“There Will Be Blood” Review
The character Daniel Plainview, was a major focus throughout the movie “There Will Be Blood’ due to his connections to the oil industry. Daniel was dressed in plain colors such as tan, brown, and occasional greys. The clothing he wore symbolized the late 1800’s and early 1900’s when there was a major rush for finding oil, in order to make money to support your family. Most his outfits throughout the movie were variations of trousers, a baggy shirt, and suspenders symbolizing he was a working man in the oil company during that time frame.
Daniel’s clothes were not fancy, instead symbolizing the poverty and struggles he went through at the beginning of his life. Working in the oil company was a dirty job that would leave the employees covered in black by the time they were done with a day’s work. As the movie progressed and Daniel earned more money, the audience saw Daniel own fancier clothing such as a suit. Owning a suit during that time was a major sign of wealth and showed that he was not as much of a working man, but an overseer of his company. Throughout the movie it was prominent that Daniel felt he was better than most people based on the amount of wealth he was accumulating.
Daniel stated that he feels like the best version of himself when he is all alone and he wants to be the best. He cared about money and beating his competitors so much, he even sent his son away. Eventually, he brought his son back, but there was a big disconnect between the Daniel and H. W. (the son). The producer showed the disconnect by the distance placed between the two characters in the field and in the restaurant. Daniel didn’t care about how he treated people, he was just looking to get ahead in life. Another thing the producer did was zoom in on the side of Daniels’s face when he was in deep thought. There also were close ups on Daniel’s face whenever he would address crowds or be in an argument. Even though there were close ups on Daniel’s face, he rarely look the audience in the eye. The audience saw Daniel progress into a man that began losing his mind as shown in many of the close-up images, showing the anger in his eyes.
Finally, throughout the film Eli’s and Daniel’s relationship can represent the relationship of God and a human being. Eli represents God trying to bring Daniel to the Lord and realize what he is doing to those surrounding him. Eli also believes that Daniel being connected to the Lord will help his oil company and his overall happiness. However, the very last scenes of the movie reverse the characters rolls in the movie. This time Eli is looking for guidance and goes to Daniel for help. Instead of being the helping hand, Daniel kills Eli.
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. Book Review
The Jungle Book Review
In The Jungle, Upton Sinclair weaves the plight of immigrant workers in the late 1800’s into an emotionally compelling narrative that chronicles the hardships of a Lithuanian family that has just moved to Chicago. Sinclair uses the brutal and emotionally hard-hitting story of this family (which is mostly run by the patriarch, Jurgis) and the trials it faces as a tool by which to rationalize his socialist views and as a method by which to convince the reader of these views’ correctness. Over the course of the novel, Sinclair highlights certain portions of capitalist philosophy that he believes are inhumane or ironic, and he depicts capitalism to be an evil that leeches off of Jurgis and his family. By unearthing the inherent problems in American capitalism, Sinclair effectively defaces the pompous idea of the ‘American dream’ of the 1800’s, replacing it with a sense of skepticism towards the American capitalist system.
Sinclair opens the story with the wedding feast of two central characters, Ona and Jurgis. From the start, the evils of the American system can be seen; in the opening pages of the book, Sinclair describes ‘leeches’ at the wedding feast, saying that these immoral people came to the feast, ate, and left without giving back. He blatantly blames this on the unfairness of the American system, saying that “since they [Ona, Yurgis, and their family] had come to the new country, all this was changing”, with the word “this” referring to the good-heartedness that was present in Lithuania, but absent in America (17). As the story progresses, Sinclair tears down the seemingly perfect idea of the American dream piece by piece. He highlights the irony of the “realization of triumph [that] swept over” Jurgis upon getting a job by immediately following it with gruesome descriptions of the working conditions at Packingtown (34). Soon after this, Sinclair clearly articulates his thesis through Tamoszius Kuszleika’s comment about the omnipresent and ubiquitous nature of corruption in a capitalist society. In this seemingly methodical way, Sinclair sheds light on his contentions with capitalism, and he concludes by offering his alternative; socialism. The last three chapters are largely a method by which Sinclair propagandizes his views, abandoning the narrative and offering his solution to the problems he has previously explored.
