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Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Analysis

Literary Devices in The Jungle

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

The Jungle is actually pretty low on symbolism, perhaps because it is a piece of journalism and social criticism. When a writer is trying to jab at real-life big business, he usually doesn't want t...

Setting

In our "In a Nutshell" and "Why Should I Care?" sections, we talk a lot about how Upton Sinclair uses The Jungle to criticize capitalism and US labor practices. But what about the investigative jou...

Narrator Point of View

The narrator of The Jungle focuses largely on Jurgis Rudkus and his feelings, but we also get some insight into the thought processes of the less important characters. The narrator moves relatively...

Genre

It may be a stretch to call The Jungle a coming-of-age novel because those usually star child protagonists. Still, we think it's appropriate here because the whole book is dedicated to Jurgis's tra...

Tone

Because our narrator is omniscient and knows all, he can show us Jurgis's miserable thoughts and feelings about the horrors of Packingtown. Because the purpose of The Jungle is to persuade us that...

Writing Style

In The Jungle, Upton Sinclair is not merely reporting on terrible working conditions in Chicago's slums. He is not just informing his readers about poor sanitation and hygiene in the meatpacking pr...

What's Up With the Title?

A jungle is a dense, often tropical forest – we're thinking of vines, brightly colored flowers, maybe a few parrots, and a smattering of monkeys. The Jungle, on the other hand, is a brutal expos...

What's Up With the Ending?

When Upton Sinclair looked back on his efforts to finish The Jungle later in his life, he remembered that he "went crazy at the end of that book and tried to put in every thing [he] knew about the...

Tough-o-Meter

Upton Sinclair is writing a plea to his audience for understanding of the ordinary Joe and his struggle against the Man. When you want someone to understand (and agree with) your point of view, you...

Plot Analysis

Jurgis Rudkus arrives in the States with his family in tow. They set up their household in the slums of Packingtown, full of optimism for a bright future in American business. Jurgis starts out the...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

In Christopher Booker's analysis of the "Rebirth" narrative, the main character has to fall under the sway of a dark power, and it is tough to find a darker power in The Jungle than capitalism itse...

Three-Act Plot Analysis

The Jungle starts with a wedding scene. Jurgis promises Ona that he will take care of her – he just has to work harder. The book then backtracks to Lithuania and the family's decision to travel t...

Trivia

Upton Sinclair was a man who put his money where his mouth is: he used the $30,000 dollars he made off The Jungle's huge success to found a utopian community called Helicon Hall in Englewood, New J...

Steaminess Rating

We know the characters are having sex – there are babies being born and prostitution going on and whatnot – but we don't get descriptions of any of it. After all, this book isn't supposed to be...

Allusions

"Stay, thou are fair!," Faust, Goethe (1.29)Thomas Malthus, political economist (5.11)Matthew Arnold, "Modern Sappho" [Matthew Arnold's original text reads: "But deeper their voice grows, and noble...
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