In great literature writers often create cultural,


governmental, and other social situationsin order to make important and even revolutionary statements on the nature of humanity.
Choose a work of literary merit and write a well-organized essay defining such a
situation and the statement the author is trying to make.
A Struggle To Survive
Many authors often create forms of cultural, governmental, and social situations
to portray the importance of the nature of humanity. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
purposefully contains such situations in order to expose the intolerable working and
living conditions which workers were subjected to. Because of the way the government
was controlled, each day was a naked struggle for survival, where workers not only were
forced to compete to keep their jobs, but if they faltered, were hard-pressed to keep
starvation from their door and a roof over their heads. Sinclair depicted the actions of the
governing system as an argument towards socialism. The government’s inability to
provide tolerable working and living conditions was used to make a statement of the
inhumanity which workers and families were put through.
To convey the desperate vulnerability and isolation workers went through,
Sinclair centers on an immigrant family whose economic problems are compounded by
cultural dislocation. The families struggle to survive in Chicago served as the backbone
of the story. The main character, Jurgis Rudkus, had a large family to support and could
hardly afford to pay for his daughter Ona’s wedding. Sinclair showed how capitalism
created disintegrating pressures between his families life, cultural ties, and moral values
through intolerable working and living conditions. With “literally not a month’s wages
between them and starvation,” Jurgis, along with other workingmen were under pressure
to abandon their families, and women had to sometimes choose between starvation and
prostitution. The children had to go out to work or to beg before they could get any
schooling, and once out of the house they quickly picked up the habits of the street and
the values of the new society. Jurgis’s son was eaten by rats when he fell asleep in a
cellar where he worked. Even children were forced to hold jobs so they would not face
starvation.
Likewise, immigrants with peasant backgrounds, and even migrants from
America’s own rural regions were especially ill-equipped to survive in the “urban jungle”
because of their stubborn individualism. Jurgis relied on his own strong back to carry his
family, to cope with inhuman work; but he simply becames a gear in the industrial
machine, to be discarded as soon as he has shown signs of wear. Jurgis went through
many tedious and strenuous jobs before being laid off so young and fresh workers could
take his place. For periods of time he spent his days as a beggar, a scab, a hobo on the
road, and a petty criminal. Jurgis worked in a meat packing plant for a period of time
and was forced in to competitive individualism in order to keep his job and stay alive. At
the plant, a few men even fell into huge vats and were killed by the machinery. His
family owned literally nothing and had to work in unsanitary conditions just to keep from
starvation.
In conclusion, the government’s inability to provide tolerable working and living
conditions was used to make a statement of the inhumanity which workers and families
were put through. Near the end of the novel, Jurgis declared himself a socialist and felt
he had found all the right answers to life in the big city. Sinclair uses this ending to state
the logic of his belief towards socialism. He created a governmental situation in which
the lives of workers and immigrants were intolerable to portray the importance of
humanity. The situation creates a very effective statement and was a very creative idea.

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