While The Jungle effectively does its job in bringing the problems of corruption and sanitation in the workplace to light, it contains more than a few flaws in terms of its usefulness as an all-encompassing account of the labor front in the late 1800’s. The roots of the narrative’s bias can be traced to its purpose; Sinclair, in writing the book, tries to convince the reader of the evils of capitalism and the beauty of socialism, and he does this by using the harsh story of Jurgis’ family as a way to appeal to the reader’s emotions. This very nature of the book as a method of political propaganda renders a bias inevitable; the fact that it was written as a political weapon rather than a historical account of a time period guarantees that one side of the argument will be glorified and the other will be ignored. Therefore, when reading The Jungle, the reader is, by design, only exposed to the immigrant’s side of the story and no one else’s. Furthermore, one must ultimately treat Sinclair’s writing with skepticism, as the narrative is a work of fiction. Even though he uses legitimate evidence in order to construct his story, one must realize that ultimately, Sinclair is trying to convince the reader of a certain view, and that he has employed the use of fiction in many parts of the book. While the narrative does expose many horrific, sometimes hard-to-digest truths about the evils of capitalism, in the end, its form and function take away from its value as a complete historical account, as it fails to give the reader a complete and overall historical truth.
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. Literary Review
The Jungle Review
During the Progressive Era of the late 1800s and into the early 1900s, conditions for the average labourer were very poor and worsening day by day. There were very few safety regulations, and gruesome deaths occurred frequently in almost every line of work the average laborer was qualified for . Work days were unreasonably long, usually 12 hours in one day, and sometimes more. This resulted in the formation of unions that fought against their unfair work conditions; naturally, the big corporations that were being opposed retaliated, and the rift between classes grew . The Jungle, written by Upton Sinclair in 1906, explores the lives of a family of immigrant workers trying to make a living in Chicago during this time . Many problems and ideas that were present during the time were expressed in the narrative of their lives, including chasing the elusive American Dream, class differences, the rising appeal of Socialism among workers.
The book follows a Lithuanian family traveling to the United States because they had heard about the great opportunities there. Their final goal is Chicago, and when they finally arrive there, they start to search for jobs and a permanent home. One of the first places they see is the stockyards, where animals are killed and the meat is processed. Here, as the group watches the slaughtering of the pigs, the reader is introduced to the falsehood of the American Dream:
“One could not stand and watch very long without becoming philosophical . . . Each one of these hogs was a separate creature . . . And each of them had an individuality of his own, a will of his own, a hope and a heart’s desire; each was full of self-confidence, of self-importance, and a sense of dignity. And trusting and strong in faith he had gone about his business, the while a black shadow hung over him and a horrid Fate waited in his pathway. Now suddenly it had swooped upon him, and had seized him by the leg. Relentless, remorseless, it was; all his protests, his screams, were nothing to it . . . Who would take this hog into his arms and comfort him, reward him for his work well done, and show him the meaning of his sacrifice? . . . Our friends were not poetical, and the sight suggested to them no metaphors of human destiny; they thought only of the wonderful efficiency of it all.”
This excerpt not only illustrates one of the many horrors of the meat industry, it also gives the reader a glimpse into the fate of “our friends” (as they are often referred to by the narrator). It serves as foreshadowing that they didn’t pick up on; they were too captivated by the efficiency of the system to realize the cruel metaphor.
After trying their hardest to make a living in Chicago, having to work dangerous jobs for long hours and unreasonably low pay, and losing the lives of some of their family members, they felt like they were merely existing, and living was not possible.“They were lost, they were going down—and there was no deliverance for them, no hope; for all the help it gave them the vast city in which they lived might have been an ocean waste, a wilderness, a desert, a tomb.”⁴ — and possibly a jungle.
The title of the book alludes to the wild, survival-of-the-fittest way of life that kept Chicago economically afloat. In the wild, natural selection weeds out the weaker species and allows the stronger species to carry on surviving. The same principle existed in Chicago during the Progressive Era; the wealthy higher-ups would continue surviving, while those of lower social standing were left to die out. This concept was known as Social Darwinism , and it was touched upon in The Jungle. The reader sees both ends of the spectrum as the narrative follows Jurgis Rudkus, a member of the Lithuanian family. He worked for years in various low paying jobs, including in the meat packing and fertilizer departments. However, when his grandfather, wife, and son all die as a result of the sort of life they are forced to live, Jurgis makes his way into the politics of Chicago, and the reader discovers just how corrupt the system is. Despite the fact that it is corrupt, all of these people of power have a better chance of survival than any of the workers that carry them through life.
