains as the true villain in the story.

The Jungle is portrayed during the early 1900's when Chicago just began emerging as a central hub of the U.S. Immigrants from other corners of the world began flooding into Chicago, where many of them began work in meatpacking factories. Little did they know that the meatpacking industry was the most unsanitary, underpaying and hazerdous job in the country. Thousands of men and women got injured and their bosses covered it all up. The gap between the rich and the poor grew wider and wider. Until the muckracking revolution, the rest of the country had little to no knowledge of the attrocities committed in the meatpacking industries.

Upton Sinclair was one of the prominent leaders of the muckracking uprise. He visited Chicago and decided that the public must know that the meat they consume is made from the blood of factory workers. Hence, he wrote The Jungle to expose the corruption that resides in the meatpacking industry. Many more reporters followed his legacy and began to dig deeper into secrets that the elite have hidden for years.

Author's Legacy


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