My course named Food Safety Today and Tomorrow. This is a basic course, so please don’t be too profession. The book named “The Jungle by Upton Sinclair “. Please use some single English and made a little grammar mistake.
Do a book report.
Book Report: The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
The Jungle is a novel that was written by Upton Sinclair. This literary work is based on the genre of social criticism, political fiction, and muckraking fiction. Its original language of publication is English, and it was written between 1905 and 1906 at Chicago and Princeton, New Jersey. It was first published in 1906 by Sinclair himself who published it at his own cost after being rejected by several publishing firms. The length of this novel is 475.
This novel can be classified as coming of Age, philosophical literature, and realism. It is classified as coming of age because the book in its entirety is dedicated to the transformation of Jurgis from childlike, immature peasant to mature, prolific socialist. When speaking of Socialism, because the book is meant to convince the reader to become a socialist, it has a clear dedication to the discussion of a specific way of thinking. This is the reason The Jungle can as well be categorized as a Philosophical literature (Robinson 206). Lastly, realism is also seen in this book. This can be said to be the trickiest of them all because most part of The Jungle if openly gushy or rather far-fetched for emotional impact (Archer, Bhaskar, Collier, Lawson & Norrie 226). Sinclair, at the same time, applies more journalistic, realist tone in describing hygiene practices within stockyards (Smart 324). These particular scenes of carelessness and filth in the production of food are effective since they are so clear-cut and practical.
The main characters
This novel the jungle has many characters. Nevertheless, only four of them can be considered to be the main characters judging from the part they have performed in the development of the story.
Jurgis Rudkus is the main character of this novel. He is described as a Lithuanian immigrant who secured work at a meat plant in Chicago and works to save his family from starvation and devastation. Sinclair reveals, through Jurgis, the mayhem of the Beef Trust that compelled the government to put into force regulatory laws. Jurgis turns to be a Socialist at the end of the story.
Ona Rudkus is Jurgis’s wife. She follows Jurgis to America from Lithuania together with the family. She too works in the meatpacking plants but later on indulges in prostitution to keep fend for her family. She ends up dying during childbirth.
Elzbieta Lukoszaite is Ona’s stepmother. She is also a mother of seven. Lukoszaite makes efforts to keep the family from starvation and ends up losing two of her children due to early death.
Marija Berczynskas is Ona’s cousin. She also came to America alongside the family. Berczynskas is a strong, powerful woman with endowed with great spirit. She is capable of performing heavy tasks as she did at the packing plants. She joins the union and ends up losing her job. She also ventures into prostitution coupled with morphine addiction after Jurgis ditches the family.
The story all goes down at “Packingtown,” Chicago’s Meatpacking District. The story is narrated to have occurred in the early 1900s. The setting in Chicago meatpacking factories is what makes The Jungle to be important Upton Sinclair used a combination of his socialist ideals and agenda and some truly assertive depictions of Packingtown and its wanting hygiene and sanitation. Amid these plot developments and arbitrations on Jurgis’s inner turmoil, one also gets these almost newspaper-like descriptions of tuberculosis infected pigs being processed to produce ham which is then sold out to consumers. Alternatively, even sometimes people accidentally falling into the fat rendering tanks and get converted to lard and fertilizer. Or better still, men getting gored by runaway cattle within the killing floor.
These descriptions of the setting of this novel were disgusting and unsettling to the contemporary readers of The Jungle calling for the federal review on food safety and the process of packaging. People from all part of the country were consuming these packaged and processes foods. This implies that The Jungle‘s was not just about Jurgis and his miserable family, but it was for everybody and the quality of their everyday consumptions. It is not only the meat packing factors that fall victim of poor health conditions. Any other thing in Packingtown has gotten tainted by misery and poverty brought by the slaughterhouse industry to this area. The river is getting contaminated with the chemical runoffs from the various factories. The streets have no proper drainage system and are full of potholes that are so deep that they have the capability of drowning a child as was tragically discovered by the poor Baby Antanas. The residences are overpopulated with the workers, and their houses are scruffy and badly built. The area as a whole is allocated a long distance from Chicago’s downtown, and so the dreary injustices of Packingtown are nonexistent for most of the city residents. The overcrowded, polluted impoverished backdrop of The Jungle presents the novel as a whole an inescapable, unhappy feeling that enhances the tragedy of all that happens to Jurgis and the family.
Summary of the plot
This book is about the story a man, Jurgis Rudkus, with his family. They come from Lithuania to America in pursuit of their fortune. The family gets to enter the stockyards district of Chicago, get the gigantic meatpacking plants in operation and manages to secure employment to perform a myriad of tasks within the slaughterhouse. The family quickly comes to learn that the dreams that they had about America and its opulence were painfully far from the reality. Instead of being a land full of promises, it is a land characterized by interminable suffering and poverty. The meatpacking plants mistreat their workers in that they get poorly paid, are overworked and also at the same time subjected to unfair labor practices and perilous working conditions. To add onto all these, the lands beyond the stockyards are just pits of poverty and squalor known for having boarding houses, which are rat-infected, a smoldering garbage dump on one of the ends of the yards with a large sewage pit sitting on the other end. In comes to dawn on Jurgis’s family that for them to survive every member including the dying father, his expectant wife, her uncle, her cousin and even the children of her stepmom have to work extra hard.
All the family members who work in that factory come to witness the unbelievable filth where the meat processing was done and all the sickening meatpacking secrets. Diseased cattle and hogs all are processed to be consumed, not sparing the pregnant cows and their unborn. Sausages are obtained from a nonselective mixture of animal parts together with the dirt, rat carcass, and the poison picked up from the floor. These plants are also corruption dens where the bosses are fond of demanding money from their workers, which they have branded “gifts” and also grafts off those who are in the hierarchy of leadership.
