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The Jungle How can Sinclair’s masterpiece be considered an ethnographic* work in the Chicago School tradion? Begin by providing a brief précis of the novel itself (remember I’ve read it, so this shou
How can Sinclair’s masterpiece be considered an ethnographic* work in the Chicago School
Begin by providing a brief précis of the novel itself (remember I’ve read it, so this should be short
and not take up more than one page). Then, select passages or events from the storyline and show
how they exemplify certain principles, perspecves, and >ndings of the Chicago School (the model
and major principles of human ecology).
It would be helpful to begin by construcng a typology charng the changes the Rudkus family went
through in The Jungle, illustrang the dialecc between infrastructure and superstructure and
demonstrang the Chicago School model. When developing the typology, you will be comparing the
changes members of the Rudkus family go through from a "community" to a "society" (Tönnies and
Simmel). This largely takes place in the "accommodaon" stage; as such, note the changes family
members have to make to their new environment. I hope this helps to clarify the quesons--if not,
send an email.
How well does the Chicago School model explain the changes they, and the immigrant community,
went through? What lessons can we learn about community from the novel? What helps to
strengthen a community? What tears it apart? How does this support or refute the Chicago School’s
*Ethnography: a descripve account of social life and culture in a parcular social system based on
detailed observaons of what people actually do. Ethnographies are used to study how cultures
develop historically and to compare them with an earlier me or other cultures.
You should consider this paper a research paper. You have to develop the theory as discussed in
lectures and your readings. The Jungle and Work and Community are your “data sets” to draw on for
evidence. This means you should be cing at least once per paragraph with a few excepons.
* * * * * * * * * *
Your essay should be between 6-8 pages (no header, Titles are appreciated), double-spaced using
Times New Roman, 12 pt. You may use an equivalent type as long as the size is similar:
Times New Roman 12pt
Times New Roman (Verdana 10pt OK)
Times New Roman (Verdana 12pt not okay)
- 212 orders completed
Upton Sinclair's book The Jungle is a story about a Lithuanian family who moves to
Chicago to work in the meatpacking industry in Packingtown. Jurgis wants to marry Ona but he
must first get a job. He gets the job of cleaning up entrails and Maria, Ona's cousin, paints cans.
The rest of the family searches for work to desperately escape their terrible living conditions.
Jurgis' father is old, and getting a job is not easy. He however gets a job after being willing to
pay a cut of his salary to the boss. Though he was optimistic before, he starts finding it difficult
to live in America. He does not get ahead because of the shady working conditions and a high
turnover of workers. Jurgis and Ona finally get married but the wedding and feast put them in
Notwithstanding they had pooled all they had to buy a house and they furnished it on
credit. A neighbor, however, confirms the unfortunate and terrible working conditions and shares
the neighborhood history. It was after working conditions get worse, and Jurgis' father dies.
Operating conditions still grow worse, and people start earning less at the plant due to how
hourly wages were paid out. Jurgis gets to become a citizen of the United States, but he votes for
a specific candidate. Jurgis sprains his ankle and is out of work for some time, which adds more
stress to the new family. After months of rest, the only job he can get is at the dreaded fertilizer
factory. Things, however, get worse for him as Ona is expecting their second born, their house is
sold out to another family, Ona and the baby dies. An upcoming election is near, and the
Socialist Party leaders grow hopeful that their influence will continue to grow, especially in
Sinclair's work shows the cultural aspect of society and how difficult it was living in the
United States as an immigrant. The book shows how hard their lives were, with many getting
work though they get the worst jobs. And because they have families, they would take these jobs
to provide. Politically corrupt, Chicago was run by a powerful politician Mike Scully who was
extremely powerful. With a deteriorating economy, they got low pay, and as seen when Marija
goes back to work, the payment is not as it used to be. Though they were poorly treated and paid
poorly for all their hard work, it was something that only the immigrants faced and something
that had been going on for a long time. It was not until a neighbor tells them about the
neighborhood and the poor working conditions that the Rudkus family realized that they had to
pay interest on the house every month.
The immigrants had, however, started fitting in and living their lives accepting their fate
and working towards making their lives better despite the already poor living and worse working
conditions. While many got to work in the meatpacking industry got to do the dirtiest of jobs.
Jurgis is seen as a worker cleaning entrails to provide for Ona, his wife. Ona and Stanislovas find
work to get more money for the interest in the house. Though they would have gone back to their
original country, they still try their luck and stay in a bid to live the American dream. Though
Jurgis himself gets hurt and injured and also sees that his father died from poor working
conditions, he tries to make Chicago a place for him. Ona, on the other hand, gets a second born,
and this added stress to the already suffering family. But the book shows us how she goes to
work despite being raped by her boss and being intimately involved with him. Upon inquiring,
Jurgis finds out that she did it to support the family. Though she blends in and does what she has
to do, thee could be many other options than staying in a place like Chicago. Jurgis' father also
died working, showing that no care was given to these people. Marija, on the other hand, had to
become a prostitute to be able to keep the rest of the family members afloat after Jurgis was
arrested. Despite their already poor state, things became worse, but we still see how the family
sticks it through and tries all they can to get close to living the American dream.
