The Jungle by Upton Sinclare was the novel I chose to read for this final section. Thisbook was 359 pages long with 31 chapter inside. From beginning to end, this book haddetail unlike any I have ever read in the past this year. The way this novel was structuredwas a one sided view of how the industrial age was horrible to live in. Sinclare hated thistime and used this book to show how bad it really was.
Two very major character in the book happen to be a couple. There names areJurgis Rudkus and Ona Lukoszaite. The couple meet in Lithuania, where the book begins,and later move to Chicago in search of a better life.
Jurgis is a young Lithuanian immigrant that is well minded. He is very eager tofind work and be a good husband. His main purpose in life is to protect his love, Ona. Jurgis is very determined to make the best of everything and believes that he will have ahappy ending. He sadly is mistaken when he finds out how hard life can actually be. Hiswife dies while have her second baby. He becomes depressed and some what crazed. Through out the book, Jurgis gets many jobs. Such jobs include working at the meathouse, the steel mill, the fertilizer plant, digging holes and at a porter. Also through thebook we come to find out that Jurgis has a bad temper. Many times in the book he getsinto fights and is eventually hauled to jail each time. Lucky Jurgis is able to land on hisfeet after every obstacle. As for Jurgiss counter part Ona, her story is a bit different.
Ona is basically her husbands opposite. She has blue eyes and fair skin, he hasdark hair and tan skin. She is small and tiny for her age whereas he is a huge monster. Shehas education and Jurgis has none. While living in America with Jurgis, her life is a roughone at that. She has many distractions in her way. She must walk in the rain to a job thatshe hates. After she returns to work early after the childbirth, she grows sick. We laterfind out that she has tuberculosis. Although too poor to get doctors, she strives on. Some of her strange behavior around the house are attributed to her secret life and amistress for her boss. He takes advantage of her, telling her he will fire the whole family ifshe does not do as she is told. Ona later gets pregnant at the age of 18 with her secondchild. Because of her sickly state, she dies while trying to conceive the baby. After herdeath many people grieve, one of them being Onas stepmother.
Onas stepmothers name is Elizbieta Lukoszaite. She is the link to the past. Sheis the one who keeps the sense and morals to the whole family. Elizbieta is the one whoinsists on a tradition wedding and a proper funeral. She is the one that keeps hope alive. Another inspiration is Marija. Marija Berczynskas is the one with the best bets of surviving in America. She hasmany great traits that set her apart from the others. She is a leader and conqueror. Butwe come to find out that all isnt what it seems to be. The main setting in this book is in Chicago, Illinois between 1900 and 1904. Mostof the book takes place here. The setting of this city is a good one because Chicago is oneof many place where many immigrants went to when they came to this country. Anotherplace where the book it told at is Lithuania. Lithuania is where the families originate from. There is where Jurgis falls in love with Ona and where Onas father dies. In Lithuania iswhere the decision was made to move to America in the first place.
The book starts off in Lithuania days before the fair. At the fair Jurgis is told byfather that he must sell two of his horses. At the fair is where Jurgis meets Ona. At themoment of site, Jurgis falls head over heels for her, love at first site. There is a problemhere though, Ona is fourteen and Jurgis is close to twenty five years old. Because of thereage, Onas father will not let him have her. after the fair, he goes home in disappoint. thenext time he sees her, her father is now dead, his farm is sold, and Onas family is inpoverty. Still the only thing that kept Jurgis from marrying Ona is Onaa stepmother,Elizbieta. Since Onas family is going into poverty, Jonas, Elizbieta brother, suggests thatthey move to America to find a better future. Later that week, they all set out to Chicagoin search of a new life. Onas whole family goes along with Jurgis and his father. Once inChicago, the first order of business was to find shelter and work. Jurgis found a job as asweeper in a meat-packing plant. Ona was given a job sewing covers onto hams. Marijafound work as a can painter. even little Stanislovas got a job placing empty cans underjets of lard, for five cents and hour. With everyone working this way, they were able tosave up enough money for the wedding .The wedding that took place was not a cheerfulone. The pressures of work, poverty and sickness made there sprits grow weak. Whenwinter came around, the nights grew cold, and soon Jurgiss father passed away. Heworked out a funeral that wouldnt make them go bankrupt. A couple winters passes andthing got harder and harder. Ona had a baby boy and harms her health by going to workto early. A short time later Ona got pregnant again. Soon Jurgis discovers that Ona ishaving an affair with her boss, Phil Connor. She is having an affair to keep her jobbecause he threatens to fire the whole family. When Jurgis finds out about this he nearlykills Connor. Because of the beating, Jurgis is taken to jail. After the release out of jail,Jurgis finds out that the family was evicted from their house. They move back to thelodging house where they first moved to. Then Jurgis finds Ona and tries to have anabortion, but to no avail, both Ona and the baby die. Now since Jurgis has his first son, hegets a job and tries to support him. After nine day, he is laid off. His son accidentallydrowns and dies. Jurgis becomes a hobo and turns his back on Chicago. When he finallycomes back he gets a new job digging tunnels. An on the job injury lands him in thehospital. When he recovers he makes his way to a bar where he gets drunk and beats upthe bartenders. He goes to jail again. After his bail is posted he gets a job as a Foremanfor the original company he worked for. While working there he beats up Phil Connor fora second time. Again he goes to jail. After his bail is posted for the last time, he becomesa bum. When on the streets he runs into an old friend. He tells Jurgis the address ofMarija. He soon finds out that she is a prostitute. He tries to make her give up thatprofession, but to no avail. After he leaves in disappointment, he lands a new job as aporter for a major hotel. Elzbieta and her children move in with him and the book shortlyends.
A literary device in this book is used through flashbacks. In chapter one we beginin Chicago. In chapter two we flash back to Lithuania. It is here where we learn detailsabout the background of the main characters. We find out about Jurgis, Ona, and the restof her family. When we are brought back here, we end up comparing the two differentworlds. We compare the peasant world in Lithuania and with the industrially world ofChicago.
I think the authors main idea of this book was to show how awful it was to live inthe industrial age. To show how incredibly hard it was to suffers though all the hardshipthat it came with. He tried to show sympathy to everyone that had to go through it. Sinclare did a very good job at that in this book. He accomplished his goal. Uptons Sinclares style is one that is bold. He is very straight forward with hiswriting. Upton come right to you and tells us how it is. Sinclare describes everything toget his point across. An example is Belching smokestacks and the smell of rottinggarbage.He goes to great lengths to prove his point of how terrible it was live backthen. Another example is when he describe the slaughtering if a hog in chapter three. Thescene is very disgusting and is made in to a point. The point was that immigrants backthen were lead to slaughter just as the animals were when they came to America.