The Jungle, written by Upton Sinclair
in 1906, is about an immigrant family who comes to the United States from Lithuania in the hope of finding a better life.
Although the family is optimistic in the beginning, they soon fall victim to all manner of misfortune. They are unable to find decent employment, competent medical care, or people they can trust. As a result they lose all their money and end up homeless. Some of the characters drift into criminal lifestyles including prostitution and drug use.
The main character, Jurgis, finally finds hope at the end of the story. This hope is in the promising outlook of a socialist. Sinclair’s main idea then, is that the poor are generally unable to fight for themselves and are frequently victimized by the more powerful. They need a new political movement, in this case socialism, to rescue them from the dangers of free-market capitalism.