First published OTD in 1906, Upton Sinclair’s ‘The Jungle’. Sinclair wrote the novel to portray the harsh conditions & exploited lives of immigrants in the United States in Chicago & similar industrialized cities. Perhaps his main goal in exposing the meat industry & working conditions was to advance socialism in the United States; however, most readers were more concerned with his exposure of health violations & unsanitary practices in the American meatpacking industry during the early 20th century, greatly contributing 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.”

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The book depicts working class poverty, the lack of social supports, harsh and unpleasant living and working conditions, and a hopelessness among many workers. These elements are contrasted with the deeply rooted corruption of people in power. A review by the writer Jack London called it “the Uncle Tom’s Cabin of wage slavery.”

Sinclair was considered a muckraker, or journalist who exposed corruption in government and business.

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