The Jungle Thesis Paper

Topics: Upton Sinclair, Meatpacking, Meat packing industry Pages: 2 (560 words) Published: May 8, 2013
In Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, published in 1906, a sense of injustice towards the working class and need for socialism is present. Sinclair intended to illustrate the vast majority of immigrants in Chicago at the turn of the century; providing details and examples of abuses in the meatpacking industry merely as a means of demonstrating their troubles. After the publication of The Jungle, Sinclair stated, "I aimed for the public's heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach." He used those words to describe the reaction of his novel. Once the public had been exposed to this underlying secret within the meat packing industry, they rallied for immediate government intervention, which eventually led to the 1906 Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act. It also, however, led to a report issued the same year by the Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Animal Husbandry that refuted the worst of Sinclair's allegations. The public's perception at this time was that the meatpacking industry feared these Acts. What was unrecognized, however, was the fact that meatpackers knew they were viewed with contempt, and facing substantial losses, the industry actually supported the Acts. They just did not want to be the ones to pay for the implementation. These Acts allayed most fears, and ironically, actually favored big business, which was the opposite of Sinclair's intention.

Sinclair knew that when writing this piece, a piece that would change America forever, he needed to present it and write it in such a way that it would quickly grab hold of the reader’s attention. Essentially, he created a new type of novel that America had yet to be expose to; naturalism. Naturalism, as a type of literature, attempts to apply scientific principles and detachment when studying humans. In true naturalistic novels, there are two key themes that dominate this genre of writing: survival and futile attempts to practice free will. These themes are both present in The Jungle....
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