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Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle

Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle - 00000 1 000000 Prof John...

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00000 1 000000 Prof. John Ryan HIST 1378, Sec 0102 17 July 2007 The Jungle Analysis In the United States, the term democracy is not just a word used in history books or political documents. Instead, it stretches far beyond its literal definition to encompass a way of life; a developing concept to structure American society infinitely. Historically, democracy is an evolving ideal that is constantly strengthened, attacked, and rebuilt. In 1776, the word was used by Founding Fathers to embody the hope and strength of an independent country in its infancy. Eighty-five years later, the word was used by the Confederacy and Union as a justification to secede and a goal to unify, respectively. In the early twentieth century, it was used by a progressive Socialist to symbolize political corruption and a lack of government regulation. Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle expressively describes the dark side of the democracy ideal when used by human hands. Through his novel, he exposes the violence, deception, and greed of those who have accumulated wealth with these methods and the new citizens who must learn the dishonest ways to compete. Sinclair not only wrote his novel, The Jungle , as a literary work of fiction, but also as a political piece critiquing the American government at the time. Sinclair writes the characters in his novel as a means of explaining corrupt political machines rather than telling a straightforward story of an immigrant family’s hardships. In order to approach an accurate portrayal of the distorted Chicago meat industry in a subtle way, Sinclair had to introduce his protagonist, antagonist, and other influential characters swiftly. He did so by opening his novel with a traditional Lithuanian wedding, in which he introduces all
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00000 2 proponents of his novel. Sinclair introduces Jurgis Rudkus as his primary character; Ona, Elzbieta, and Stanislovas Lukoszaite, and Marija Berczynskas are presented as supporting ones. In the next two chapters, Sinclair continues to introduce various characters in their Lithuanian rural past and present-day Chicago to contrast the difference between the two countries’ citizens and customs of profiting. He artistically presents the culture traditions of Lithuania by describing the actions of the older guests attending Jurgis and Ona’s wedding in contrast to American traditions illustrated by the greedy fashionable younger guests. Fortunately for the Rudkus-Lukoszaite family and conveniently for Sinclair, Jokubas Szedvilas, a Lithuanian friend
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