Explain why all students should be required to read this book.

Reflections on The Jungle

The Jungle is a powerful work of fiction.  Published serially in the socialist newspaper Appeal to Reason in 1905, the book still resonates with readers over a century later.  The study of history is not just about understanding the past, but helping us understand and evaluate the present.  This journal assignment requires you to react to what you have encountered in The Jungle.  Because I am looking for your reactions, there are no “wrong” answers, so please focus on how the text affects you.  In your entry, you must respond to three separate passages or quotes in the book (with page numbers in parenthesis).  Your entry is to be at least 500 words long.  You can choose from one of the following questions or contact me to have your own question approved BEFORE you begin writing.


If you had been Jurgis, or any other of his family who came to Chicago, what would you have done differently? What would you have done the same?

Explain the significance of the title. List and explain which of the novel’s numerous metaphors are most effective for you.

What do you think of Jurgis’s maxim, “I will work harder”? Do you think this is a good solution?

What is your opinion of Jurgis’s and the family’s handling of money? What advice would you have for them? What would you do differently in their place?

How much of Jurgis’s life is governed by fate, and how much is based on his decisions? Evaluate his decisions throughout the book.

Explain why all students should be required to read this book.

Explain why no students should be required to read this book.


Your entry needs to be at least 500 words.  For full points you must reference your the book to help make your case at least three times.  Simply put the page number of the passage you are citing in parenthesis like this: (83).  Please practice good writing practices.  Structure your entry with an introduction, evidence, and conclusion.  It is a good idea to draft your entry in your computer’s word processing program (Word, Libreoffice, Pages, etc.).  This will allow you to check your spelling and grammar as problems in that area will impact your grade. You can then paste the text into the directly into the journal text entry box.  Consult the rubric for this assignment for more details.

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