July 13, 2012
Life in industrial America, particularly for immigrants and working class people was a big struggle. There were so many hardships that they had to go through such as: working conditions, unjust businessmen/wages, and poverty/starvation. “So America was a place of which lovers and young people dreamed. If one could only manage to get the price of passage, he could count his troubles at an end.” (Pg. 27) Most of the immigrants are tricked into the beliefs that they can find steady work, high wages, and a comfortable life in America. It is a lie that brings cheap labor, and instead of obtaining a decent life, they enter a life of torture.
The working conditions during this time period were absolutely horrific. As they began working, the family members discover the awful conditions of the packing factory. The conditions of work are inhuman, and the workers are treated inhuman. Jurgis’ father is only able to get a job after bribing a boss in the rooms of a meat packing plant. The conditions there are terrible, and the job basically kills the old man. Jurgis is injured on the job and is forced to stay home and out of work till he is healed. “It is an elemental odor, raw and crude; it is rich, almost rancid, sensual and strong.” (Pg. 28) The scents that roamed the interior of the factory could make you sick instantly, you had to have quite the strong stomach for the job! “Rent less, remorseless, it was; all his protests, his screams, were nothing to it--it did its cruel will with him, as if his wishes, his feelings, had simply no existence at all; it cut his throat and watched him gasp out his life.” (Pg. 41) “There was never the least attention paid to what was cut up for sausage; there would come all the way back from Europe old sausage that had been rejected, and that was moldy and white—it would be dosed with borax and glycerine, and dumped into the hoppers, and...