Jurgis sees it better to flee to the countryside after several tragedies starting with a series of jail terms, to the death of Ona his wife and Antanas his son. He leaves behind the rest of his family. He then becomes a transient immediately he gets off Chicago. He only visits Chicago when he gets broke and starving. He develops to be a street beggar, picks up fight with saloons, and becomes a frequent visitor to the jails once more. He gets to meet Jack Duane a professional conman during one of his visits to the jail who initiates him into the life of crime. Jurgis the criminal again comes to learn something new in the city. This time round, it is corruption in the city politics, Chicago police force, in various industries including steel and horseracing and even corruption in the packing-plants. Everyone here appears crooked. The elections get fixed where the both the republican and democratic party members buy votes. At some point, Jurgis even assists a candidate by getting to bribe fellow workers within the meatpacking plant and giving them money in exchange for their votes.
After several criminal activities and more jail terms, Jurgis becomes a wanderer of the streets of Chicago maximizing his begging skills to escape starvation. He walks into a meeting for the Socialist party and immediately gets transfixed by the speaker. Jurgis gets the rare opportunity of having to be introduced to one of the party members name Ostrinski, who initiates him into the party by teaching him the doctrine of Socialism. Jurgis indeed gets transformed by what he gets to learn. He has found an explanation to his suffering and even a solution to this. He understands that capitalism is the nuisance of the society. The common worker is in constant poverty while the rich gets wealthier from hard work of the poor (Hesse 503). He lands a job at a hotel owned by a socialist and becomes obsessed with socialism. He comes across an old friend who narrates to him that Marija, Ona’s cousin lives in a warehouse where she earns a living through prostitution. He gets her deeply addicted to morphine so that convincing her to quit it was just impossible. She requests him to get the rest of the family together, which he does, and support them with his earnings from the hotel job. At the end, Jurgis and the family finds happiness, which was their primary goal when they left their home in Lithuania for America.
The Jungle Themes
This novel had various themes as brought out in the story. The author did not just focus on a single theme but told his story in such a way that different themes in different fields are covered. Below highlighted are some of the themes in this novel:
Society and class
This theme has clearly been brought out. The Jungle majors on a socialist agenda. The word socialist has “Society” in it and, as a result, it brings lots of senses that possibly the most significant theme in this book is society and class (Fritsch 431).
Suffering is also clearly depicted as a theme as there are characters in the story that are seen trying to alleviate the suffering of other people. A story is told of a settlement worker who did weep with Teta Elzbieta over her horrifying family life and then finds Jurgis a job. Suffering, in this case, is not imaginary but real, and it is widely covered in The Jungle.
Poverty is talked of a lot in The Jungle. The novel brings about the issue of economic exploitation which the author says is the aim of capitalists. The rich use the poor workers to get wealthier as the poor ones continue being poor or sometimes move to the worst. It is also depicted that poverty prompted the move of the immigrants from their country Lithuania to such for a better life in America thereby bringing out the issue of poverty and attempts to alleviate it.
Language and Communication
The Jungle is a fervent plea for the compassion of the readers in the wake of the injustices that devastate the lives of the poor slum dwellers of Chicago. Language is in this case exceedingly important in an attempt to pass this message so that it is not viewed as an attack on the government of the day but a concern about the lives of the people.
Even if women were extremely important part of the early American socialist movement, this novel surprisingly has very few strong-minded female workers (Connell 76; Evans 142). Most of them are seen vulnerable and waiting for men to take care of them. They do not have the will to take it upon themselves to make their lives better the way they would like it to become.
Why I liked the book
Reading the book, I find very many things to like. The book has unearthed a lot of things going on in our society some of which are overlooked. Ours is a capitalist state. It is true that the rich employ the poor to exploit their minds for personal gains. The rich will become wealthier while the poor languishes in poverty even if they are working to earn a living. I agree with the author in entirety about this issue and if I were to give my opinion on how our society should be run then I would have gone for a socialist economy (Fritsch 436).
I also liked this novel for the fact that it touched on the health safety of the common people. It is not uncommon to hear in the mainstream media as well as the social media that some companies sue orthodox means to produce food products sold to people to consume. Either the conditions under which they are prepared is unhygienic, or the materials are not acceptable for human consumption. These were well illustrated in The Jungle and I feel this novel greatly touches on my everyday life prompting me to develop a strong liking towards it.
Archer, Margaret, et al. Critical realism: Essential readings. London: Routledge, 2013.
Connell, Raewyn W. Gender and power: Society, the person and sexual politics. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, 2014.
Demant Frederiksen, Martin. “The Informal Post-Socialist Economy: Embedded Practices and Livelihoods.” Europe-Asia Studies 67.3 (2015): 503-504.
Evans, Richard J. The feminists: women’s emancipation movements in Europe, America and Australasia 1840-1920. New York: Routledge, 2012.
Fritsch, Michael, et al. “How much of a socialist legacy? The re-emergence of entrepreneurship in the East German transformation to a market economy.”Small Business Economics 43.2 (2014): 427-446.
Hesse, Jan-Otmar. “New “fundamental laws of capitalism”. Thomas Piketty and Economic History.” Vierteljahrschrift für Sozial-und Wirtschaftsgeschichte101.4 (2014): 500-505.
Robinson, Clifford Allen. “The Longest Transference: Self-Consolation and Politics in Latin Philosophical Literature.” (2014).
Smart, John Jamieson Carswell. Philosophy and scientific realism. Routledge, 2014.