Life of an Immigrant Explored Thesis

Excerpt from Thesis :

Jurgis is filled with grief and despair when thinks of how "they had put their very souls into their payments on that house, they had paid for it with their sweat and tears -- yes, more, with their very lifeblood. " (Sinclair). Perhaps the most dreadful of all things is Ona's death. Her death marks a brand new low for Jurgis. Personal hardship is the backdrop for Jurgis' dream. He is learning that things do not always turn out the way we expect them to turn out. Jurgis is realizing that hard work and a good heart do not always lead toward wealth and a better life.

Jurgis also sees his American Dream die to the ways of socialism. As he begins to learn more about socialism, he gains a different sense of self. He is not shy about it and, in fact, he is very vocal about his beliefs. He becomes more enmeshed with the movement and believes "The whole balance of what the people produced went to heap up the fortunes of these capitalists, to heap, and heap again, and yet again -- and that in spite of the fact that they, and every one about them, lived in unthinkable luxury!" (Sinclair). This mindset sets Jurgis on the way to becoming a socialist through and through. He begins to blame capitalism for everything that is wrong with his life and everyone else's and the sense of belonging empowered him. He reads books, attends lectures, and exposes himself to the warm embrace of socialism. What he does not understand is that the individuality that gave him a sense of purpose and a desire to live is wasted on socialist ideals that tend to make everything equal for everyone thus destroying the will be individual and the desire to achieve.

The Jungle reveals that world of the traditional immigrant in America at the turn of the century was at best set amid deplorable conditions that ruin the prospect for a decent life. The world is a savage one of which many do not survive. The American Dream is assaulted in a very realistic way with the lives of Jurgis, Ona, and the others. Corruption emerges around almost every corner in this new land in the form of a job that demands much from the worker and compensates this worker none at all. Life is difficult because the corporation, or organization, seemed to control everything. There was no benefit to working and there seemed to be no way to achieve that dream. Sinclair also asserts that socialism is the answer to the problems that ail the country and community. In reality, socialism is another thing that leads Jurgis farther away from the American Dream. Sinclair uses extreme circumstances to comment on the life of the immigrants that came to America under the notion that the American Dream was not only wonderful but also easy to achieve. The truth is just the opposite. Jurgis finally realizes that the landscape of this dream is something that looks more like a nightmare.

Works Cited

Sinclair. The Jungle. The Literature Network Online. Information Retrieved April 07, 2009.

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Sinclair. The Jungle. The Literature Network Online. Information Retrieved April 07, 2009.


Cite This Thesis:

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