Gender Roles in The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
The Jungle written by the journalist Upton Sinclair is a novel about the lives of immigrant workers working in the United States. Sinclair’s reason for writing the novel was to vividly describe the adversities that these immigrants had to overcome while living in the United States. But unfortunately the readers had trouble focusing on his intentions of the book because they were concerned with the intense descriptions of the American meatpacking industry. Even though his intentions were misinterpreted Sinclair’s harsh explanations of the poor living and working conditions, cruel health conditions, and corrupted power affected the reader. The most important concept in the novel is the idea of gender roles. Being a middle class family, the Rudkus’ family tries to fulfill these roles.
At this time period gender roles were very evident in everything. Men were considered head of the household and should be the breadwinners. Jurgis Rudkus tried to achieve that and it was quite obvious throughout, pretty much, the whole novel. While living in Lithuania, Jurgis and his wife Ona talked about coming to America since things where they were at were not so great. Ona’s father died which left their family in debt. Jurgis did everything he could for the trip to America. He wanted to come to America because he knew it would be a better life for his wife and himself. Even though Ona didn’t want to come, Jurgis was still determined to save money and leave Lithuania. He knew it’d be better off for the two of them so he was strong-minded to make a new life for them. This just shows the commitment he had to his wife. Even though hardships came their way he would continue striding to work his hardest and was persistently committed to his family. He assures Ona he will work his hardest for her.
Ona Lukoszaite , Jurgis Rudkus’ wife, perfectly fits the idea of gender roles in this time period. Women worked in the house and took care of...