Analysis of The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

Thus Sinclair has given the title “The Jungle” to show the lawlessness and corruption that existed here. It was the “law of the jungle” that prevailed in the story setting, with the stronger lot preying on the weaker ones and a constant brutal battle for survival was ever-present.

The main point in the book is that capitalism is the root cause of all poverty and corruption. In the entire book, Sinclair makes use of all events to explain the evil side of capitalism. According to him capitalism is brutal in nature and destroys humankind. In the story, we find that the Jurgiss family is completely destroyed in the hands of a social and economic system that runs on the lines of capitalism. The working class, with dreams of better lives, falls prey to this corrupt system and they are brutally used and destroyed. Sinclair tries to emphasize the fact that the story is not only of Jurgis and his family but reflects the pathos of the entire working class society. The whole story proves only one point and that is the evils side of capitalism. It does not explore capitalism as a theory and only dwells on the ugly face of it which is portrayed in the form of selling diseased and poisoned meat in the market to the destruction of its own children. According to Sinclair, the only way to escape this sordid tale of torture, abuse, and destruction is through the path of socialism. This is seen when Jurgis gets acquainted with socialist politics in chapter 28 and finds shelter in it.

Sinclair, around the turn of the 20th century, was introduced to socialism and was heavily influenced by it. When asked by a weekly magazine to expose the dreadful working conditions in the Chicago meatpacking industry, he readily took this opportunity and recorded his experiences to produce “the Jungle”.