Not only were they treated poorly, but they were also paid poorly. Jurgis starts to realize
that he is beginning to get less and less as his salary because of how hourly wages were paid out.
The rich got richer from the misuse of the immigrants from being politically corrupt, while those
who were poor continued to suffer from their wages decreasing. The Jungle shows how Ona's
second-born increased stress, given that Jurgis was out of work after a sprained ankle. Money is
also scarce as Jurgis lost Ona and their newborn. As a doctor could not be afforded, Ona had to
deliver at home, and by the time the midwife arrives, they both had died. While maternal care
and health are of importance, had they had the money, they would have probably lived. They
also swim in debt after pooling all their money to buy an empty house and furnish it on credit.
The change comes after their wedding and the feast after. While this could have been avoided in
the first place, finances were scarce and went to what was urgent. We see how women get into
drugs and prostitution to provide for their families and even Ona to save the family. Though their
economy was alright, the immigrants were overworked and underpaid to make those in
businesses richer while they got poorer. Suppose either died or missed work for long, then their
posts were taken, and they were left without a job to go back to.
Politically, Chicago was corrupt and led by a powerful politician. It should have been
their work to make sure that all working plants and factories are in the right working conditions.
Instead of making things better and easier for the people of Chicago, he does not, and this mostly
affects the immigrants who have to try and make it while keeping up with the unfavorable
conditions. It is also seen when the meatpackers and the union try to negotiate, and a strike
erupts. Though given a chance to change conditions, Jurgis is chosen by the democrats to help
get a Republican elected strategically.
The culture, in general, lacks support and shows how these poor working-class face the
harsh and unpleasant working and living conditions. There is hopelessness among many workers,
but the people in power are uncaring as they are living their best lives. That people had to turn to
be con men, especially after having worked, means that there was a decay in the society, and
something was lacking. Also, for one to start begging means that the working conditions were
poor. The contrast between those in power or the rich and the poor is depicted by the man who
gives Jurgis a meal and a $100 bill or the millionaire who had a passion for helping the poor,
Fisher. Had they on their own been able to help other Lithuanian families or buy them food and
give them money, no matter how small, they would have nurtured a culture more understanding
of each other.
Many changes are seen that the family had to adjust to. However, some bitter and other
sweet, they had to work with all their might to get the money that would help them further adapt
or risk getting kicked out. Jurgis, for example, had to realize that to get married to Ona, he had to
get a job to get them a house and to keep them going. Because of this, he works hard in the
meatpacking industry, the fertilizer company, in the city at the machine shop, digging tunnels.
Though we see him trying to keep his family and even himself afloat, we see the torture and the
pain he has to go through to get the money that was not enough. While he toiled to get the
economy and the society running, he was hurting and ailing, and no one cared. At some point, it
even reduced. Other times he was left to fend for himself as the factory shut down or look for
different ways to survive. As these did not work, he turned to beg and coning people to try to
make a living. Ona and Marija were forced into prostitution to make ends meet (Tönnies, 19).
As Tonnies sees it, real and historical life is represented communities' life and their natural will.
Though they were not as muscular as their counterparts were and mostly were not required to go
to work, they had to after things started getting bad and Jurgis out of work. While these changes
show the extent to which the Rudkus family had to go through, it still shows the need as to why
they had to get to such extents. Also, with the division in social structure, Jurgis found himself as
a hobo once before joining a gang and finally getting to become boss after a Republican was
elected. Through all this, he would get drunk to escape reality especially after the heart-
wrenching experiences as losing his wife and newborn (Simmel, 36).
The Chicago School model explains the changes the immigrant community faced. The
book's lesson on a community is the more separated and the wider the gap between the poor and
the rich, and the society might suffer as the people and economies suffer. The millionaire who
spends time with the poor and helps them might be a better leader and a better politician for them
as he has their interests at heart. Workers, in this case, can openly express their grievances to
such a person and expect to get assisted. Also, one who cares enough to feed and give them
money shows that he would like to see them well or at least doing better than the day before.
Instead, the community is torn apart by the political corruption in Chicago.
1. Simmel, Georg. "The metropolis and mental life." The urban sociology reader.
Routledge, 2012. 37-45.
2. Sinclair, Upton. The Jungle:(1906). CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2014.
3. Tönnies, Ferdinand. "Community and society." The urban sociology reader 13 (1887)