The novel “The Jungle” was written by Upton Sinclair in the year 1906 and this wasprimarily triggered by the research he was carrying out on the lives of the people of stockyardworkers.
Sinclair had financial as well as political aspirations when writing this novel andeventually he managed to raise funds but his political aspirations that he had wished thepublication of the novel would meet, was not met because of the perception people had about thecontents of the novel. Therefore, the circumstances that led to the writing of this novel can bebest described by pining them to necessity. Upton wanted to find out the how workers lived in astockyard in Chicago (Sinclair, 2014).
In as much as the novel “The Jungle” took a portion of criticism from the public becauseof the picture it portrayed, it also made Upton rise as he experienced tremendous success in thepublishing sector. The major reason why Sinclair wrote this novel was to enlighten the peopleconcerned, of the plight of the workers who resided in the stockyard. However, the public endedup picking a different view more contrary to his expectations at the time of publishing the novel.The readers were more concerned by the threat that tainted beef posed to the consumers than thesympathy Upton had on the workers in the stockyard (Sinclair, 2014).Sinclair’s idea when writing the novel was that he was trying to sympathize with theworkers in the stockyard.
Since the need to write this book arose from a research, Upton wantedto find information regarding the harsh conditions that immigrants who lived in Chicago weregoing through. He wanted to expose the conditions of the meat industry as a way of enlighteningpeople to understand that the workers in stockyard are living in harsh conditions. It is critical tonote that the author of this novel uses the working and living conditions of the workers in thestockyard to advance his agenda of making it known to the public the difficulties experienced bythe workers (Sinclair, 1988).Several themes and motifs explain the happenings in the novel and they thereby reflect onthe themes of the course. Socialism is discussed in the novel as a remedy for the wrong deeds ofcapitalism.
This is evident in the sense that the first twenty-seven chapters of the novel where thefamily of Jurgis, who is a character in the novel, is experiences cruelty and prejudice in theirsocial and economic life from a system that exercises capitalism (Bloom, 2009). The immigrantsare used and tortured severely despite them believing in the hard work they did to yield success.The evil deeds of capitalism in this novel are also characterized by the destruction of children aswell as the sale of diseased meat to the people. Hence, the themes of this course are reflectedthrough the development of subjects in the novel by using the activities that transpire in thephysical environment of the people to describe capitalism evils. This is an important virtue inhistorical studies as they help to explain the effectiveness of systems and their effects on thepublic. The following chapters beginning at chapter twenty-eight explain how socialism is usedto cure capitalism (Sinclair, 1988).The hollowness of the American dream together with the experience of the immigrants isalso another theme that the author brings out clearly, which reflects on the themes of the course.Lithuanian immigrants are given center stage in this novel and they represent the family that theauthor uses to bring the evils of capitalism.
As such, the theme of immigrants’ experience isarticulated. The writer shows readers how Jurgis, Tieta Elzbieta, and their family come toAmerica with the hope that they will receive high wages upon working. All their expectationsturn completely opposite to what they wish (Bloom, 2009). The tough moments they go throughprove to them that the American dream of obtaining success from hard work is shuttered.
Thewriter’s quest for sympathy on behalf of these characters who go through tough times in theAmerican system is evidence of the reflection on this course. Sinclair is very clear when he putsemphasis on the effects of capitalism on the family. He does not attack the dream of America butrather explains how capitalism makes the dream become unreasonable especially to Jurgis andthe family, who are foreigners in America (Sinclair, 1988).It is important to note that the themes of the novel “The Jungle,” are brought out clearlyby the author so that the readers can get the difference between socialism and capitalism andtheir respective effects on the lives of the characters. There is also the aspect of sympathizingwith the characters on specific occasions and this helps to elaborate the pain Jurgis and thefamily, go through when they come face-to-face with the harsh reality of capitalism (Sinclair,1988). Their inability to realize their dream of America comes to them as an expected event. Thethemes of this course are elaborated in the sense that the author uses all means he can includingsympathizing, to make sure the writer understands the two systems of socialism and capitalism.
The title of the novel itself is a symbol of the how capitalism is competitive and thus it isconcurrent with the doctrine of social Darwinism, which was used in the nineteenth century tojustify the bad deeds of the capitalist. Sinclair’s work is hence significant to this course.