What is the main idea/thesis of The Jungle?
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The main theme as laid down in Sinclair’s The Jungle is capitalism. He strives to vividly showcase the negative implications of capitalism by painting the mirage that is the American dream in contrast to the reality of wage slavery. Power and factors of production are held by a handful of people at the top who exploit workers for maximum economic gains. Jurgis and his family relocate to Chicago with a lot of hope and enthusiasm to work hard, acquire material wealth and earn a better life. This is however not to be as his family’s financial situation deteriorates following an endless series of tragedies including the death of his wife and children. The deplorable conditions continue to demoralize Jurgis until his encounter with socialism, a philosophy that stands for comradeship among the workforce. It is at this point that he learns about what capitalism is and its ripple effect on the structure of the society. Socialism is the remedy to counter capitalism.
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