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Word Count: 1,120
Upton Sinclair wrote this book for a couple of reasons First and foremost he tries to awaken the reader to the terrible living conditions of immigrants in the cities around the turn of the century Chicago has the most potent examples of these conditions Secondly he attempts to show the advantages of socialism in helping to remedy the problems of a society such as the one that exists in Chicago at this time Sinclair accomplishes his objectives with an extremely powerful story Jurgis Rudkus and his family seem to be an average immigrant family of the period They are not wealthy and they are easily fooled by schemes designed to take what little they have The language barrier encountered by these people is a major factor in allowing them to be swindled The immigrants of this period tend to trust anyone who is fluent in their native language This fact is put to use twice early in their time in America A Lithuanian lawyer is sought to read over the contract for the purchase of their house Jurgis is suspicious when the lawyer and the agent are on a first name basis However when the lawyer tells him that it is a legal and fair document Jurgis believes him The lawyer does not tell him of the loopholes that will eventually lead to the loss of the house After Jurgis works in the packing house for a while a man tells him in Lithuanian that he can now become a citizen Jurgis is then registered to vote and told about one of the candidates Nothing is said of the other candidate so he votes for the man that he is told of and receives money for this vote Another problem faced by most of the immigrants of Chicago is making a living Jurgis gets a job on the first day trying He is paid the princely sum of 125 a day
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