Books and Movies Reviews

The Jungle1

I feel extremely fortunate that as a whole, working today families do not experience as
many tragedies as the characters in Upton Sinclair's The Jungle experienced during the
beginning of the 20th century. While reading The Jungle I learned that the rights andwelfare
of the average American working man and woman have dramatically increased over the past
hundred years. Although some of the same social, economic, and political problems still occur
in our society, the problems are far less prevalent than they were during the time Sinclair
The novel follows the lives a large Lithuanian family during the early 1900s that
immigrates to the United States in the pursuit of freedom and happiness. The family of eleven
took what little money they had with them to the United States with the hope of escaping
poverty and providing a better life for their children. After a long, arduousjourney across the
Atlantic Ocean, the family arrived in New York and was swindled out most of their savings by
police who were supposed to protect them. The family continued to travel to Chicago
(Packingtown), where they finally settled down. Upon arrival in Packingtown, the family
found that the cost of living in the United States was far more expensive than in Lithuania. To
further add to the family's dismay, they learned that the only employment available to
non-English speaking, uneducated, and hardworking immigrants like themselves in
Packingtown was scarce, unstable, arduous, and dangerous.
Packingtown was designed to make families dependent on working in factories. When
an employee in a factory hurt themselves or was fell ill, they would quickly be tossed aside
and filled with a fresh worker. Employers in Packingtown demanded 16 hour workdays from
their employees and rewarded them with

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