The American Dream in The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, Jr.

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Muckraking, “to search for and expose real or alleged corruption, scandal, or the like, especially in politics” ( Upton Sinclair gained fame in the early 1900’s from his muckraking novel, The Jungle, describing the life of a young Lithuanian immigrant, Jurgis, living in Chicago in pursuit of the American dream. Jurgis found out that America isn’t as good as it appeared; with higher wages came more expensive goods, and with cheaper houses came higher interest rates. The Jungle, a fictional novel, tells of the real horrors of working in a Chicago meat packing factory. Sinclair had gone undercover, in a meat factory, for seven weeks to gain the information necessary to write the book. Throughout the novel, there are hints of Sinclair’s belief in Socialism.

“Still, Upton Sinclair wasn't aiming for food safety; he was aiming for social safety. He wanted to change the structure of American society so that even poor immigrants are protected from gross exploitation and oppression.” ( The writer of this article believed that Sinclair did not necessarily want to make the food standards higher, but instead wanted the government to help the working class have a chance. The article goes on to provide a modern example of the difficulty the working class faces, “All we have to do is look at the BP Deep Horizon oil rig that polluted the Gulf of Mexico to see that industrial accidents and pollution haven't gone away. And many federal judges already have ties to the oil industry, so how is BP going to get a real trial in our biased court system?” The author of the article showed that it is easier for the rich to get away with breaking the law, also a theme from The Jungle. In The Jungle, rich people own the factories, pa...

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... World War I and II. Sinclair won the Pulitzer Prize for Dragon’s Teeth in 1945 from this series. Again, in his later works, Sinclair wrote with political undertones, stating “the most important and most dangerous book I have ever written” was The Brass Check (
Sinclair who in the 1920’s went on to run for office in California used his work for activism and to educate the public. First under the Socialist Party of America and eight years later in the Democratic Party. He wrote contradictory words in journals muddling his political views. Irony in change? The Jungle has several versions, many without the full ending. This is similar to Charles Dikens’ work Great Expectations.
Two American authors often compared to write with the influence of Sinclair are John Steinbeck and John Dos Passos. They describe the character’s treatments and injustices.
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