Teta Elzbieta Youngest Son
28 May 2018
Jungle Book Critique
The Jungle is a 1906 novel composed by Upton Sinclair. Sinclair composed the novel to depict the horrible conditions and abuse of immigrants in the United States, more specifically Chicago, and other industrialized urban areas. In the novel Sinclair is portraying the meat business and its working conditions to communism in the United States. When reading the novel most readers were more worried about his introduction of wellbeing infringement and unsanitary practices in the American meatpacking industry amid the mid twentieth century, incredibly adding to an open objection which prompted changes including the Meat Inspection Act. The Jungle begins with the wedding feast of Jurgis Rudkus and Ona Lukoszaite, a strong young man and fragile young woman who migrated from Lithuania to Chicago. This wedding feast was held at a bar in Chicago, more specifically, Packingtown. The young couple and their relative moved to Chicago in search of a better life, but had to settle for Packingtown. Packingtown is where immigrants, most Lithuanian, lived where they worked for the meat industry. Packingtown was very dangerous and it was hard to find a job due to the specific job requirements from the owners of the meat industry. In Lithuania it is tradition to leave the newly weds money to pay for the cost of the feast, but now the Lithuanians have adapted to American ways and leave without the couple any money. Because of this, Jurgis has vowed to Ona he will work hard so she never has to work. After the wedding, there is a flashback to Lithuania explaining the reasons why the family left for the United States. Jurgis and Ona left Lithuania to get married, Teta Elzbieta, Ona’s step-mother, left Lithuania to find a better life for herself and her children, and Antanas, Jurgis father, Marija Berczynskas, Ona’s cousin, and Jonas, Teta Elzbieta brother, comes along for the ride. Life in the United States is extremely hard from the beginning for the Lithuanian family. Not being able to get directions from Americans because they did not speak english, the family came in contact with the police a lot. One day a police and one of Jonas friends help the family get to Packingtown. Once in Packingtown , Jurgis, Jonas, and Maija were able to find a job quickly. As for Teta Elzbieta and Ona they stayed home and looked after the children. The family soon realized the boarding house provided by the meat industry will not due for them and moved into a leased house near Packingtown. The real struggle started for the Lithuanian family after they moved. After being lied to by their lawyer and landlord about the ownership of their house, the family had to find a way to have constant income coming into the house. This meant Ona had to find a job; she found a job at a can painting factory. Antanas struggled finding a job because no one would hire him because of his age. Once he did find a job it ended up killing him. When winter hit in Packingtown working conditions becomes extremely dangerous. Jurgis risk his life bcy going to work in dirty unheated slaughterhouse everyday. The factory Marija works at closes down and she loses her job. This is why she does not have enough money to marry Tamoszius, a violinist. Marija finds a job but ends up getting fired because she protested about getting cheated out of her money. One becomes pregnant and her job becomes difficult to keep up with.
Ona is forced by her supervisor to come back to work seven days after she gave birth to her son, Antanas. Jurgis sprains his ankle and is unable to work. Jurgis’s boss refused to get him sick pay, even though his injury came from poor working conditions. Jonas unable to handle the misery leaves the family and Teta Elzbieta youngest son’s dies of food poisoning. After Jurgis recovers, his boss does not give him his job back and Jurgis is forced to work at the fertilizer plant, the worst job in Packingtown. To deal with the pain Jurgis becomes an alcoholic. Once you thought things couldn't get any worse, One is raped by her boss and becomes pregnant. When Jurgis finds out he attacks Ona’s boss and is sentenced to a month in prison. Once Jurgis is released, he finds out the family has been evicted from there home and living in the same boarding house the started in Ona prematurely goes into labor and her and the baby dies because of this. Jurgis tries to restart his life and focuses on his son. He finds a job a steel mill but his son drowns and dies. Jurgis leaves the family and is in and out of prison.
The story of this Lithuanian family is absolutely horrible. Sinclair alludes to the awful comings of this family from the beginning. The title The Jungle shows how the family was going into the jungle of the United States. The Lithuanian immigrants had to fight like animals to survive in the jungle of the United States. Sinclair also paints the picture of capitalism in the United States. Packingtown is filled with slaughterhouses where animals, the workers, are killed, worked, and the the owners of the slaughterhouse know the workers cannot find a better alternative because they are immigrants and cannot speak english. Also, the cattle in the slaughterhouses can represent the workers in those houses. In the novel, Jonas states They use everything about the hog except the squeal,” meaning the bosses want to here nothing from the workers unless they want to be fired. Which happened, workers who tried to form unions were fired. Sinclair also uses this book to degrade capitalistic ideas and promote his socialist ideals. For example in the book Jurgis joins a socialist party to change the working conditions in Packingtown. Upton Sinclair wanted to share that the capitalistic ideas of the United States need to be changed.