using quotes from the novel
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I think urbanization in "The Jungle" largely meant a shift from the agricultural to the wage oriented culture of the corporate dictated food processing plant. Sinclair describes the plight of the immigrant working class in Packingtown as that of wage slavery. For these people, this becomes the essence of urbanization. Sinclair writes that the immigrant population was "dependent for its opportunities of life upon the whim of men every bit as brutal and unscrupulous as the old-time slave drivers." Immigrants had no real ability to break out of the economic cycles that kept them figuratively chained to their jobs.