Social History for Every Classroom


Social History for Every Classroom

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The Jungle (Excerpt)

Upton Sinclair's novel about immigrant workers in Chicago's meatpacking plants shocked readers when it was first published in 1906. Sinclair hoped the novel would awaken Americans to the evils of capitalism; the main character Jurgis ends the novel by attending a socialist meeting. However, the book was most noted for its gruesome depictions of the unsanitary conditions of the nation's slaughterhouses. As a result of the outrage provoked by the novel, Progressive reformers pushed through the Meat Inspection and Pure Food and Drug Acts of 1906; these institutions later evolved into the Food and Drug Administration and were a major victory for proponents of industrial regulation and consumer protection.

" ... that here in this huge city, with its stores of heaped-up wealth, human creatures might be hunted down and destroyed ... The latter part of April Jurgis went to see the doctor, and was given a bandage to lace about his ankle, and told that might go back to work ...

[But there was no work for him.] The peculiar bitterness of all this was that Jurgis saw so plainly the meaning of it. In the beginning he had been fresh and strong, and he had gotten a job the first day; but now he was second-hand, a damaged article, so to speak, and they did not want him. They had got the best out of him--they had worn him out, with their speeding up and their carlessness, and now they had thrown him away! ....

Source | Upton Sinclair, The Jungle (1906).
Creator | Upton Sinclair
Item Type | Fiction/Poetry
Cite This document | Upton Sinclair, “The Jungle (Excerpt),” SHEC: Resources for Teachers, accessed September 28, 2023,



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