Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle"

Topics: Meat packing industry, Meat processing, Meatpacking Pages: 3 (1039 words) Published: May 16, 2005
Several years before and after the turn the turn of the twentieth century, America experienced a large influx of European immigration. These new citizens had come in search of the American dream of success, bolstered by promise of good fortune. Instead they found themselves beaten into failure by American industry. Upton Sinclair wanted to expose the cruelty and heartlessness endured by these ordinary workers. He chose to represent the industrial world through the meatpacking industry, where the rewards of progress were enjoyed only by the privileged, who exploited the powerless masses of workers. The Jungle is a novel and a work of investigative journalism; its primary purpose was to inform the general public about the dehumanization of American workers. However the novel was much more effective at exposing the unsanitary conditions of the meatpacking industry. The public's concern about the meat supply was so great that Sinclair later commented, "I aimed at the public's heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach." He played the journalist role well, actually spending seven months in Chicago where he studied the inner workings of the meatpacking industry. The experience allowed him to describe first-hand the sickening environment of the modern industrial factory. After Jurgis loses his factory job, he begins a frustrating search for new employment. Eventually he is forced into taking a job at the fertilizer plant, the worst place in the town. Sinclair makes it clear that the worker will, in fact, be working in sewage. The fertilizer works of Durham's lay away from the rest of the plant. This this part of the yards came all the "tankage," and the waste products of all sorts; here they dried out the bones—and in suffocating cellars where the day light bending over whirling machines and sewing bits of bone into all sorts of shapes, breathing their lungs of the fine dust, and doomed to die, every one of them, within a certain time. Here they made the blood into...
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