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“The Jungle”

1). In The Jungle, what is Sinclair's implicit idea in the first two sentences of the
selection about workers in the stockyards? How do these sentences reflect his
purpose?
The first two sentences in the novel that speak specifically about selection for work in the
stockyards are in the second paragraph of the book's second chapter “That was why he had
been picked out on one important occasion; for Jurgis had stood outside of Brown and
Company's “Central Time Station” not more than half an hour, the second day of his arrival in
Chicago, before he had been beckoned by one of the bosses. Of this he was very proud, and it
made him more disposed than ever to laugh at the pessimists.” These lines should be
understood within the context of what is going on in the novel. Jurgis is young and very strong.
He is proud to be chosen so quickly for the stockyard work because it shows he is winning in the
competition to get ahead. He is glad at this point to be part of a system that chooses the strong
and discards the weak. He scorns and blames the men who don't get chosen as being unworthy.
He feels like a winner. The object of Sinclair is to demonstrate how bosses compete with guys.
He also clearly anticipates that the time will come – and that Jurgis will come too soon to find a
job. However, it will be too late for him at the time—there will be many new young "Jurgises"
who want jobs to replace him with. They would still be unaware of the distance that they have
to drive into the ground, use it, and discard it. Sinclair wishes to emphasize that these men have
only the possibility of uniting in common cause and demanding fair pay, conditions of
employment and safety of jobs. The machine so easily melts people. Individualism doesn't
work. No one should "win," and no one can remain new and solid for a long time: joint action is
the only option. At first, young men like Jurgis might feel that they subsidize the poor and
broken, but they are soon to be the same people they are contemptuous of.

2). Interpret In the second paragraph, Sinclair


writes about "the greatest and
only Durham goods, which had become a national institution. "How does the
imagery in the rest of the paragraph reveal Sinclair tone toward the company?
The imagery in the rest of the paragraph reveals Sinclair’s tone toward the corporation, as he
demonstrations that the company is corrupt. He defined how Marija springs from the moving
carriage and she pushed her way through the mass. “Durham’s; they advertised a mushroom-
catsup, and the men who made it did not know what a mushroom looked like. They advertised
“potted chicken”—and it was like the boarding-house soup of the comic papers, through which
a chicken had walked with rubbers on. Perhaps they had a secret process for making chickens
chemically—who knows?” This evidence shows Sinclair opinion towards this corporation .
3). Infer What does Sinclair mean when he says “They were regular alchemists at
Durham’s” (lines 25-26)?

This quote refers to the fact that Durham canned goods were made from anything other than
what their names suggested. Thus, the people at Durham canned goods were magicians.
"... so Jurgis learned a few things about the great and only Durham canned goods, which had
become a national institution. They were regular alchemists at Durham's; they advertised a
mushroom-catsup, and the men who made it did not know what a mushroom looked like. They
advertised "potted chicken,"—and it was like the boardinghouse soup of the comic papers,
through which a chicken had walked with rubbers on. Perhaps they had a secret process for
making chickens chemically—who knows?"

4). Analyze In this excerpt, Sinclair uses a third-person point of view, with a
narrator outside the action to tell the story, focusing mainly on the thoughts,
actions and observations of Jurgis, the main character. How does choosing this
point of view help Sinclair achieve his purposes?
The third-person point of view used by Sinclair is intended to achieve his resolution, by focusing
on what Jurgis understands and feels. The narrator concentrates on the main character Jurgis,
his emotions and his thoughts, and the readers also get an perception on other minor
characters’ thought processes.

5). Cite Evidence What is Sinclair’s topic in the third and fourth paragraphs of
the selection? What message does he communicate about his topic ?
In the third and fourth paragraphs of The Jungle, Lewis focuses on the bride Ona Lukoszaite, an
innocent young Lithuanian woman who has just turned 16. Lewis describes her joy at being
married, calling it the "supreme hour of ecstasy in the life of one of God's gentlest creatures."
He takes some time to describe Ona in her white muslin wedding dress and "stiff little veil." She
wears new white cotton gloves and has exactly five pink paper roses "twisted" into her veil and
eleven green rose leaves. She twists her hands together from nervousness. Lewis paints a
detailed picture of her to humanize her for the reader so that she is not simply a faceless
immigrant. The purity of little Ona and her white wedding clothes contrast with the locale of
her wedding reception, the back room of a saloon behind the stockyards where livestock is
slaughtered in filthy conditions. While immigrants like Ona and her new husband and their
families are brutally exploited in several ways by American society, Lewis wants us to know
from the very start of the novel that they are people like us full of hopes, joys and a desire for a
better life, no matter how poor and foreign.
6). Draw Conclusions Readers in Sinclair's time were more concerned about his
revelations In the first two paragraphs of this selection than the revelations in
the rest of the selection. Why might this have been so and how does this relate
to Sinclair's Purposes?
- It connected to his purpose because he is trying to demonstration the horrifying conditions of
the food business. “Then there was “potted game” and “potted grouse,” “potted ham,” and
“deviled ham”—de-vyled, as the men called it. “De-vyled” ham was made out of the excess
ends of smoked beef that were too small to be cut by the machines; and also rubbish, dyed
with chemicals so that it would not show white, and extras of hamsand corned beef, and
potatoes, skins and all, and finally the hard cartilaginous throats of beef, after the tongueshad
been cut out.” Pg.353

7). Draw Conclusions How did Sinclair's choice to use a fictional company and
fictional characters to tell his story help him achieve his journalistic purpose?
Upton Sinclair, most likely, chooses to write a novel to create a plot to engage the reader's
attention and make them care about the characters of the story (the workers and themselves
who were eating the "food"), as he attempts to achieve his journalistic purpose of opening
people's eyes to the reality.

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