In an effort to win converts to socialism, Sinclair constructs every formal element in as simple and transparent a way as possible. The narrative structure follows one long descent into the hellish reality of capitalism until Jurgis discovers socialism and is saved in a manner not unlike the evangelical Christian idea of being born again. Sinclair fleshes out this capitalist hell with a realistic style that relies heavily on stomach-churning description. Sinclair’s realism falters with his characters, however. At times, they seem less like portraits of realistic people and more like one-dimensional representations of particular classes and social forces. While abstract forces such as capitalism and socialism do shape and sometimes suppress individual identities, one can argue that there is a tension between the flatness of Sinclair’s characters and the human qualities with which he tries to instill them. Jurgis, for example, is called upon to represent an entire class of society and be a loving father, devoted husband, pitiful victim, and hero. He is asked to be a glorified abstraction and a particular person, but his role as representative of the proletariat seems to rob him of the real humanity that would make his struggle worthwhile. Along similar lines, the socialist characters exhibit a frightening degree of conformity and live with each other without antagonism or complexity. Their idealization runs seems somewhat at odds with the novel’s claim, implicit in its style and setting, of being realistic.
The first paragraph or so of an essay is usually the most important part of the whole essay to get "just right". Not only is it an opportunity to grab the reader's attention, but also a chance to set the agenda for the rest of the essay in terms of tone and content. Strictly speaking, there is no single "right" way to begin an essay — just as it's possible to write essays about countless subjects, so too is it possible to begin an essay in countless ways. However, most good beginnings to essays share certain qualities which, if taken into account, can greatly improve essay intros that may otherwise be lacking. See Step 1 below to get started.
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