The Jungle (novel)

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The Jungle (novel)
Author Upton Sinclair
Year Published 1906
Language English

The Jungle is a novel by socialist author Upton Sinclair depicting the harsh conditions of poverty for immigrants in the early twentieth century.


The jungle is a story of life in the stockyards in Chicago; a story "brutal with life, written of sweat and blood, and groans and tears," in the words of his fellow novelist, Jack London. The purpose of the novel is twofold; avowedly Socialistic, it aims to arouse public sentiment against the industrial slavery of modern economic conditions, and it reveals the hideous practices of the great meat packers, who, Mr. Sinclair declares, force the public to eat food that is fit only to be used as fertiliser.[1]


The book describes the story of Jurgis Rudkus and his family struggling to survive in the stockyards of Chicago, which by that time had flooded with European immigrants seeking a new life in the United States. Most of the story describes the scarcity of jobs and the disgusting conditions of the meat packing plants in which the immigrants were forced to work.


  • Jurgis Rudkus
  • Ona Lukoszaite Rudkus
  • Teta Elzbieta Lukoszaite
  • Antanas Rudkus
  • Marija Berczynskas
  • Freddie Jones
  • Grandmother Swan
  • Dede Antanas
  • Jokubas Szedvilas
  • Phil Connor
  • Lucas
  • Tamoszius Kuszleika
  • Mike Scully
  • Edward Marcinkus
  • Fisher
  • Jonas Lukoszas

Government response

Sinclair meant to show the necessity of socialistic control of businesses in improving the lives of these poor and starving people. Instead, its depiction of meat packing industry eventually led to the passage of the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906. He later said, "I aimed at the public’s heart and by accident hit its stomach".[2]

After reading the book, President Roosevelt assigned Charles P. Neill and James Bronson Reynolds to develop a report based on their investigation of several facilities. The Neill-Reynolds report was not released for publication, but was sent to Congress for review.

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