11 May 2022


The Struggle of the Working Man

Format: MLA

Academic level: College

Paper type: Essay (Any Type)

Words: 636

Pages: 3

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The main theme expressed by Guthrie and Sinclair is socialism as a solution to the vices of capitalism. Sinclair portrays failed capitalism. In his book, he reveals his resentment for capitalism by labeling it inhuman, destructive, unjust, brutal, and violent. The slow obliteration of Jurgis’s immigrant family at the hands of a harsh and discriminatory economic and social system validates the effect of capitalism on the working class fraternity as a whole. Immigrants who crossed borders with faith in the ‘American Dream’ achieved through hard work, are being used up, tortured, and destroyed. The novel relentlessly illustrates that capitalism is to blame for the plight of these immigrants. 

The Jungle portrays capitalism as a social vice. It explores long petitions of the unpleasant impact of capitalism on the world at large. According to Sinclair, socialism is the antidote of all the problems caused by capitalism. He owes his readers through desirable advocacy of socialist doctrines. The author’s illustrations are based on the principle that capitalism destroys the many for the benefit of the few while socialism works for the general welfare of everyone. In a socialist state, people work for the collective gain of the entire population as contrasted to a capitalist state where individuals strive for personal gain (Kearney, Harris, Jacome, & Parker 4). The plight of the workers is manifest in the deplorable working conditions at the meat packaging plants. It is reported that some workers could occasionally fall into rendering tanks as lard and fertilizer.

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Capitalistic ideals worsened the condition of the workers. First, they were poorly paid by the rich factory owners. The desire to rake in more profits compromised the quality of meat. At points, selfish factory owners used sick cows to make sausages. The average consumer bore the brunt of the unsanitary conditions at the meat packaging factory. Despite man’s struggle to meet their daily needs, they are still subjected to life-periling foods and unsafe working conditions (Michael 37). In a socialist state, the factory would have been communally owned. There could be fewer struggles to meet profit margins as the people emphasize on quality. Capitalism changed men into inhuman creatures, driven by profit motives.

Bound for Glory is the rough and tough account of Woodie Guthrie’s young life as told by him, with isolated fictional parts. His story is told on a train that that heads to no specific location. The book tells the story of the author as he juggles through various menial jobs to make a living, till he finally makes a hit in the music industry. The plight of the poor man is underscored in the novel. Guthrie works as a fruit picker and later moves into a hobo camp as he tries to heck a living in the tough economic times. From the experiences of Guthrie, it is apparent that the society was unsympathetic to the average man who was toiling to make ends meet. Instead of being given incentives to prosper, the average men were relegated to a lower position where they could be eternally subservient to their masters (Michael 7). Despite these hardships, determined individuals could still break the shackles of poverty. The title ‘Bound for Glory’ reflects the hidden potential in men. Once that potential is unleashed, the struggling man can rise to glory. The story draws inspiration from the experiences of the author who rose from a casual laborer to a prominent musician in the world.


The theme on the plight of the working man underscores the various struggles that people have to make in a capitalist economy. The authors, although writing from different standpoints, agree that the harsh economic conditions have made it worse for the average man. While the rich capitalists are able to lead decent and meaningful lives, the poor working folk struggle everyday to afford the basic needs. Selfish interests have made capitalists to neglect even the basic health and safety conditions at the work place. As explained by Sinclair, there is a greater need to change the mindsets of the society. However, Sinclair’s desire to alter the social paradigms ended up creating a revolt against the food industry. Similarly, Guthrie agrees that it is hard to survive in the harsh economy. Nevertheless, there is hope for those who are determined. 

Works Cited

Kearney, Mellisa, Harris, Benjamin, Jacome, Elisa, and Parker Lucie. A Dozen Facts about America’s Struggling Lower Middle Class. The Hamilton Project, 2013. Print.

Michael, Katz. The Undeserving Poor: America’s Enduring Confrontation with Poverty. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. Print.

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 14). The Struggle of the Working Man.


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