Meat Packing Industry and Jungle Essays

Submitted By alstonmiller
Words: 1431
Pages: 6

Alston Miller
1-5-15
2nd Block
Unfair Treatment of the Workers

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair takes place in the stockyards of Chicago in the early 1900’s. The main character, Jurgis and his family immigrant from Lithuania to Chicago in hopes to make it rich in America. After getting a job in the meat packing plant, Jurgis and his family soon find that the meat packing plant is an extremely tough place to work and getting rich in America is going to a lot harder than they originally thought due to the tough and unsafe conditions of the plant along with the unfair treatment that they received. Upton Sinclair is teaching the audience through The Jungle that immigrant workers in in the meatpacking industry are treated with little value, treated unfairly, and perform nasty and unsanitary jobs by using the rhetorical strategies of symbolism, repetition, and imagery. The first rhetorical strategy of symbolism is found in the very title of the book. In the story, after an accident at work Jurgis breaks his ankle and is ordered by the doctor to take time off of work. however after returning from his injury Jurgis finds that his boss has replaced him with another employee leaving Jurgis unemployed. Sinclair writes “here in Packington, human creatures might be hunted down and destroyed by the wild-beast powers of nature, just as truly as ever they were in the days of the cavemen.” (Sinclair 140) Packington is symbolic to a jungle because only the strongest men in Packington will get a job and stay alive and only the strongest and fittest animals in the jungle will find a way to survive. Also, in a real jungle when an animal is wounded they are not able to defend for themselves, hunt for food, and probably are not going to be able to survive for very long in the jungle. The same situation is present in Packington. Jurgis gets injured and before he can even get healthy again he is replaced and sent out onto the streets with no way to make money to support his family. This shows how extremely low the value was put on the workers in meat packing plant. The low value of the workers to the company is shown in the photo by fastfoodnation. This image shows a large piece of meat hanging on a hook along with several workers of the meat packing industry hanging up on hooks beside the meat. This image shows how oppressive and unfair the meat packing industry is by saying that the workers are treated no better than the slaughtered animals which is exactly what Jurgis and the other factory workers had to go through. They were treated just as bad as the slaughtered animals in many way. For example, they work long hours every day in unsafe conditions and made very little money and the minute that they were injured or couldn’t perform their job as well as someone else could they were replaced and forgotten about as if they meant nothing at all to the company. The same argument is present in the article “Abuses Against Workers Taint U.S. Meat and Poultry” by Lance Copa. Copa explains that “In meat and poultry plants across the United States, Human Rights Watch found that many workers face a real danger of losing a limb, or even their lives, in unsafe work conditions. It also found that companies frequently deny workers’ compensation to employees injured on the job.” (Compa) Present factory workers in the United States are plagued with the same problem today as Jurgis was faced with in the book. Compa also states “On each work shift, workers make up to 30,000 hard-cutting motions with sharp knives, causing massive repetitive motion injuries and frequent lacerations. Workers often do not receive compensation for workplace injuries because companies fail to report injuries, delay and deny claims, and take reprisals against workers who file them.” The meat packing industry is one of the most dangerous jobs in America and leads to a lot of work related injuries. Jurgis and all of the other employees of this industry should receive some form of…