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An examination of the book the jungle by upton sinclair jr

The Jungle is the best-known of the muckraking works that came out of the Progressive Era of the early twentieth century; however, its scope is not limited to that particular period. Sinclair paints an interesting picture of the progress of organized labor and the political power of business in American society.

The Jungle is a valuable tool to anyone interested in the current issues of immigration, industrialization, organized labor, and government regulation of the economy for it shows us from whence we came. Through its exposure of the worst characteristics of industrial society, its depiction of a specific era in American history, and its use of literary elements to inform the reader, it can be used in World history or American history classes, or in English classes that study the novel as a genre.

The Jungle, originally serialized by the newspaper, was published in book form in 1906. Instead, his graphic and nauseating descriptions of the meat packing industry led to passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act that had been stalled in Congress. The Jungle follows the experiences of an extended Lithuanian family that immigrates to the United States in the early 1900s to make their fortune.

They arrive in Chicago full of excitement and optimism and gain employment in the meat packing plants. A seemingly innocent and practical an examination of the book the jungle by upton sinclair jr to own a home begins the chain of events that leads to ruin. Surrounded by cruel and unscrupulous businessmen and politicians, the family cannot meet monthly expenses. Chapter after chapter depicts the extremes to which they must go to earn enough money to survive, and the steady loss of their humanity.

Finally, after three years of struggle, most of the adults are dead or ruined, and the children are on the streets as often as they are in school.

Although his immediate family struggled financially, his extended family was well-to-do. While The Jungle is his best-known work, it is not the most critically acclaimed. Sinclair spent the last years of his life in a nursing home in New Jersey, where he died in 1968. Perhaps his best epitaph is a statement by George Bernard Shaw. The Progressive movement was the first major reform movement of twentieth-century industrial America.

It was a movement primarily of the urban middle-class who sought government intervention in the industrial economy to improve the living and working conditions of the working class, many of whom were eastern European immigrants. While many Progressives were motivated by humanitarianism, some were frightened by the growing influence of the socialist party in Europe and the threat of that same influence in the United States.

They saw assistance to the poor as a way to counteract that threat. However, they generally did not propose solutions. The history student can also benefit from using this novel as an example of the immigrant experience or the problems of early industrial society.

Because of the obvious legislative results of The Jungle, it could be incorporated into a study of books that changed the country. The coming misfortunes are hinted at in the descriptions of guests and their own misfortunes.

The Jungle Teacher’s Guide

What event begins the book? Who is in charge of the festivities? What is the ethnic background of the main characters? Why is Jurgis always optimistic about the prospect of work? How many members of the extended family immigrated to America? Why did the family choose to go to Chicago? What reality did they encounter once they arrived? Where did the family find lodging on their arrival in Chicago? What is their first impression of Packingtown?

Chapter III Before they begin work, the family tours one of the packing plants and is amazed at the activity and apparent efficiency. What process does the family observe on their tour?

  1. What happens to this job? Upton sinclair and his book, the jungle scriptions to progressive calvinism league, a monthly devoted to an examination of modern calvinism.
  2. Examine the character of Jurgis throughout the book. Where and under what conditions does she work?
  3. What event begins the book?

What characteristics of Durham and company impress the family? The adults find work and the family decides to invest in a house. However, they discover that the details of the purchase are not what they expected. Which members of the family went to work?

Why did Jurgis refuse to allow Ona and the children to work? Why are the prospects for work for Dede Antanas poor? Why does the family decide to buy a house? What concerns Teta Elzbieta at the signing of the papers? How is that concern reconciled? Chapter V As the family members become more accustomed to Packingtown, they begin to discover the corruption underlying the system. What new need arises once the house is purchased? Why is Jurgis dismayed to discover that most of the workers hate their situation?

Why does Jurgis initially refuse to join the union? How does Dede Antanas get work? What is his job? What unpleasant truths do the working members of the family begin to discover about their work places? Chapter VI In Chapter Six the family discovers that they must pay interest on their purchase, which almost doubles the monthly payment. This need requires that more members of the family go to work.

  • Extend the map to include greater Chicago and the harvester works and steel plant;
  • The Progressive movement was the first major reform movement of twentieth-century industrial America;
  • What were the threats to a decent girl like Ona?

Why had Jurgis and Ona been forced to wait to be married? What two horrible truths do they learn about their house? What political philosophy does Grandmother Majauszkiene support?

What does she predict will happen? Why do the owners keep bringing in new immigrant workers? An examination of the book the jungle by upton sinclair jr does the family raise the money for the monthly interest? Dede Antanas dies from the poor working and living conditions. What unknown hazards account for the poor health of the children? How does old Antanas die? Why is his death a double tragedy to the family? What incident at work makes Stanislovas fear the cold and snow?

What moral pitfalls plagued the working men? What saved Jurgis from these threats? However, loss of work and the financial needs of the family force her to postpone her plans. Who was the target of her affections? What tragedy puts a stop to her plans? Why does Jurgis decide to join a union? Chapter IX Jurgis becomes more and more involved in the union. Through the union, he gets his first exposure to the American political system. Why did Jurgis decide to study English?

How did union membership introduce Jurgis to American politics? Who was Mike Scully? How did the Chicago political machine work? What corruption were the packers involved in? Chapter X More tragedy befalls the family in the form of taxes, insurance, and sewer fees. Marija and Ona both struggle with their work situations. Ona gives birth to a son, but remains in poor health after the birth. What unforeseen expenses were associated with the house? Why did Marija lose her job? How does she find another one?

What were the threats to a decent girl like Ona? What problems does Ona have after the birth of the baby? Chapter XI Jurgis suffers a serious accident at work and is unable to work for weeks. Without his pay, the family comes closer to financial ruin. What threat does the winter blizzard hold? What accident befalls Jurgis? Chapter XII Jurgis tries to return to work too soon and is reinjured.

An examination of the book the jungle by upton sinclair jr

When he finally recovers, he discovers that his job has been given to someone else. He begins the long difficult task of finding another job. Meanwhile, Jonas disappears; the family never learns his fate. What happens when Jurgis tries to go back to work? What happens to Jonas while Jurgis is incapacitated?

What decision is the family forced to make? Why is Jurgis unable to find another job easily? Jurgis finally gets a job at the fertilizer plant, the worse job in Packingtown. What crisis arises with the death of little Kristoforas?