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The wedding between Jurgis and Ona is an epitome of the various problems in Packingtown. The way the saloon keeper took advantage of the couple is representative of the dishonesty and thievery from the surrounding society. The crowd stranded outside the wedding symbolizes the helpless and hungry inhabitants of Packingtown. When the newlyweds allowed these people into the wedding they quickly transformed into an “every man for themselves” perspective.
In retrospect, the disregard for others that thrived in the society by not providing a money donation to the bride and groom was prevalent.
The wedding demonstrates the struggle of Packingtown’s society as well as the future it forces upon its citizens. 2. Vivid Imagery: •“These bare places were grown up with dingy, yellow weeds, hiding innumerable tomato-cans, innumerable children played upon them, chasing one another here and there, screaming and fighting. ” This excerpt describes the area in which the children would play. Sinclair uses words like, “dingy” to emphasize the situation in which the kids grew up in.
“One wondered about this, as also about the swarms of flies which hung about the scene, literally blackening the air, and the strange, fetid odor which assailed one’s nostrils, a ghastly odor, of all the dead things of the universe. ” Here Sinclair depicts the horrible situations that people had to deal with when living in Packingtown. When Sinclair talks about the flies blackening the sky, the reader is able to make a mental image of how awful the conditions were. •“One with a swift stroke cut the throat; another with two swift strokes severed the head, which fell to the floor and vanished through a hole.
Another made a slit down the body; a second opened the body wider , a third with a saw cut the breast-bone; a fourth loosened the entrails; a fifth pulled them out — and they also slid through a hole in the floor. ” In this passage Sinclair gives the reader a grotesque image of the working areas in Packingtown. The crude images are very descriptive and add a sense of reality to the story. •“Little by little the scene grew plain: towering, black building here and there, long rows of shops and sheds, little railways branching everywhere, bare gray cinders under foot and oceans of billowing black smoke above. While describing the steel mill’s surroundings, Sinclair uses a metaphor to emphasize the environment around the building, “…oceans of billowing black smoke above. ” •“…deafening thunder, and whistles shrieked warnings on all sides of him at once; where miniature steam-engines came rushing upon him, and sizzling, quivering, white-hot masses of metal sped past him, and explosions of fire and flaming sparks dazzled him and scorched his face. ” When describing the inner parts of the steel mills, Sinclair uses sensory words to grab the reader’s attention.
Words like, “deafening”, “shrieked”, “sizzling”, “white-hot masses”, “dazzled” and “scorched,” add to the mental image portrayed when reading this passage. •“…by the stage, he saw the stage, he saw three giant caldrons, big enough for all the devils of hell to brew their broth in, full of something white and blinding, bubbling and splashing, roaring as if volcanoes were blowing through it—one had to shout to be heard in the place. ”In this selection the author uses very descriptive language to increase the impact of the scene. “The devils of hell to brew their broth,” this statement is very intense and strong.
It is showing the ways of the steel mill as a hell-like place. •“…there fell a pillar of white flame, dazzling as the sun, swishing like a huge tree in the forest. ” This example shows how the author is able to use similes to validate the image. With his descriptive words the reader is able to picture the situation clearly. •“ Out of regions of wonder it streamed, the very river of life; and the soul leaped up at the sight of it, fled back upon it, swift and restless, back into far-off lands, where beauty and terror dwell. ” This passage is very dramatic.
The way Sinclair masterfully creates an image of a “river of life” and “the soul leaped up at the sight” is incredible. He is able to give the reader a front row perspective when reading the section. •“So amid deafening uproar it clattered to and fro, growing thinner and flatter and longer. The ingot seemed almost a living thing; it did not want to run this mad course, but it was in the grip of fate, it was tumbled upon, screeching and clanking and shivering in protest. ” In this passage the author uses personification to describe the steel mill workplace.
When uses this literary term he leaves the reader with a strong image of the steel mill. He gives the ingot a personality and emotion. •“By and by it was long and thin, a great red snake escaped from purgatory; and then, as it slid through the rollers, you would have sworn that it was alive — it writhed and squirmed, and wriggles and shudders passed out through its tail, all but flinging it off by their violence. ” This last quote adds to the personification of the ingot. The personification used here is a clear example of Sinclair’s mind thinking, and creativity.
