During the late 1800s and early 1900s, hundreds of thousands of European immigrants migrated to the United States of America. They had aspirations of success, prosperity, and their own conception of the American Dream. The majority of the immigrants believed that their lives would completely change for the better and the new world would bring nothing but happiness.
Advertisements that appeared in Europe offered a bright future and economic stability to these naive and hopeful people. Jobs with excellent wages, working conditions, prime safety, and other benefits seemed like a chance in a lifetime to these struggling foreigners. Little did these people know that what they would confront would be the complete antithesis of what they dreamed of. The enormous rush of European immigrants encountered a lack of jobs. Those who were lucky enough to find employment wound up in factories, steel mills, or the meat packing industry.
Jurgis Rudkus was one of these disappointed immigrants. He was a sweeper in a slaughterhouse and experienced the horrendous conditions that laborers encountered. Along with these nightmarish working conditions, they worked for nominal wages, inflexible and long hours, in an atmosphere where worker safety had no persuasion. Early on, there was no one for these immigrants to turn to, so many suffered immensely. Jurgis would later learn of worker unions and other groups to support the labor force, but the early years of his Americanized life were filled with sliced fingers, unemployment, and overall a depressing and painful new start.” Sinclair has shown in a dramatic style the hardships and obstacles which Jurgis and fellow workers had to endure.
He made the workers sound so helpless and the conditions so gruesome that the reader almost wants a way out for Jurgis. Sinclair’s The Jungle is a subliminal” form of propaganda for socialism. At a time in our nation’s history where the rich were very wealthy and the poor were penniless, Sinclair’s portrayal of socialism in regards to the laborer is very appealing to a jobless, hungry, indigent man. Sinclair’s vision of socialism wasn’t as flawless and beneficial as it seemed.
Although it gave the workers some motivation to work as well as they could, it was an attempt to commodify the working class. The Marxist theory of communism stemmed from the ideologies displayed by socialism. The masses of the population were controlled by a small elite. Sinclair was a believer in socialism, and Jurgis was a member of the party. Fortunately for today’s working force, the concept and potential threat of socialism was stifled before it could make a permanent mark on American society.