«"From the Jungle" by Upton Sinclair» - Free Essay Paper
Upton Sinclair wrote the book “The Jungle” in 1906, and it had a very powerful and immediate effect on American society and the policies of the federal government. In fact, the book directly influenced the policies of President Theodore Roosevelt in regard to the regulation of food substances and agricultural materials. However, by writing this book Upton Sinclair had hoped to achieve various results. First, he wanted to develop his career as an author, having completed studies at the University of Columbia. Furthermore, Sinclair was also motivated by the desire to make money, and this is because he had to struggle during his life by paying his school fees and other needs. Moreover, while at the University, Sinclair also converted to socialism. “The Jungle” is therefore a novel that was created under the influence of socialism, the rise of democracy in the United States, and to provide a critique of the economic injustices that were rife in the country. It is important to note that 1900s was a period when journalists were exposing the various social, physical and economic ills that were affecting the society. This paper provides an analysis of “The Jungle.” The concern of this paper is chapter 9 of the book titled “From the Jungle”. This is a chapter that identifies the aspects of socialism, economic exploitation and a rise to democracy.
It is important to note that Sinclair Upton manages to efficiently depict the societal environment during that early 1900s which was exploitative because of the adoption of capitalism as the dominant means of economic activity. One of the most dominant themes of the “From the Jungle” is capitalism. Capitalism refers to a system of governance that involves the accumulation of financial resources that emanates from the business organizations (“Upton Sinclair's The Jungle” 22). Sinclair in this chapter provides a critique of the capitalistic society. By providing a critique Upton Sinclair takes two approaches. The first approach is the notion that capitalism advances the negative principle of corruption, while the second approach is criticizing the manner in which workers are exploited in a capitalistic society (Sinclair 66). The society in which protagonist Jurgis lives is exploitative and full of corruption. By examining the extent of corruption in the country and the impact of capitalism, Sinclair Upton provides an example of Scully, a local district leader of the Democratic Party. Sinclair explains that Scully is a very corrupt politician who has managed to become rich because of his corrupt practices.
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Scully used the resources of the city to get rich, and he was avoiding paying taxes. For instance, Scully began an icehouse business by using the resources of the city. Despite selling ice to the residents of the district, Scully failed to pay taxes. When he was exposed by the newspapers, Scully paid an individual to confess and take the blame, and the same person disappeared. This is an example of the corrupt activities that were fueled by the need of making money and investing in business operations. It is possible to denote that it is because of capitalism, there was a high level of greed by the owners of the capital to make more money at the expense of other people within the society (Sinclair 73). Another good example that Sinclair Upton provides is that of the packing house company. Upton explains that the Packing House Company was engaged in the corrupt activities, and this includes corrupting agriculture and meat inspectors so that they may not expose the unethical activities of the company.
For instance, there were about 163 inspectors, and their role was to certify that meat products that are infected have been safely disposed. However, they were not supposed to certify the operations of the company. This is an example of corruption that existed in the country. Furthermore, Upton explains that to increase their wealth companies such as the Packing House were exploiting their workers. Exploitation of the workers took the form of working extra hours with little pay and poor facilities that could help in efficiently handling the duties of an individual (“Upton Sinclair's The Jungle” 27). It is because of the poor resources at the disposal of workers that caused the death of Antanas, one of the workers at the Parking House Company (Sinclair 79). The death was as a result of a sore that came about because of pushing trucks and working without hand protective gears. This made his hands to be vulnerable to acids resulting in poor health. It is because of the negative influences of capitalism that Sinclair Upton was criticizing that is one of the tenets of a socialistic society which he believed in.
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In fact, Sinclair denotes that democracy in the United States was also full of fraud. This is because people were paid to vote for a particular candidate. The example is Jurgis who was paid two dollars to vote. In this process, Jurgis was shown who to vote for and where to vote (“Upton Sinclair's The Jungle” 22). This is not democracy but fraud. It is because of these negative elements of democracy that Upton Sinclair was criticizing the system and advocating for socialism as a dominant system of governance.
Finally, “The Jungle” is an important book that provides a critique to the social and economic problems that the society was facing. This includes corruption and exploitation of workers. In the view of Sinclair Upton, capitalism is the major cause of such situation. He depicts this notion clearly in the chapter “From the Jungle”.