Significance of the Jungle by Upton Sinclair
As any animal part of a dense, shrubby surrounding, it may be difficult to find food or merely survive. In Upton Sinclairs’ novel, The Jungle, he expresses the idea of a jungle? Social Darwinism, fending for yourself, and working together. Using these ideas, he resembles the life of Jurgis and his family who faces these struggles in order to attempt to achieve the American dream. The Jungle metaphorically paints a picture of the economic situation and the horrid conditions Jurgis and his family face in the Chicago meatpacking plants.
The life in Packingtown resembles the jungle life because the weak and the old are rejected, while the strong and the young are wanted for awhile, which is the main idea in Social Darwinism. As Jurgis and his family comes to Chicago to chase the American dream—the idea that hard work and morality will bring them material success and happiness they encounter the brutality and hardships of working. When Jurgis arrived, he was a clean cut, ready for work, and had a husky figure.
As he was over worked, and broke his leg, he was unable to provide for his family. That resulted in the downfall of their family. As the family struggled as one, they all had to fend for themselves. While Ona was being blackmailed to be her bosses mistress, she could not tell anyone for it would affect them all. She was unable to fend for herself. Jurgis on the other hand, throughout the novel, had to fend for himself. When he was angry about the bartender giving him the wrong amount of change back, he had no one to be on his side to say he was right.
Also, when Jurgis and his family arrived in Chicago and was unable to adapt to the conditions nor were there people to assist them, it was difficult for them to survive. Jurgis’ family could not pay for the bills or their living space without the help from the whole family. Each member contributed, with their minimum wages, to survive. In means of support, the family had to work together, as the same as any animal tribe would.
If one person were to falter, the whole group could possibly fall apart. For instance, when Jurgis was put in jail, unable to provide for his family, his family was unable to support themselves and fell apart. Wherever Jurgis turns, he find a jungle— a dense, harsh environment, and generally beat by it. Thus explaining the significance of the title, The Jungle. If the novel was titled differently, it would be difficult to grasp the real message attempting to be revealed in the novel.
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