The Jungle also discussed the gaping hole between the upper and lower classes during the Progressive Era. The lower class works for almost nothing, and the upper class takes what the lower class earns; the gap was widening rapidly, and it was very difficult to rise in class.
“And so all over the world two classes were forming, with an unbridged chasm between them—the capitalist class, with its enormous fortunes, and the proletariat, bound into slavery by unseen chains. The latter were a thousand to one in numbers, but they were ignorant and helpless, and they would remain at the mercy of their exploiters until they were organized—until they had become “class-conscious.”
This quote summarized the class conflict exactly; it also brings about the concept of “class-consciousness”. Being class-conscious is being aware that you are in the lower class for unfair reasons, and being aware that you can change that for yourself.
Overall, The Jungle illustrated the hardships (to say the least) of the honest worker in the Progressive Era of America. Although life was rough, as pointed out by the narrative of the family, changes were always happening, and the fight for fair labor wouldn’t end until the workmen were given a fair chance at a living.
Illustration of Unhealthy Working Conditions and Unsafe Food in Sinclair’s the Jungle
To many foreigners, America seemed like a paradise compared to their home country. It boasted better wages, better jobs, and a better life. This was not a lie, but for immigrants, was very hard to obtain. The ones that were making money were the people that had been living in America for generations and established businesses that took advantage of immigrant workers for low pay. Unsanitary working conditions and unsafe food is portrayed in The Jungle. The life of immigrants, for some, was worse than their life back home. Rules in packing plants were not enforced, the laws did not help ensure safety because they were not followed, and the government should make and enforce regulations to ensure quality food.
Packing rules were not enforced to the degree they should have been. The first example of this is when the inspector comes into the plant that Jurgis works at. He looks at a few animals to check their quality. After he determines they are fit for consumption, the others are not checked as they should be. Instead of doing a thorough check of the whole plant, he gets distracted in a conversation by the owner. Another example of this is the owner of the plant not enforcing any rules. They should not have used diseased animals, but the owner sent them out in the same fashion as the animals that were fit for consumption.
Without government enforcement, most regulations will go unfollowed. People that run the packinghouses are very greedy and will do anything to ensure a greater profit. They do not follow them because it costs money to discard product that is unsafe for consumption. These products eventually end up with consumers and can cause sickness or even death, while the consumers think the product is safe. In the novel, the only thing that the laws did was trick consumers into thinking they were eating safe food, which in reality was not fit to eat.
The government should frequently send out inspectors at various times without warning. Every time there should be a different inspector to ensure there is a quality inspection. On top of this, they should survey the workers of the plant. To make sure that it is a fair survey, they should guarantee job security and make sure that there will not be repercussions from the employers if they tell the truth. The government should also constantly update their laws and regulations to ensure public safety because of upcoming possible problems.
The regulations for the packing plants had good intentions, but were not enforced satisfactorily. Inspectors were corrupt and did inadequate jobs inspecting the plants. Laws and rules only trick people when they are not enforced, rather than ensuring the safety of people. People’s greed cannot be contained and can only be controlled with proper government intervention. There was not proper regulation or inspection in the packing plants in the novel.
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair – One of the Great Muckraking Works of the Progressive Era
Sinclair had intended to expose the horrible conditions faced by immigrants as they tried to survive in Chicago’s Meat-Packing District in his 1904 novel, The Jungle. While he did an admirable job of showing the unfair labor, housing, and economic conditions in Packingtown he did an even better job describing the horrible conditions which America’s meat was produced. His descriptions of the filthy and unsavory additions to sausage and other meat products woke up politicians to the problem, including President Theodore Roosevelt.
The Jungle is directly credited with helping to pass the Pure Food and Drug Act as well as The Meat Inspection Act in 1906. Examples of how truly horrific meatpacking plants in Chicago really were. The main protagonist of the novel, Jurgis, saw men in the picking room with skin diseases. Men who used knives on the sped-up assembly lines frequently lost fingers. Men who hauled approximately 100-pound hunks of meat crippled their backs. To where workers with tuberculosis coughing constantly and spit blood on the floor. And right next to where the meat was being processed, workers often used primitive toilets without any access to soap and water to clean their hands. In some areas, no toilets existed, and workers would occasionally urinate in a corner. Lunchrooms were pretty scarce at the time and often rare, so much so that workers ate where the worked.
