The Jungle by Upton Sinclair was a book published in 1906 by Bantam Dell in response to the corruption in the meat packing industry. This 372 page book is political fiction and was set in Packingtown, Chicago during the early 1900s. The plot follows a immigrant from Lithuania named Jurgis Rudkus. Determined to make it in America, Jurgis pushes through injury, sickness, poverty, and crime to support his loved ones.
The book itself was about Jurgis and his journey to pursue the American dream. He found out soon after his wedding ceremony with Ona that he was in debt and had just begun to see the corruption in America’s big business. The family falls for the swindle of a real-estate agent and are forced into paying monthly for a house. Once he sprains his ankle and gets laid off of work the family gets covered in debt and is forced to move back to the boardinghouse that they started in. Later, after Jurgis gets laid off, Ona gets threatened and raped by her boss Phil Connor. In response to this Jurgis beats the man nearly to death and gets sentenced to 30 days in prison. This and his wife and newborn child’s death sets in action a turn of events that leads to Jurgis running away to the countryside and taking up a life of crime. Going in and out of jail, Jurgis meets up with a socialist that eventually inspires him to reunite with his family and to try and support them. He then becomes a strong supporter of socialism and the book concludes.
The Jungle was and extremely influential book that had enough impact to spark the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906. My opinions on the book are mixed. Being a relatively early piece of American literature it was hard to follow and had many odd names that accompanied the immigrants. My literary skills are most likely the cause of this book being hard to follow, but that is my opinion. Other than being hard to understand, the plot of the book was an interesting one with both success and tragedy, mostly the latter. It...