The Meat Industry In Upton Sinclair's The Jungle During The Progressive Era

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Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle was a novel popularized and published during the Progressive Era with the purpose of exposing the horrific working conditions of the Chicago meat industry. Sinclair exposed the unsanitary practices of the meat industry and the dehumanization of the workers. The harsh realities written in Sinclair’s novel reached the hearts of many Americans furthering the push of many progressive activist’s demands. In the end this created an everlasting lawful change with the help of President Theodore Roosevelt.
The tragic novel, The Jungle, quickly gained nationwide attention not long after its publications. However, much of its success is due to the time period in which it was published, The Progressive Era. This was a time …show more content…

A major change found from the novel and still in practice today is the food industry. Many times throughout, Sinclair mentions unsanitary aspects of what people were truly purchasing to consume. “There was never the least attention paid to what sausage that had been rejected, and that was moldy and white--it would be dosed with borax and glycerine, and dumped into the hoppers, and made over again for home consumption” (Sinclair, 100). As many Americans read the novel, they found themselves disgusted by what they were truly consuming on a daily basis. This resulted in nationwide outrage, and even had reached congress. A copy of The Jungle was sent to at the time President Theodore Roosevelt. Horrified by the descriptions of the process in which meat had been produced …show more content…

The main character Jurgis early on in the book when he was still full of hope and believing in the “American dream” shuns his coworkers aligned with the union. However, as he is exposed to how working at the meat plant truly is and how it can drain the life out of someone, he joins the union himself. Jurgis’ hope in the union pulled him further even when he was on the brink of breaking down. As people read The Jungle it inspired those in similar positions to form their own unions. Sinclair’s writing became a powerful tool for everyday working citizens to unite with those in similar situations, creating a platform for workers to have a voice and be heard. For the first time people who had felt invisible were able to negotiate on their own terms with their

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