Dehumanization in Laissez-Faire Capitalist World

307 Words2 Pages
In Upton Sinclair's turn-of-the-century novel, The Jungle, human lives parallel with animals and commodities. Sinclair uses vivid descriptions and metaphor to create a space in which people are driven by laissez-faire capitalism to compete for survival. Sinclair uses various types of metaphor to dehumanize the working class people and develop a ruthless Darwinism world in order to promote his belief-Socialism. The poor working people use every bit of strength in order to carry on; however, their effort is not always responded. By describing the depressing life of Jurgis, the protagonist of this novel, and his family, Sinclair reveals the ugly side of capitalism. According to Darwin's theory, "survival of the fittest" is the principle of animal evolution. In The Jungle, these working-class people associate with animals for they endlessly compete and fight for living. Their living and working conditions, in the readers' eyes, are considered awful; they work slavishly like animals, yet are even unable to achieve what they dream of. Living appears to be a luxury for these poor workers; their American dream is deformed. To make the capitalist society into a competitive and ruthless Darwinism jungle, the most often used metaphor in The Jungle is animal. Sinclair parallels the workers with weak creatures or rough beasts to dehumanize them and make the readers treat them with extra sympathy. "… … he [Jurgis] lived like a dumb beast of burden, knowing only the moment in which he was"(140). "Then Jurgis fought like a wild beast … …"(202). "Jurgis lifted up his head and began to sniff the air like a startled animal-scenting the far-off odor of home"(174). By associating Jurgis with beast, Sinclair takes away humanity from this character and makes Jurgis become merely a struggling creature that uses its primitive instincts to live. On the
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