Upton Sinclair's Accidental Success: The Jungle

analytical Essay
1189 words
1189 words

Upton Sinclair’s Accidental Success: The Jungle
An American writer, reformer, and an idealistic supporter of socialism, Upton Sinclair, became a famous “muckraker” in the early 1900s. Through his writing, he made it his principle goal to expose political and social evils (Daniel Mark Fogel). The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair, comes across rather elementary as far as novels go; however, the way the story reads is not what was so important about the book. By writing the book, the author aimed to expose the horrendous working conditions in the meatpacking industry in the early 1900s in Chicago, Illinois. As a worker himself in the meatpacking plant yards, Sinclair often witnessed illegal practices and unsafe food handling first hand (Gallagher). In addition to the poor working conditions, he attempts to shed some light on the diseased, rotten and contaminated state of the meat products that these deprived workers produced. Upton Sinclair’s, The Jungle, highlights the devastating condition of the meatpacking industry’s workers, their poor health practices at the turn of the century, and by reaching the White House, this anti-capitalist and pro-socialist author’s novel changed the way our food reaches the American public forever.
The novel begins with a veselija, traditional Lithuanian wedding, for Jurgis and his new wife, Ona. Ona Lukoszaite and Jurgis Rudkus, two Lithuanian immigrants and recently moved to Chicago to achieve what they perceived as the “American Dream.” Many of their wedding guests show up to the celebration only for the free food and drink, and the newlywed couple quickly begins to realize they will be paying off their celebration for months to come. Right away Sinclair depicts these hardworking immigrants as ...

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...ropaganda for Socialism, The Jungle, led to an immediate investigation into the meatpacking industry as ordered by the President. Sinclair became an overnight celebrity, and Socialist icon; he finally became financially stable. Even with the overall success of the novel, the President and the nation only focused on the meatpacking industry and the food handling practices; this was not Sinclair’s plan. His goal was to highlight the labor exploitation, not the food we eat. Ultimately, President Theodore Roosevelt, launched an investigation into the meat industry, which led to two very important new federal food safety laws, The Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act, both food quality acts were signed into law on June 30, 1906 (Gallagher). Sinclair famously joked, “I aimed at the public's heart and by accident I hit it in the stomach” (Gallagher).

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how upton sinclair, an american writer, reformer, and idealistic supporter of socialism, became a famous "muckraker" in the early 1900s.
  • Analyzes how sinclair depicts hardworking immigrants as suffering, with scarce employment opportunities, and with the jobs they do have, people cannot make a decent living on the mediocre compensation.
  • Explains that the "american dream" of a capitalistic lifestyle was not as attainable as they thought it would be.
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