The Jungle by Upton Sinclair If you are or you know someone that is an immigrant to this country, then you know the struggles and hardships that one must face. Forget the language barrier, problems such as no money, no food or shelter, even no job are all brutal circumstances. All these problems are tough to surpass, and doing so is a task in itself. In The Jungle Upton Sinclair portrays all the problems that a Lithuanian family must encounter to survive. This novel reflects the time period, the conflicts around the country, and the conflicts of a family struggling to survive. A truly great novel in my opinion, The Jungle should be read by everyone for enjoyment, and even for knowledge.
The main characters in this novel are a immigrant family from Lithuania. The family consisting of Jurgis and Ant anas Ruckus, Ona and Elizabeth Lukoszaite (with all six of her children), and many personal friends and enemies of the family. The Lukoszaite family have come to America to gain wealth after their recent death of their father. Jurgis who is madly in love with Ona comes along with his father to America. A family from the poor roots of Lithuania come oversees to seek great wealth and success in the United States, escaping the slums of their native country.
The setting is in Chicago, in the town of Packing town. Escaping poverty in their native country, with a heartbreaking loss of a family member, the entire group packs up and heads for the highway so to speak to achieve wealth in America. The novel begins with a lovely wedding between Ona and Jurgis. The reception followed tradition, but the younger generation didn't participate in the usual customs of a wedding.
This just went to show how different the two countries really are. Struggling to pay the cost of the reception, everyone must leave early to go to work the next morning, including the wife and groom. Of all the family members, Jurgis is the most suited for the job because he is physically fit and has a workers attitude. The children are to go to school, and the women would have to find a job. With the help of Jonas, who is the brother of Elizabeth, the family finds a rotten apartment in a rat infested, run down building.
Jurgis decides to spend the remaining of their money to buy a house because a house means that something was achieved, and this house would represent the beginning of a new era. The new era lasted a extremely short time, because numerous injuries and other side problems drove the hard underachieving family in serious debt. Countless injuries kept Jurgis out for weeks here, children dying of illnesses there, Ona turning to a prostitute, all led to the downfall of the family that was destined to start a great life, with money, children going to school, and peace and love. The death of Ona and their son, the running away of Jurgis, the loss of their home, all showed how easily the destiny blew up.
Job after job, crime after crime, jail sentence after jail sentence, the story grew worse and worse. There was, however, a ray of light that never quite extinguished. It took some time and some scandals, but the novel turned for the good with Jurgis reuniting with his loved ones, and seeing how politics can bring equality to everyone and everything.