Upton Sinclairs "The Jungle" Essay

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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 …show more content…
However, this message does not come across effectively because the average reader is more concerned with the contamination surrounding Jurgis in the meatpacking plant:

There were the wool pluckers, whose hands went to pieces even sooner than the hands of the pickle men. . . There were those who made the tins for the canned meat, and their hands too, were a maze of cuts, and each cut represented a change for blood poisoning. . . as for the other men, who worked in tank rooms full of steam, and in some of which there were open vats near the level of the floor, their peculiar trouble was that they fell into the vats; and when they were fished out, there was never enough of them left to be worth exhibiting—sometimes they would be overlooked for days, till all but the bones of them had gone out to the world a Durham’s Pure Leaf Lard! (p.117)

There were no toilets, so human and rat excrement wound up in the meat, along with the rats themselves. These unsanitary details moved readers far more than the injustices inflicted on the workers. Other examples include the rechurning of rancid butter, the cutting of ice from polluted water and the doctoring of milk with formaldehyde. The average consumer was shocked to know that the “pure beef” was in fact contaminated and unfit for human consumption. Imagine

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