The words used here that add to the imagery are, “squirmed”, “wiggled”, “flinging. ” All of these words create vivid imagery for the reader. 3. Sympathy: •“Then suddenly her eyes opened— one instant. One instant she looked at him— there was a flash of recognition between them…. she faded from him, she slipped back and she was gone. ” In this passage Sinclair uses emotion to pull the reader in. He gives the readers a sign of hope when Ona opens her eye, then he crushes them down when saying she is gone.
The reader feels the emotion that Jurgis is feeling when dealing with the death of his wife because of Sinclair’s way of making his words into reality. •“He clutched her hands, he shook her, he caught her in his arms and pressed her to him; but she lay cold and still—she was gone—she was gone! ” In this passage Sinclair emphasizes the emotion of Jurgis by repeating his last few words. His use of alliteration adds an echo to an intense scene. •“He gripped his hands and set his teeth together—he had not wept, and he would not—not a tear!
It was past and over, and he was done with it—he would fling it off his shoulders, be free of it. ” In this passage Jurgis just found out about the death of Antanas. Jurgis does not want to deal with reality, so he ignores the fact that his son is dead. This makes the reader feel sympathy towards Jurgis in his attempt to evade the truth. •“It should go like a black, hateful nightmare, and in the morning he would be new man. And every time that a thought assailed him—a tender memory, a trace of a tear—he rose up, cursing with rage, and pounded it down. This passage is another example of Jurgis’ persistency. His urge to avoid the situation gives the reader an upfront perspective. •“There should be no more tears and no more tenderness; he had had enough of them—they had sold him into slavery. ” This passage helps the reader understand the struggles that Jurgis has had to deal with while in Packingtown. •“So he went on, tearing up all the flowers from the garden of his soul, and setting his heel upon them. ” This passage uses an emotional metaphor to enhance the reader’s point of view.
Using flowers as Jurgis’ happiness, and saying that he has pulled them out and stomped on them, shows how depressed Jurgis is. •“Then, too, his health came back to him, all his lost youthful vigor, his joy and power that he had mourned and forgotten! It came with a sudden rush, bewildering him, startling him; it was as if his dead childhood had come back to him, laughing and calling! ” This side of Jurgis is not recognized by the reader. His emotion here is so happy and excited that it gives the reader hope that Jurgis isn’t all bad. 4. Naturalism: “They had put him behind bars, as if he had been a wild beast, a thing without sense or reason, without rights, without affections, without feelings. ” The author is comparing Jurgis to a wild animal. This is ironic because in Jurgis’ job he had to kill wild animals and enclose them. •“They could tell the whole hateful story of it, set forth the inner soul of a city in which justice and honor, women’s bodies and men’s souls were for sale in the market-place, and human beings writhed and fought and fell upon each other like wolves in a pit. ” Sinclair compares people to fighting wolves.
The beastly characteristics of wolves give the reader an image of hostility between people in society. •“He nodded to her, and she came and sat by him, and they had one more drink, and then he went upstairs into a room with her, and the wild beast rose up within him and screamed, as it has screamed in the jungle from the dawn of time. ” This passage is interesting because it is comparing Jurgis to an animal in the jungle. And it is ironic because the jungle is the title of the book. 5. In chapter 21, Jurgis is struggling to find his sense of stability.
There is an excerpt where Sinclair proves this by writing, “To a man whose whole life had consisted of doing one certain thing all day, until he was so exhausted that he could only lie down and sleep until the next day—and to be now his own master, working as he pleased and when he pleased, and facing a new adventure every hour! ” This passage shows the reader that Jurgis is finding a new way of life and realizing that he doesn’t always have to follow what the norm is. In contrast to the way of Packingtown, Jurgis’ new way of life is free and pleasant. Another contrasting issue is how Jurgis starts the book as a strong headed man.
He is working hard for his family and their needs. He is positive that America will help his family and only add to their happiness. By the end of the book Jurgis has no family. America took away the only two people in his life that he loved. He begins to lose trust in people and starts to slowly become a dark and hateful man. 6. Diction: “Just what,” answered the other, “would be the productive capacity of society if the present resources of science were utilized, we have no means of ascertaining; but we may be sure it would exceed anything that would sound reasonable to minds inured to the ferocious barbarities of Capitalism. The diction used here is describing capitalism as “ferocious barbarities. ” Sinclair is straight to the point when defending his opinion of being against capitalism and for socialism. Vivid Imagery: It was a monster devouring with a thousand mouths, trampling with a thousand hoofs; it was the Great Butcher — it was the spirit of Capitalism made flesh. Upon the ocean of commerce it sailed as a pirate ship; it had hoisted the black flag and declared war upon civilization. In this passage Sinclair uses intense images to enhance his opinion on Capitalism. He only thinks of Capitalism as a bad way of life with no positives. When reading the passage the reader is able to see Capitalism as a ship, sailing on the ocean, and trying to corrupt society. Juxtaposition: The working-man was to fix his hopes upon a future life, while his pockets were picked in this one; he was brought up to frugality, humility, obedience, — in short to all the pseudo-virtues of capitalism.
