This essay has a total of 789 words and 4 pages.
The Jungle is one of the most famous American novels ever written. Most people associate The Jungle with the federal legislation it provoked. Americans were horrified to learn about the terrible sanitation under which their meat products were packed. They were even more horrified to learn that the labels listing the ingredients in tinned meat products were full of lies. The revelation that rotten and diseased meat was sold without a single consideration for public health infuriated American citizens. They consumed meat containing the ground remains of poisoned rats and sometimes-unfortunate workers who fell into the machinery for grinding meat and producing lard. Within months of The Jungle's publication, the sale of meat products dropped dramatically. The public outcry of indignation led to the passage of the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act, less than a year after the novel's publication.
However, contrary to what many people believe, Sinclair did not write The Jungle to incite the American government into regulating the sanitation of the meat packing industry. The details regarding the unsanitary and disgusting conditions in meat packing factories are background details of a much larger picture. Sinclair wrote his novel to provoke outrage over the miserable working conditions of industrial wage labor. He detailed the lack of sanitation in the factories in order to provoke sympathy and outrage for the impoverished factory workers. The germs and disease inside the meat packing establishments were indeed a public health concern, but it was far more of a concern for the workers. Sinclair portrays the various sicknesses they suffer as a result of their working environments.
Sinclair wrote his novel as an appeal to Socialism, a political theory based on the writings of Marx. He follows Jurgis's Lithuanian immigrant family into the disgusting tenements and meat packing factories of Chicago. There, they suffer the loss of all their dreams of success and freedom in America. They find themselves leashed to the grinding poverty and misery of the city slums despite all their best efforts. Sinclair's purpose is to display the evils of capitalism as an economic system. Sinclair was bemused by the public reaction to his phenomenally successful novel. He said that he had aimed for America's heart, but had ended by hitting it in the stomach.
Jurgis suffers misfortune after mis
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