Upton Sinclair's The Jungle is the story of a Lithuanian family that immigrates from their home city in Lithuania to the city of Chicago.The novel begins with the strong description of a wedding in which Ona Lukoszaite and Jurgis Rudkus are united in Holy Matrimony.The two of them then move to Chicago.Soon after the wedding, Ona and Jurgis have many great debts to pay due to both the wedding and a large debt that Ona's father left them after he died.Due to Jurgis' large size and strong will he found a job in Chicago within only a half an hour of waiting in the unemployment line.
Back in the newlywed's hometown of Lithuania, Ona and Jurgis' family anticipated a move to America.America uses the image of the "American Dream" to lure immigrants to this land of opportunity. The family desperately desires higher wages and true freedom.For months and months, Jurgis works very hard to pay for the families travel to Ona and Jurgis' new hometown, Chicago.When the family finally makes it to America, their funds are very low.They met with a well off man named Jokubas Szedvilas who placed the family in a run down youth hostel.
Jokubas takes the family to the meatpacking factory.He makes jokes about the sanitation of the operation (due only to the lack of quality of the meat).The family finds an advertisement for a housing complex that is very cheap.They talk to a real estate agent and they go see the housing complex.The houses aren't as big and luxurious as they are pictured in the advertisement, but the price is right. The real estate agent swindles them, and they are pulled into the contract.Sinclair emphasizes the corruption of upper class society during this era.
Jurgis' father, Dede Antanas, is promised a job by a grubby worker, but only if he pays that worker one third of his wages.He takes the job despite the disgusting working conditions and his lo…

I believe Sinclair's statement to be entirely accurate. He is aiming for the heartstrings from the veryfirst page.The image of the wedding feast of Jurgis and Ona lulls the reader into a false sense of knowledge about these characters.We would almost believe this could be any wedding for two young people who have the whole world in front of them and nothing but endless promise to look forward to.The wholefirst chapter is a vivid description of the wedding feast with only an inkling of what their life is truly like slipping through.Sinclair mentions Mikolas and his various bouts with blood poisoning from cutting his hands at work, which laid him up for months at a time with no compensation for the time lost (Sinclair p. 28).You get another glimpse at their lives when he talks about the expense of this feast and how it will end up costing more than most in the room earn in a year (Sinclair p. 31).The reader also gets theirfirst glimpse into Sinclair's mindset concerning American society when he writes about how the young men, who
would be much more respectful back in the old country, are shirking their responsibility to the veselija and partaking of the wedding feast but not donating to help offset the costs
Sinclair was obviously trying to provoke public sympathy for his immigrant characters.The novel is rife with examples of what could only be described as inhuman working conditions.Long hours in unsanitary conditions with short, if any, breaks.The pay was low for most work, even extremely dangerous work.They worked in job locations where the laborers would freeze in the winter and bake in the summer.Standing in liquid and filth in unventilated, enclosed rooms which would eventually cause physical maladies that would prohibit them from working again.Women did a lot of the same work as the men, working in the same lousy conditions, but were paid less money than the men.Children also worked i…