9 May 2022


The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

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Academic level: College

Paper type: Book Report

Words: 1018

Pages: 3

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The story of the Jungle by Upton Sinclair is about a man known as Jurgis Rudkus and his young family. The family was of Lithuanian origin and were immigrants in the United States of America. The family had just experienced loss of their father and therefore Ona and Jurgis decided to get married in America as they search for greener pastures. They traveled into the country both the family to Ona and that of Jurgis. At that time Ona was only sixteen and therefore was still young. On arrival, they went to Chicago where they had of opportunities. They found themselves living in the slums of Packingtown where the living conditions were not good. Due to the expensive life in the town they had to look for jobs (Sinclair, 2003). 

The money they heard was mainly spent on agents who lied to them and took advantage of their naivety to con them money. Jurgis then got a job that dealt with the packing of meat where he worked as a cleaner who swept of blood and meat remains in the slaughter house. The working conditions were very unhygienic and the pay was very low. The owner of the packing company took advantage of the fact that there were many people looking for jobs yet there were no jobs and therefore employed many people in order to reduce the wages. Jurgis and his family then came across an advertisement for a house and therefore decided to buy a house which would be cheaper than paying rent. The deal was that they would pay a certain amount for a period of seven years and the house would be theirs (Sinclair, 2003). 

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Due to the expensive life Ona, Miraj and Jonas all had to get jobs in order to increase the money they received as a family. Ona then got pregnant and was forced to work even as she was pregnant and was given a one-week leave to give birth and go back to work. Going back to work early led to diseases but she continued to work. At this point, she was eighteen years old. One day Jurgis notices that Ona does not come back home from work and he confronted her. She opened up and Jurgis comes to find out that she was being raped by her boss. It infuriates him and he goes to the company where he beats the boss up. Jurgis is then arrested and thrown in jail. When he comes out of jail, he finds that Ona had a second pregnancy and while she goes to give birth she dies during childbirth. It devastates Jurgis and he begins drinking too much (Sinclair, 2003). 

He then finds a job fifteen miles from home and therefore goes during the week and travels back to see his family on the weekends. One day as he comes back home he is informed that his youngest son drowned in a mass of water at their neighbourhood. It devastates him and he falls into depression. He then goes away and begins drinking and living in the streets borrowing food. One day he meets a man known as Scully who was involved in political scams and begins to work with him. He makes good money and even gets a good job. He then meets the man who raped his wife and beats him up again (Sinclair, 2003).

The beating causes him to go to jail and he is not capable of releasing himself despite his political connections. The reason why he could not is because the man was a friend to Scully too. A friend then posts bail for him and he is released back to the streets with no money. He then decides to go to a political rally where he would find somewhere warm and food. While there, he is intrigued by the message of socialism and begins to become spread the word too. He learns a lot about socialism and its importance in the society (Sinclair, 2003). 

The conditions portrayed in the book were saddening and knowledge of its existence is well known. Immigrants are known to be flowing into America at an increasing rate over the years. Most of them come into the country in search of greener pastures. They hear that a country is a place of opportunity. On their arrival, they go through discrimination by natives and many are conned all their money. The types of jobs they get are not very good and have to live in harsh conditions in order to survive. Immigrants are never equal opportunities as the natives and therefore they always live a life below the poverty line (Sinclair, 1921).

Due to competition, the old immigrants tend to dislike the new immigrants. In most cases, we find that the people who mistreat and even misguide the new immigrants are the old ones. Their intention is mainly to steal from them of ruin their plans in order to limit their achievements. It is well known that they do this because the people who con them are fellow old immigrants who claim to be helping them come into the country and settle down. The old immigrants are the ones who get them jobs using their connections with the companies. The companies want cheap labour and this can occur through employing of desperate immigrants. The new immigrants never get good pay and therefore end up living a life full of harsh conditions and poverty (Sinclair, 1921).

The idea of the old mistreating the new immigrants is very inhuman. It is never good to prosper in another person’s downfalls. The old immigrants are supposed to be helping them in order for them not to go through what the rest have gone through. It is sad to go through difficulties and making your fellow immigrants go through the same. That idea is not good and will lead to a rotten society whereby people always thrive in others downfall (Sinclair, 1921).

The main reason the book was assigned to read was because of the lessons learned from it. It is important to understand the history of a country and in this case, one learns a lot about America and how it is built. America was mainly built by immigrants and slaves because they provided cheap labor. The reason they provided cheap labor was because they were mainly desperate and needed means of survival which would occur through working. Socialism is another factor learned from this book and its importance in the society (Sinclair, 1921).


Sinclair, U. (2003). The jungle . Bantam Classics.

Sinclair, U. (Ed.). (1921). The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest . Upton Sinclair.

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