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Chicago Immigrants

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Being an immigrant in Chicago at the turn of the century was very rough. Europeans had a very idealized image of what they thought America was. Immigrants had heard stories of how much money one could make in America, yet what they did not know was that while they were making more money, they were spending way more. Everything in America was more expensive and harder to get. It was not a land of plentiful, well paying jobs that these immigrants had imagined. Jobs were very hard to get, and once you got one, you most definitely did not want to lose it. Once working, hours were hard and long. Most people worked in the meat industry, which meant the stench was horrible and the work was hard. You would have to learn a simple task and preform it all day long over and over again. These jobs were also dangerous, and there was no disability insurance. If you got hurt, you would not make money. Many people would starve because they were making so little money. Food was expensive, and immigrants were always getting ripped off. They would end up paying way more money for things than they needed to. Like in The Jungle, the family "buys" their house, which they think is brand new. They then figure out that it is not new, and they would have to pay tons of unforeseen costs on it, which was more money than they had to spend. There was also the health issue. At that time, there was no real inspection on whether or not the meat was actually good. In fact, most of it wasn't. People would get sick and die all the time from bad meat. There were also chemicals in the milk and other food that there shouldn't be. Being an immigrant at the turn of the century was extremely hard and difficult.



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