The Lessons Immigrants Can Learn From The Jungle By Upton Sinclair

June 23, 2022 by Essay Writer

Upton Sinclair’s novel, The Jungle, depicts the struggles and obstacles that immigrants were facing in the early twentieth century. Sinclair brings out the detailed truth of how horrible the lives of immigrants were after first coming to America with no money. Immigrants had to deal with horrible corruption, not only in government but also just in general, poverty, and terrible work conditions all over the country. It was very tough for immigrants to be in a new place where people spoke an unfamiliar language and had a much more competitive economy. There are many lessons to be learned by immigrants in this novel. Immigrants can learn from The Jungle to be careful about who they trust, have a plan before coming into a new environment, and to keep working through the challenges that arise and be willing to make sacrifices.

Immigrants should be cautious of who they trust when coming into a new place that they do not know much about. If they trust the wrong people it could lead them down a dark path, even though they do not know any better. For example, in The Jungle, when Jurgis and his family moved to America, he was walking to work one morning and saw an advertisement for a house. Jurgis talked about buying it with his family for a few weeks and they looked at the house, which was not at all how it seemed in the picture. When they went to sign the deed for the house and the deed was written in legalese that they could not understand, they suspected that they were being cheated, so they got a lawyer and the lawyer turned out to be the agent’s friend and assured them that they were not being cheated. They were told that as long as they paid the money every month that the house would be theirs to have, and this gave Jurgis a sense of relief. Later in the novel when Jurgis returned from jail, he discovered the family had been evicted and kicked out of the house for not being able to pay the rent. These experiences show that Jurgis and his family should not have trusted the advertisement of the house, because that was not how the house actually was. They should not have trusted the lawyer or the agent, because they both deceived the family and the family ended up getting kicked of the house that they thought they had rightfully owned. Immigrants should learn from these examples to be careful not to trust just any person when coming to a new place without carefully getting to know them or getting help from somebody who knows more about that person.

Immigrants should spend a lot of time and effort into formulating a plan before moving into an entirely new environment. Coming into a new place with no clear plan could cause new immigrants a lot of problems. In The Jungle, Jurgis thought he could get a job in America easily just because he was strong and young. Because Jurgis thought this, he did not try to prearrange a job for himself before coming to America, which he knew nothing about except some stories, he had never even seen a city. This caused Jurgis and his family to struggle from job to job all throughout the book. In the book, Antanas, Jurgis’s son, dies by drowning in the street. After hearing this, Jurgis went straight to a train and got on it with no plan of where he was going. Since Jurgis did not have any clear plan of action, this caused him to become a tramp and wonder around with no place to stay. Immigrants can learn from these examples to plan ahead for the future, so they can be more prosperous.

Another thing immigrants can learn from The Jungle is to work through challenges and be willing to make sacrifices when immigrating to a new country. There are many examples of this all throughout the book. After Jurgis finally healed from his ankle injury and could not find a job, he decided he had to suck it up for the sake of the family and take the job in the fertilizer mill, the worst job a man could get. Teta Elzbieta found a job in a sausage factory that was very difficult for her, because of the constant standing for hours on end. She put up with the difficulty though to help the family. Since Elzbieta had to go to work in the sausage factory, this left her daughter, Kotrina, to be in charge of the house and the younger children. Kotrina had to sacrifice being a child and act like an adult so the real adults could go work and earn money for the family. Immigrants can learn from these examples to push through hard times, but also to make sacrifices.

So from The Jungle, immigrants can learn to be careful of whom they trust, have a plan before going into a new place, and work through challenges and make sacrifices. These are valuable lessons to help immigrants through the trials of a new environment. Immigrants can take these lessons and apply them to their lives, and hopefully it will help them be more prosperous than the family in The Jungle was. It is important for immigrants to do these things right in order to have better quality of life, especially if they are moving to a country with a very competitive economy, like that of The Jungle.


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