Rudkus: Character Analysis

Rudkus: Character Analysis
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Upton Sinclair authored The Jungle. The novel describes the living conditions of immigrants in the USA with a specific focus on Chicago and other major cities. One major life challenges of immigrants, concerns their exposure to unsafe and unhealthy working conditions in the meatpacking industry, of 20th century America (Sinclair 13). This paper analyzes the life changes experienced by the main actors in the novel, Jurgis Rudkus. The changes experienced by the main actors are categorized into three areas; physical, moral, and social transformations. The transformation occurs continuously; from the start of the novel to the end of the novel.

The novel begins with one major social change in the life of Jurgis Rudkus. The social transformation is illustrated through the wedding event. Rudkus and Ona get married in a ceremony that was greatly celebrated locally (Sinclair 32). Marriage represents the social change from a single life known as bachelorhood, to the more responsible marriage life. Marriage life calls for extra responsibilities because the husband is supposed to provide for his family. After settling in America, Rudkus experienced another social change, which is living with minimal freedom. All human beings require the right to decide and engage in inappropriate activities. This is a challenge to Rudkus because his life is closely controlled. The work environment is strictly monitored by supervisors; who ensure that employees like Rudkus deliver work results under unfavorable work environments. The freedom of Rudkus is also hindered when he is jailed for attacking Connor; in response to allegations that he sexually exploits his wife at the workplace. In the later stages of the novel, Rudkus experiences the social problem of homelessness. After being released from jail; Rudkus is faced with the fact that his family was evicted from the place they knew as home. The eviction resulted in his family depending on relatives for accommodation.  Homelessness has negative effects on the individuals affected and the society in general. Rudkus and his family lose their sense of dignity and privacy, through staying with relatives for a long period of time.

Rudkus experiences moral changes as illustrated in the stages of the book. Morality entails the accepted behavior (ethics) in society. The novel at the beginning illustrates that Rudkus is determined to work hard and earn a decent living. It is morally right for all adult members of society to engage in income legal income-generating activities. On arriving in Chicago, Rudkus found employment in the slaughterhouse owned by Brown. He hoped that the wages from this job will sustain decent living standards for his family. The middle section of the novel describes the moral decay that Rudkus experiences in his family. This is through the catastrophes that directly affect his family. He is fired from his employment, because of the work injury he got at the fertilizer plant owned by Durham. The catastrophes make Rudkus feel unworthy and incapable of taking care of the basic needs and interests of his family. The moral standing of Rudkus deteriorates when he commits a crime by attacking Connor. The attack was because of allegations that Cannon sexually abused his work at the workplace. The attacking crime results in the arrest and thereafter jail term. The jail term prevented him from adequately taking care of his family; for example, by providing appropriate shelter (Sinclair 117).

Rudkus experiences physical changes progressively as illustrated in the novel. Rudkus is fired from his work after a work-related injury. This is unfair because; standard labor standard requires adequate compensation by the employer, for workers who get accidents, injuries, infection, and even death, at the workplace. The injury resulted in Rudkus being physically incapacitated, hence incapable of working effectively. In the current society, employers are not allowed to terminate the services of physically injured employees. Rudkus is illustrated as physically aggressive in the novel. This is when he physically attacks Connor, for allegedly abusing her wife sexually. The attack, according to my understanding was genuine. Each and every person has the right of defending his family against harm the current society experiences similar instances of physically aggressive behavior. Many people engage in physical crime like manslaughter, because of the defense of life, family, or property. The worsening experiences of Rudkus and his family, makes him turn to heavy drinking for solace. Heavy drinking is a direct outcome of stressful living conditions. He also experiences the guilt of not adequately taking care of his family; for example, being unable to provide a comfortable home for his family. In the present society, many people abuse alcohol and drugs because of socio-economic problems. Heavy drinking deteriorates the physical health and fitness of individuals. The later stages of the novel illustrate that engaged in manual laboring jobs as a source of income. The laboring job is physically intensive. Continuous engagement in laboring jobs results in physical problems like injuries, infections, and fatigue (Sinclair 115). The current American society still uses immigrants in laboring jobs. This may be due to employment discrimination, or relatively inadequate education and professional qualifications of the immigrants.

            The paper has adequately covered the transformation experienced by the main character throughout the novel. The change experience has also been connected to the current events that take place in American society. The immigration challenge is still experienced in society. However, tremendous progress has been made in improving working conditions in America.

 Works Cited:

Upton Sinclair. The Jungle. 2007. The Penguin Classics. Print.