Following along through the novel, Jurgis suffered a series of heart-wrenching misfortunes that began when he injured his foot on the assembly line. And the aftermath of it all resulted to ‘no workers compensation’ being around the time, as well as the employer not claiming responsibility for Jurgis being injured on the job. Due to this Jurgis’s life fell apart, eventually losing his family, home, and job. Sinclair also included a chapter on how diseased, rotten, and contaminated meat products were processed, doctored by chemicals, and mislabeled for sale to the public. He wrote that workers would process dead, injured, and diseased animals after regular hours when no meat inspectors were around. He also details on how pork fat and beef scraps were canned and labeled as “potted chicken”. Due to the revolting nature of meat processing companies; the passage of The Meat Inspection Act opened the way for Congress to approve a long-blocked law to regulate the sale of most other foods and drugs.
The uproar over The Jungle revived Harvey W. Wiley’s lobbying efforts in Congress for federal food and drug regulation. And eventually tested chemicals added to preserve foods, finding that many food products were dangerous to human health. Roosevelt overcame meat-packer opposition and pushed through The Meat Inspection Act of 1906. The law authorized inspectors from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to stop any bad or mislabeled meat from entering interstate and foreign commerce. This law greatly expanded federal government regulation of private enterprise. Sinclair did not like the laws regulating approach. True to his socialist convictions, he preferred meatpacking plants to be publicly owned and operated by cities, as was commonly the case in Europe. Sinclair was dismayed, however, when the public reacted with outrage about the filthy and falsely labeled meat, rather than the plight of the workers. Thus giving us the term “I aimed at the public’s heart, and by accident, I hit it in the stomach” describing the reaction on how he saw his novel affecting society. Though some of the population thought of Sinclair as a ‘muckraker’, he thought of himself novelist. But The Jungle took on a life of its own as one of the great muckraking works of the Progressive Era.
The Issue of Social Injustice in Jungle by Upton Sinclair
American history has always been dominated by those individuals who have challenged themselves with causes. Sinclair was a leading “muckraker,” a group of early twentieth-century American journalists and writers who sought to initiate reforms by exposing social and political excesses and abuses, and variously admired and excoriated by critics, the novel is responsible for bringing to light the appalling working and sanitary conditions of Chicago’s slaughterhouses.
The Jungle is one of the best-known pieces of the muckraker movement. Sinclair used The Jungle as a way to make America aware of the corruption of Chicago’s meat packing industry and the general corruption of capitalism. He did this by telling the story of a group of Lithuanian immigrants who came to America seeking fortune, freedom, and opportunity. These hopes for the new world perished in jungle of human suffering. Sinclair’s answer to the horrible conditions in packinghouses, wage slavery, and anguish of laborers was socialist reform.
The Jungle gives multiple implications to the contemporary labor relations which are still vulnerable to the same pitfalls which persist because of the nature of the US capitalist system and traditions of the US labor relations. In the “Gilded Age” immigrants from all over the world became part of America’s working nation in hopes of finding a new and better life for themselves and their families. As more and more new families moved to America with high hopes, more and more people fell victims to the organized society, politics, and institutions better described as, the system. The system was like a jungle, implying that only the strong survived and the weak perished. Bosses always picked the biggest and strongest from a throng of people desperate for work, and if you were big and strong, you were more likely to get the job then if you were small and weak. Sinclair shows clearly the wide gap between the employer and the employee. The main character of the book is struggling for survival, while owners of plants rip off high profits and stay wealthy. In such a way, the author clearly shows the wide gap between the rich and poor in the US, which is actually the gap between owners of businesses and their employees. In actuality, this trend persists, although it is not so obvious as it used to be in the past. In fact, the gap between owners of business and employees was the distinct feature of capitalism and this gap could be easily traced since the beginning of the industrial revolution in the US. More important, the beginning of the industrial revolution accelerated the widening gap between owners of businesses and large corporations, on the one hand, and workers on the other.
Thus, the book Jungle by Upton Sinclair reveals the social injustice that persisted in the US in the early 20th century. However, the book raises many issues, which are still relevant today, such as the workplace safety, employees’ rights, labor relations, government policies in relation to labor relations, sexual harassment, social security and injustice and many other important issues. Upton Sinclair shows the desperate position of the working class in the US and clearly indicates the shift to socialism as the only solution to the problem of social injustice. In this regard, his solution is debatable but the point is that problems raised by Sinclair in his book were and, to a certain extent, are relevant and affect many people. The economic disparity and the unfair redistribution of the national wealth is the major problem that causes other issues and widens gaps between the rich and the poor in the US.