Theme of The Jungle

Theme of The Jungle
In the book The Jungle by Upton Sinclair; this was first published by Fine Creative Media Inc. in 1906 (edition I read was published in 2003) it discuses life as an immigrant and how immigrants foresaw the American dream and how they tired to achieve it. There where many themes for the book. The theme that I took was most important was that life on the other side is not always better then what one has. This theme can be shown many different ways throughout the book. It is shown through the plot and through many examples of event that occurred though the book.
In The Jungle a young man named Jurgis Rudkus moves to the United States landing in Chicago, with his family looking for a better life then what they had in Lithuania. They arrived in Chicago in the middle of where the meat packing industry was located. Landing here was going to provide them with jobs so they could pay rent for a place to stay for the whole family and to purchase food to eat. Once Jurgis gets a job working in the meat packaging plant is when the family realizes that America no better then Lithuania. America had poor people and people are killing each other just to survive. The workers where poorly paid, overworked and had unfair labor practice as well as dangerous working environment. In order for them to get a place to stay all where required to work, this even meant Jurgis father who was sick.

The family is finally able to buy a house. When doing this Elizbieta, Ona?s stepmother, feels uneasy almost like they are being taken advantage of. To purchase a house during this time all one needed was $300 down and then $15 a month until the house was paid off. What Elizbieta and the family where not aware of was that the $15 a month didn?t include the extra $7 a month for interest putting the total monthly payment at $22 a month. This they felt that could not afford but they wanted there own home they didn?t want to go back to the rat infested house that was by the meat packing plant.

As the story goes on Ona and her baby Antanas both die. Ona during child birth and Antanas will drowned in front of the house. Jurgis will then move out of the city to the suburbs leave all of his family behind. Later returning to Chicago and getting himself into a lot of trouble with the law. After some time of being in and out of jail Jurgis finally gets a job working at a hotel. He will become back in touch with his family that he left and begin to support them on what he makes by working at the hotel.

As I read the book I felt more and more sorry for Jurgis and his family. The struggles and hardships that they went though as well as what other immigrants where going through at the time. I feel that people during this time where treated very unfairly and when it came to the meat packing companies I think that the cows pigs had a better life. This is because the animals where fed every day no matter what because the people that wanted to sell them needed for them to look like that had a lot of meat on them not just skin and bone. The pay that the people working in these plants made did not always pay for the rent of their one rat infested room, let alone to put food on the table.

Some of the ways I feel that the workers where treated badly in this book are first when Jurgis notices the speeding up process where the bosses force a pace man to set a nearly impossible pace for the workers on the line, leading to dangerous exhaustion, physical ailments, and even death. If the workers are unable to keep up with the pace they are then terminated. Another example of how workers where miss treated are when Ona is blackmailed into becoming her boss?s mistress. He threatens to take her job from her and as well as family member?s jobs if she does not comply to sleep with him. During this time this was something that happened quite often with females in the work place. Due to this happening is also a reason whey husbands and fathers didn?t want there wives or daughters working.

As I read through the book I noticed what I thought would be some symbols. For example, Packingtown and the stockyards would be able to symbolize the abuse of workers. I feel that the reason for Sinclair calling the book The jungle is because the title so how during this time it was the stronger keep getting stronger and the weak keep getting poor. Like in a jungle the more powerful and stronger you are in strength the more likely you are to survive then a animal that is small and weak. I also feel that Sinclair used some forshadowing in his writing. In chapter six Grandmothe Majauzskine, talks to Jurgis?s family about the endless cycle of immigrants and who has been abused by the meat packing business. . This will foreshadow Jurgis and his family breaking up when Ona and her son die and then Jurgis takes off to the country. The conversation that Grandmother Majauszkiene has with Jurgis and his family about how Americans take advantage of immigrants when purchasing a home or land will foreshadow when they get evicted out of their home.

In conclusion, when I read the book it made me feel depressed and ashamed. The way that people had to live during this time was disgusting and pitiful. They had to share a room with other rodents as well as their whole family for the price, if not more, then what they had to pay to purchase a house. The working conditions were as if they were animals taking care of other animals. Immigrants where not respected during this time and at times today are still not respected. I feel that we are all human and should all have equal rights. Our working conditions should be to where we can go to work and not worry about coming home because of an unsafe environment and losing our lives. These are things that people, mainly the poor and immigrants, had to deal with on regular bases. They had no body to go to when they had a problem. If they had a problem and went to their boss they had a great potential of being out of a job by the end of the day. As I look at life and our working conditions now compared to back then there are areas where we have greatly improved and then we have areas that we are still working on. They say that history repeats it?s self. I am just hoping that we don?t repeat this part of history and if we do that it is not repeated to this extent.

Theme of The Jungle 7.2 of 10 on the basis of 2555 Review.