The Jungle

The Jungle  is a groundbreaking 1906 novel written by author and socialist journalist Upton Sinclair. It is an important example of the “muckraking” tradition begun by journalists such as Jacob Riis. The novel revealed the corruption of the American meatpacking industry during the early 20th century. The novel depicts in harsh tones the poverty, absence of social programs, unpleasant living and working conditions, and hopelessness prevalent among the “have-nots”, which is contrasted with the deeply rooted corruption on the part of the “haves”. Sinclair wanted to persuade his readers that the mainstream American political parties offered little means for progressive change. However, most readers were more concerned with his exposure of health violations and unsanitary practices prevalent in meatpacking factories and greatly contributed to a public outcry which led to reforms including the Meat Inspection Act. Sinclair famously said of the public reaction “I aimed at the public’s heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach.”

Scroll Up