The destiny of civilization would be decided in one final death-struggle between the Red International and the Black, between Socialism and the Roman Catholic Church; while here at home, “the stygian midnight of American evangelicalism —Sinclair puts his two opposing societies in the same paragraph to emphasize his point of view. 7. In the beginning of this book Jurgis saw the stockyards as a way to get a better life for him and his family. The stockyards were Jurgis’ backbone, the main supplier of survival. When the stockyards began to reveal the truth of society, Jurgis realized he was doomed. The stockyards developed into Jurgis’ enemy.
They took over his life and began to control it. He was forced to work there in order to survive, even though it disgusted him and sometimes hurt him. In the book it says, “When Jurgis had first come to the stockyards he had been as clean as any working-man could well be. But later on, what with sickness and cold and hunger and discouragement, and the filthiness of his work, and the vermin in his home, he had given up washing in winter, and in summer only as much of him as would go into a basin. ” This shows how Jurgis was dependent of the stockyards, and how the stockyards neglected his needs. 8.
Upton Sinclair was trying to get sympathy for the workers in Packingtown. He wanted to show the public what conditions were like and how workers suffered. He also wanted to start a socialistic movement, where society would avoid capitalism and head for socialism. But he actually only made readers want to not eat manufactured food. His descriptive scenes showed the readers the true essence of a factory. His vivid imagery, instead of getting sympathy, started a food purity movement. This book influenced people to start the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). Part 2 Q&A: 1. Chicago 2. Buying the house 3. Phil Conner 4.
Jack Duane 5. Prostitute. QUOTES: “I will work harder” – This quote is signifying constant determination that Jurgis possesses and his fear of failure. It’s significant throughout the entire book because he is always trying to make a better life for his family and loved ones and yet he continues to fail. “I did not want—to do it,” she said, “I tried—I tried not to do it. I only did it—to save us. It was our only chance. ” – This shows the pure desperation of Ona’s family and their struggle to withhold a decent life. The author uses pathos to appeal to the reader’s emotion as he emphasizes their pitiful situation.
In their oppressive society liberty and humanity are diminished. “It’s the second time they’ve sent me up on a trumped charge—I’ve had hard luck and can’t pay them what they want. Why don’t you quit Chicago with me Jurgis? ” – This quote shows how Jurgis is ready to disregard morals and leave his life. He wants a different and better life. He is thinking about leaving Chicago and the cruel ways of the Packingtown. “When people are starving,” the other continued, “and they have anything with a price, they ought to sell it, I say. I guess you realize it now when it’s too late.
Ona could have taken care of us all, in the beginning. ” – This quote shows the desperation created in capitalistic system. In order to survive, the abandonment or morality and self-respect is necessary. People need to go with the system and evade original ideas. Sinclair also brings up Ona’s death to make the reader feel sorry for the family. “You know what to do about it—vote the socialistic ticket! ” – This quotes juxtaposition to a paragraph that briefly displays some of the flaws in a socialistic community. It’s basically saying that socialism is the way to go. Essay Questions: 1.
When people think of a jungle, they imagine struggle, hardships, a dog eat dog society, where the fittest flourish. The predator and prey in Packingtown also exemplifies the title. The ruthless winters and unsanitary conditions of Packingtown illustrate the primitive ways of a jungle. 2. No this book is not an effective piece of persuasive writing. Throughout the book Sinclair talks about the flaws of capitalism without any solutions. When socialism is finally brought up Jurgis is already starting to have a better life and doesn’t need socialism to save him. Therefore defeating the purpose. . This book should be taught in schools. Many pros of it are that it was written by an American. Also it accurately represents America at the time. Finally the main family live in America and has to deal with the struggle most families in America, at that time, had to deal with. In retrospect, the book contrast with traditional American values and beliefs. Also it pulls a negative quilt over the American system, portraying it as a desperate society that is in need of a change. Finally it refutes the American dream by showing death and depression in an “American family”.
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