On September 20, 1878, a man by the name of Upton Sinclair was born. Upton Sinclair greatly impacted society in the early 1900’s by publishing a book that describes the terror and hardships faced by immigrants. These immigrants were faced with fear and horrific events almost like in a jungle, and therefore this book was named the Jungle. Upton Sinclair’s book, The Jungle, describes how alcoholism, poverty, and people in positions of authority had a negative impact on the lives of immigrants.
Alcoholism had a drastic effect on immigrants during the early 1900’s. One example of this was how Stanislovas dies in the book. Stanislovas dies after being hired at an oil factory to get the men their beer. He would drink a little out of each can that one day he got drunk and fell asleep. He ended up getting locked in the factory all night and got killed by rats who ate nearly all of him. Another example of alcoholism affecting immigrants was Jurgis spending almost all of his money on alcohol. When Jurgis would get his paycheck he would go to the saloons and buy alcohol to relieve him of the horrors in packingtown. Most of the paycheck would go to the saloons and he had hardly any money left for the family. The last example of alcoholism affecting immigrants was how Jurgis’s drinking problem affected Ona. Ona was petrified of how much Jurgis drank. This made her become weaker because she worried about Jurgis so much. Eventually, she died during childbirth partly due to her health. Alcoholism wasn’t the only negative impact on society in the 1900’s, poverty also contributed to the negative impact.
Poverty played a major role in the negative impact on society during the 1900’s for immigrants. One example of poverty was Ona not having enough money for a doctor during childbirth. When Ona was about to give birth Jurgis went and tried to find a doctor for the little money they had. He was able to find a midwife but she requested him to pay her back fully once he had the money, which he never got. Because she was not a real doctor Ona died during childbirth. Another key example of poverty was Stanislovas being beaten by Jurgis to go to work. Because of the cold conditions, Stanislovas was worried about getting frostbite, so he didn’t want to go to work. Jurgis had to beat Stanislovas to go to work because the family needed money. The final negative impact poverty had on the immigrants was the Rudkus family not having enough money to buy healthy and clean food. This led to sickness in the family and Kristoforas died from eating a tuberculosis-infected sausage. Poverty affected immigrants greatly although there were other negative impacts on society like positions of authority.
Positions of authority made the life for immigrants very difficult during the early 1900’s. One example of people in positions of authority affecting immigrants was when Jurgis faced judge Pat Callahan. Judge Pat Callihan gave Jurgis an unfair trial because judge Callahan was prejudice towards immigrants. Another very important example of people in positions of authority affecting immigrants was when the real estate agent didn’t uncover all the truths to the house, like how the house was in fact not new and that they were renting the house until they made enough payments to buy it. There were also hidden fees in the contract that the family was unaware of. The last example of people in positions of authority affecting immigrants was when Phil Connor greatly abused his power by rapeing Ona and threatening her family if she didn’t keep silent. He said he would blacklist the entire family so they wouldn’t have any money to survive. These three ideas greatly impacted immigrants for the worse.
The Rudkus family fell apart in the end, along with many other immigrant families, but all of their troubles were not entirely their fault. Most of their problems were due to the factors described in this essay. In conclusion, Upton Sinclair’s book, The Jungle, describes how alcoholism, poverty, and people in positions of authority had a negative impact on the lives of immigrants.