Exploring The Jungle: The True Impact Of A Literary Masterpiece

2280 words - 9 pages

Literature is a powerful and persuasive tool. History holds the proof that a well-written novel, even a work of fiction, has the power to profoundly impact society. One such novel is Upton Sinclair’s 1906 expose of the American immigrant, infamously titled The Jungle. The story is of the trials and tribulations of a Lithuanian family struggling to earn a living in the slaughterhouses of Chicago. The issues faced by this family are some of the most disturbing fictional depictions of the lower class, and some of the most well-read in the past century. The Jungle, now hailed as a literary masterpiece, is credited with being the reason for the Pure Food and Drug Act and Meat Inspection Act of the early 1900’s (Ewers). Though Sinclair’s story is revered for supposedly helping to reform a corrupt industry, research of both the current day meat packing industry and life of the twenty-first century immigrant proves that the story actually had very little consequence. In addition, research about Sinclair himself raises a number of questions about his motives and credibility. Although Sinclair’s novel was well received and thought to have made a major impact on society, it actually had very little effect on anything but the American psyche.
To further understand what has not changed because of The Jungle, it is first important to understand what the initial impact of the story was, and how it is perceived today. The very famous words of Upton Sinclair explain the forceful impact of his story perfectly, “I aimed at the public’s heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach (Cohen).” When The Jungle was first published in 1906, it was a series of short stories describing the plight of the main character, Jurgis, and his poverty-stricken family. The details of starving children and power-hungry big
Wenzel 2
business leaders were not what startled the American public however, but the details of men and rats being made into meat, and of the disease and filth that was entering the American meat supply. Americans were shocked and horrified by Sinclair’s portrayal of the unsanitary conditions of meat packing facilities, of workers losing fingers into the ground beef, of diseased animal carcasses being adulterated with chemicals and sent to market (Abrahamson). Though the story was meant to have a deeper meaning, more specifically a political one, the public was far too disgusted and fascinated by the details of the food they were purchasing than anything else.
The uproar that was caused by Sinclair’s supposed research of these factories received the attention of President Theodore Roosevelt, who performed research of his own that led to the creation of new food inspection acts. The Meat Inspection Act of 1906 put tough restrictions on packing facilities, instituting a system that allowed certified federal meat inspectors to check all carcasses as they traveled throughout the process. The Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 was the other act created, and it...

Find Another Essay On Exploring The Jungle: The True Impact of a Literary Masterpiece

Exploring the Impact of Education on Civilization

1223 words - 5 pages Does education really have any noticeable impact on the evolution of society? We have had some amazing thinkers in our times, but it can be disheartening when looking around at society and considering that civilization as a whole may only be as good as the least educated individual. But this surely can't be, there must be evidence of education making some kind of difference. To further examine this, the words of Robert Frost are considered

The Literary Merit of Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange and Exploring Reasons Why it Was Banned

963 words - 4 pages will find out where, why and when the book was banned and/or challenged and you will discover what the book contains that would “offend” people. Finally, you will discover the literary merit of this book, which means you will discover if is a work of quality. Before I get into all the specifics I’m going to give you a summary of the book I picked to read. A Clockwork Orange is an interesting book, to say the least, about a young teenager

Theme of The Jungle

1234 words - 5 pages ways throughout the book. It is shown through the plot and through many examples of event that occurred though the book. In The Jungle a young man named Jurgis Rudkus moves to the United States landing in Chicago, with his family looking for a better life then what they had in Lithuania. They arrived in Chicago in the middle of where the meat packing industry was located. Landing here was going to provide them with jobs so they could pay

Law of the Jungle

1405 words - 6 pages Introduction The term “Law of the Jungle” is an expression often meaning “every man for himself,” “survival of the fittest” or “anything goes.” A term that also referred to as the time period prior to the Wagner Act enacted in 1935. A time in which collective bargaining existed in theory but not fairly practice between unions and employers. When practiced fairly, collective bargaining allows workers to achieve a form of democracy within

The Impact of Industrialization on Literary Characters

2135 words - 9 pages The Industrial Revolution was a period of time in which Great Britain saw advancements in technology, agriculture, and transportation. These changes heavily influenced the country economically and socially. The creation of the unskilled factory labor worker emerged and a movement began from rural to urban areas. With an increase in wages from factory work, the population of the country increased as well. Overall Britain was becoming smaller

The Jungle a Primary Source

1053 words - 5 pages expensive cost in running a business. The Jungle shows the true experience of Sinclair’s visit to Chicago’s meatpacking factories. This makes The Jungle a primary source because he was there inspecting the lives of the people and how the business man would scrape every penny they could get for profit. In the end Sinclair’s documented experience change the food industry for the good of the consumer and worker. "Primary vs Secondary Sources." Princeton University. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Mar. 2014 Sinclair, Upton. The Jungle. Cambridge, MA: R. Bentley, 1971. Print. Tovanche, Joel. US History 1302. Arlington High School, Arlington, TX. n.d. Lecture.

