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Word Count: 1,395
The Jungle portrays the lower ranks of the industrial world as the scene of a naked struggle for survival Where workers not only are forced to compete with each other but if they falter are hard pressed to keep starvation from their door and a roof over their heads With unions weak and cheap labor plentiful a social Darwinist state of the survival of the fittest exists The real story revolves around the integration and eventual disintegration of Jurgis Rudkis and his family Lithuanian immigrants who move to the Chicago stockyards in hopes of a better life Unfortunately their hopes quickly disintegrate like thousands of other unskilled immigrants at the turn of the century financial necessity forces them into virtual slave labor in order to survive For Jurgis and his family the slave master is the ruthless and greedy meat packing industry whose leaders value their workers no more than the animals they slaughterThe Jungle shows the relationship between the animals that were being slaughtered and the workers who were slaughtering them from very early in the novel It compares the workers to the animals who are penned up and killed every day in the stockyards which are moved along on conveyer belts by machinery that cares nothing for their individual desires In the monotonous killing of each of the hogs They had done nothing to deserve it and it was adding insult to injury as the thing was done here swinging them up in this cold blooded impersonal way without a pretense of apology without the homage of a tearPg 35 The key comparison is the condition of the workingmen as cold efficient machinery assimilates them a blind fate swallows them up A few of the men are even swallowed up literally when they would fall into huge vats and emerges as Durhams Pure Leaf Lard Pg 99 The Jungle also shows precisely how wounded diseased and pregnant animals are turned into food under
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