Legislation In Upton Sinclair's The Jungle

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There are few novels that have had as large an effect on legislation as Upton Sinclair's The Jungle. The 1906 work captured the public's attention and brought scrutiny down upon the large meat packing companies, resulting in both the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906. It is the most important work to come out of over half-a-century of tireless activism and struggle, yet to Sinclair, The Jungle would always remain a wasted opportunity. His famous lament, “I aimed for the public's heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach,” underscores the disappointment he felt in his self-described failure. In Sinclair's mind, he had set out to write an Uncle Tom's Cabin for the urban proletariat, a novel that would change the…show more content…
He portrayed poor immigrants working under deplorable conditions for meager wages who were then cheated at every turn by a capitalist network of domination. The novel ends with the protagonist Jurgis Rudkus finding himself lost and alone after becoming disillusioned with the American dream and turning to socialist organizing: Sinclair's solution for the proletariat. But when the public read The Jungle, they were appalled at Sinclair's vivid descriptions of unsanitary meat packing plants. People panicked both at home and abroad at the revelation that their meat was so contaminated – albeit partly due to some of Sinclair's unsubstantiated depictions of workers being turned into lard. Politicians and the meat packers themselves sprang into action when it became clear the public was not going to be willing to eat the meat they saw described in Sinclair's pages. But the legislation created in response to the novel passed on the cost of inspection to the public, forcing 1 Sinclair to oppose the bills he made possible. He saw his appeal as unsuccessful, claiming the public reacted to the book out of fear of polluted meat rather than due to genuine concern for

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