Upton Sinclair’s childhood and era that he lived in had a significant influence on how he viewed the meatpacking industry and his writing of the Jungle. Sinclair’s novel gave a unique perspective using metaphors, sensory imagery, and naturalism to give readers a sense of what being in the factory was really like to those who have read the book.
Upton Sinclair was born in Baltimore, Maryland on September 20, 1878 to a family that was nearly broke. His family did have ties to southern aristocracy through his mother’s side of the family and at times he would spend weeks with his wealthy grandparents. Going back and forth between the two social classes of the rich and poor, Sinclair argued that this is what turned him into a socialist later in his life. When he was 14-years old Sinclair enrolled at City College of New York and shortly after enrolling he had his first story published nationally. Sinclair funded his own education by writing short stories for newspapers and magazines. Upon graduating from City College of New York, he then enrolled at Columbia University as a graduate student in 1897. He published five novels between 1901 and 1906, the most famous of those being “The Jungle.” Sinclair did a minor stint in politics where he unsuccessfully ran for the governor of California. He in his sleep in 1968 at the nursing home he was living in at the time. Throughout his life he published over 60 short stories and books.
Upton Sinclair began his writing career during the Progressive Movement. This was a time that the country was using to fix many of the problems that were created during the Industrial Revolution, especially during the last quarter of the 19th century. With all the change that was taking place not everyone was benefitting from it, mainly the lower class and immigrants did not see any benefit. Much of the success and publicity of the Progressive Movement is due to the writers who wrote about it. They were often referred to as muckrakers. With the help of the muckrakers writing about awful conditions many successes came out of it. Just to name a few, the Interstate Commerce Act, the Sherman Antitrust Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act because of Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle.”
“The Jungle” is a fictional novel that was written to highlight the unhealthy standards in the meat packing industry. Before writing the book Sinclair went undercover in the Chicago meatpacking industry in 1904 for seven weeks. While there he did interview several people who worked in the packing industry, people who had worked in the industry and no longer could, and those who lived around it. Even though the book is based off real accounts it is actually fictional. When he returned home to Princeton, New Jersey he began writing the book that was later published in 1906. The book opened the eyes of the American public to what was really going on in the meat packing industry.
The progressive era, being known for reform of political...