one scenario to the next.
is so complex and busy, it is hard to comprehend all that is taking place. That is exactly how the book is
The novel takes place in Packingtown, a small area in Chicago during the early 1900’s.
with a black smoke that pours all day long from the big factories. The streets are not paved and the
takes place in several time sequences where Sinclair briefly stops to explain the new problem that the
main character must overcome.
wife, Elzbieta, mother in law of Ona, and Marija, Ona’s cousin. Jurgis is the main character of the novel
killing beds in a meat factory. Jurgis is a man who only wants the best for Ona and when faced with a
problem uses the motto, “I will work harder.” Ona is a “mere child” whose physical and emotional
believability. The working laborer is depicted and shares little differences from the intellectual upper-
class man. Also, characterization is entirely external. The author always tells the actions of the character
Jurgis is faced with many problems throughout the story but none more apparent than that of
poverty. The level of poverty in Packingtown is that of a lower standard than we are accustomed to.
he no longer has his old job and must search for a new one. Jurgis is unable to find a job and following
man chooses to go if he can help it. Then Jurgis finds out that Ona has committed adultery forced upon
her by Conner, one of the foremen where they work. Jurgis confronts Conner and beats him badly and is
sent to jail. Ona dies from an early labor and Jurgis stays drunk for several days and only brings himself
back together by the pleas of Elzbieta who cries for the sake of Anatas, Jurgis’s son. All through these
problems Jurgis stay the same and changes little. The turning point in the novel and the only time that
point on Jurgis takes to socialism and tries to learn more about it. Jurgis joins up with other socialists and
learns how socialism is the only answer to everyone’s problems.
There is one thing that Sinclair refrains from and that is going right out and describing a
character. He puts a picture of the character in the reader’s mind’s eye by how the character acts and by
what he does. For instance Ona’s frailty and hesitation to confront any resistance shows that she is small
and timid. On the other hand Jurgis was hired for a job by just standing there and looking imposing. It
was also said about Jurgis that “he could take up a two-hundred-and-fifty-pound quarter of beef and carry
in the story instead of bringing the reader on to their level. I couldn’t find any passages in the story that
illustrates dialogue used effectively. One thing that Sinclair uses for effect in the story is repetition. The
whole point of the story is to preach about socialism, so to create the correct frame of mind for the reader,
Sinclair must show how bad the way of life at present time in the story is. So repetitively, Jurgis has one
horrible thing after another happen to him. He losses jobs, becomes injured, has family members die, all
sacrifices in the beginning, their three hundred dollars that they had scraped together, all they owned in
the world, all that stood between them and starvation! And then their toil, month by month, to get the
twelve dollars, and the interest as well, and now and then the taxes, and the other charges, and the repairs,
and what not! Dede Antanas had died in the struggle to earn that money–he would have been alive and
strong today if he had not had to work in Durham’s dark cellars to earn his share. And Ona too, had
This passage shows the repetitiveness that the characters had been through throughout the story.
Everything that they ever work for, they lose many times over. Sinclair shows his characters no mercy,
whenever it can’t get worse, it does.
One obvious aspect of the story is the theme. It is clear to the reader the point that Sinclair is
trying to get across to the reader. The theme is how socialism is the only way to lead a descent life.
Sinclair is trying to say that without socialism, we will be forced to life a life as Jurgis did. The basic way
because it is know about eighty years after the story was written and we have gotten along just fine while
other countries have relied on communism and collapsed. If I was living the life of Jurgis though, I would
socialism would change the country for the better. I on the other hand am appreciative of the form of
democracy we practice today.
The best thing about The Jungle is the atmosphere and the story line. I liked the vivid picture of
the gloomy atmosphere that Sinclair painted in my mind. I also liked how the book kept my interest
throughout the story. The ending of the story has several things left unsaid, but the actual story was good.
I would not be that interested in reading another story by that author because chances are that it would be
another book about socialism. There is also the fact that Sinclair does not form his characters all that well
and they do not develop throughout the story. Sinclair can write a pretty convincing story, they’re just not