Krunal Desai
Mrs. DiVietro
English II Honors
1 Mar. 2015
Sinclair & Marx: Parallel Thinking
When understanding the political philosophy of The Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels fabricated the idea that the “Proletarians have nothing to lose except their chains”, when speaking of the overthrowing of the bourgeoisie. Similarly, Upton Sinclair uses this idea is his novel, The Jungle. When the German philosophers speak of the “proletariat”, or the working class, and the “bourgeoisie”, or the owners of the means of production, they are approaching and analyzing the idea of the class struggle. To them, the formation of the proletariats into a class came into action when modern industrial means, the “spawn” of the bourgeoisie, replaced the isolation of the laborers. This idea of two separate classes that was caused by the industrial boom, goes back to the Dark and Middle Ages. During these periods in European history, the idea of feudalism was vast. Throughout the continent, the obsolete powers of feudalism ruled the land, and this idea reemerged during the mid 1800s. The bourgeoisie harnessed the mass manpower of the laborer, while acquiring capital. The proletariats would soon come to a realization of these “tyranny”, and so this would mark the overthrowing of the bourgeoisie. Sinclair uses Durham’s as the “bourgeoisie”, and the common laborers of Packingtown as the “Proletarians”. Sinclair shows the transformation of Jurgis, by showing how his positive thoughts of Capitalism change to the Socialistic thoughts of many in this area of Chicago. He uses the last sentence in the novel to show how the “means of industry”, as said by Marx and Engels, can have a profound effect on the “common” man, in which he will consider the act of an “overthrow”.