Upton Sinclair wrote this book in 1905. Since he opposed the capitalism, Sinclair wrote this book in order to show how big businesses affect people’s life and how people become greedy. He supported socialists’ ideas that everyone should earn the same. The title of the novel describes the jungle of factories, a society where only the fittest and the strongest survive.
Jurgis Rudkus: Jurgis is the main character, a Lithuanian who gets into a trouble and lives his life as a criminal. In the end he becomes a socialist.
Ona: she is only 18 and she is married to Jurgis. Her life is difficult. Ona works a lot, but her pay is minimal so she gets ill. She becomes a prostitute, has a child and in the end dies.
Marija Berzcynskas: in the beginning she has a good job and makes some money, but she also becomes a prostitute and a drug addict.
Teta Elzbieta Lukoszaite: Ona’s stepmother, an elderly woman who lives according to the Lithuanian tradition and teachings.
Jonas: Elzbieta’s brother who decides to go to the USA.
Stanislovas Lukoszaite: Elzbieta’s son. He is only 14, works in a factory and sells newspapers. He gets drunk one day and while unconscious, rats bite him to death.
The plot-The Jungle
It is Jurgis and Ona’s wedding in Chicago. The guests got drunk. The newlyweds are angry because according to the Lithuanian tradition the guests have to give them the money for the wedding, but since they are in America, nobody wants to pay.
The plot continues with the story how they met in Lithuania. Ona’s father didn’t like Jurgis so they couldn’t get married. They went to the USA with Elzbieta’s children.
They found a job in a factory. Ona started sewing. The factory owners paid them little money and they even sold infected meat. Although the family members didn’t have the money, they bought an old house. Now Jurgis and Ona could get married.
After the wedding, they continue with their lives. Jurgis’s dad dies. It’s winter, but they can’t afford the heating. Marija doesn’t have a job anymore and factory isn’t doing well so they pay Jurgis only half for the whole day of work. He is very angry and joins the union. Jurgis gets interested in politics and he even votes for a democratic candidate. Marija returnes to her work and Ona has a baby.