The Jungle: A Close Examination

2735 words - 11 pages place to protect the workers or to regulate the shipment of meat.The Jungle was originally serialized in a socialist newspaper, entitled Appeal to Reason. When the book was finally published in book form, it instigated a pure food movement, which brought about the Pure Food and Drug Act. George P. Brett said the following of The Jungle:“[The Jungle] will set forth the breaking of human hearts by a system which exploits the labor of men and

The Imperfect Masterpiece

1979 words - 8 pages values and the diverse background of Americans is what makes a true American. As was said by Schwarzenegger, “no matter the nationality, no matter the religion, no matter the ethnic background, America brings out the best in people.” This is why people still come to American. While America and its citizens are not perfect, its improving core values make it perfect thus creating the imperfect masterpiece. Work Cited “PATRIOT Act Overview

The Gentlemen Of The Jungle

1359 words - 6 pages Each and every person must take his or her own bit of wisdom from the land of Africa, wisdom scattered generously by Mother-Africa to her children. These were the ancestors, the chiefs, the scholars, the bush men and women, the weak, the strong, and the brave. Let us examine such work of wisdom by Jomo Kenyatta in his short story: "The Getnlemen of The Jungle." As a Pan-African and great political leader, Kenyatta became the first president of

The law of The Jungle

1460 words - 6 pages . It all created such mass deviation from the moral norms has had a distorting impact on the development of economic relations.The fact that is important for well established economy is: people need to have their economic assurance what affect their motivation. They need to know that when they will work hard the economic system will reward them. In Russia during the 90´s there was not assurance of anything, no created middle class, just poor

The Law of the Jungle: Hinduism and the Jungle Books

3584 words - 15 pages Kipling did not understand the Law which he laid out in the stories. He says that it, “reduces to a few conventional precepts. It would hardly satisfy any half-competent student of political theory, since it begs all the famous questions – or it seems, even, to be unaware of them,” (238). While this may be true, it is essential to remember that the Jungle Books were written for children to read, and the Law of the Jungle is not supposed to act

Similar Essays

The Impact Of The Jungle Essay

634 words - 3 pages Upton Sinclair, the author of The Jungle, is known as the world's greatest muckraker because of his exposure of some of the world's problems in his literature and journalism. In 1904, he was commissioned by a socialist newspaper to investigate and record the living and working conditions in Chicago's stockyards. Sinclair observed the working environment in the stockyards for seven weeks to gather information. In 1905, The Jungle was published

The Crucible: A Masterpiece Of Dramatic Writing

3308 words - 13 pages       The Crucible provides us with an example of a masterpiece of dramatic writing. In this play Arthur Miller gives us a stimulating example of the use of a variety of theatrical techniques. His most powerful scenes in "The Crucible" have common characteristics: very effective use of stage actions, long build-ups of suspense that come crashing down in thundering climaxes, intense displays of emotion and an abundance of dramatic irony

The Consequence Of Anticipation Henry James' "The Beast In The Jungle" A Literary Analysis Of A Classic Short Story

898 words - 4 pages ; [which] may be used to develop and serve their relationship in the present" (136). John's rapport with Bartram satisfies her affection for him.John's naïve dialogue clearly proves his obsession with his fate. Marcher's tragedy is actually an anticlimax, with the "beast in the jungle" being the absence of a beast, yet, in a way, the beast is indeed present. The beast transforms itself into the death of May Bartram:Her dying, her death, his

The Impact Of Literary Composition Essay

1034 words - 5 pages George Orwell’s, “Shooting an Elephant,” incorporates the “five recurrent ideas” of literary theory outlined in “Beginning Theory: An Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory” by Peter Barry. Orwell’s literary piece is heavily influenced by allusions to imperialism, historical events, and the impact his time in the army had on his writing. “Shooting an Elephant” serves as a direction correlation to the tenants of literary theory due to the