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The Jungle Essay

  • Submitted by: lynbail
  • on April 14, 2015
  • Category: History
  • Length: 614 words

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The Jungle Essay
    Upton Sinclair wrote The Jungle to expose the appalling working conditions in the meat-packing industry. He describes the disgusting and horrible conditions in the meat packing factories which lead to improvements like: less child labor, worker protection from job injuries, and cleaner working conditions. Upton Sinclair wanted to change more than the conditions in the factories. He wanted to change American society into a more socialist one. He wanted to protect the poor immigrants from social injustice in the workplace and in society. Sinclair was a socialist; he believed that the government should control the economy and help the poor. I believe that in comparison to the primary sources in Modules 9 and 10, The Jungle is an accurate representation of life in the Progressive Era.
Sinclair believed that he was a novelist first and later became an “investigative journalist” or “muckrakers” (Give Me Liberty, 676) as President Roosevelt called these types of writers. Sinclair and other muckraker’s main goals were to expose the industrialist wrongdoings. The graphic detail in the stories made the book more believable. Sinclair included a chapter on how diseased, rotten and contaminated meat products were processed, doctored by chemicals, and mislabeled for sale to the public. He wrote that workers would process dead, injured and diseased animals after regular hours when no meat inspectors were around. He explained how pork fat and beef scraps were canned and labeled as “potted chicken.” Sinclair wrote that meat for canning and sausage was piled on the floor before workers carried it off in carts holding sawdust, human spit and urine, rat dung, rat poison, and even dead rats. The public became angry with the filth and falsely labeled meat. They almost ignored the issue of the workers. Meat sales dropped sharply. “I aimed at the nation’s heart, but by accident I hit it in the stomach.” (Sinclair, 1906) This quote sums up the effect the book had on...

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