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Muckraking In Upton Sinclair's The Jungle

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On February 26, 1906, Upton Sinclair released The Jungle, a novel written about the life of a Lithuanian family moving to America and the hardships they faced there. Sinclair, a Socialist and a muckraker reporter wrote the novel in hopes of gaining supporters of the Socialist party. What he ended up doing was single handily cause the formation of the Food and Drug Administration after he showed the nation what was really happening with their food. Yet looking at the work as what it’s meant to be, an exposure of the negative effects of a capitalist society on the impoverished citizens, was Sinclair’s indictment a fair assessment. The novel The Jungle, follows the story of Jurgis Rudkus and his new family as they move to America in search of …show more content…
Muckraking is a form of journalism that reports scandalous information to the public. The term comes from President Theodore Roosevelt to describe the writers of the time like John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. If the novel was about Sinclair’s muckraking abilities, then he succeeds twice over. He single handily exposed the meat packing industry, bringing down an empire of corruption. The original intension of The Jungle can be compared to Jacob Rii’s How the Other Half Lives, which is a novel about poor immigrants horrible living conditions in tenement houses. Immigrants in there tenement houses were crammed into small apartments with numerous other people, with no safety features, and no indoor plumbing. They lived in the cold and in filth. They both argue for social reform to help the poor immigrants who were taken advantage of by wealthy Americans. Both novels look at the harsh living conditions of immigrants and how their poor wealth keeps them in terrible conditions. Another novel The Jungle can be compared to is Jane Addams’ Twenty Years at Hull-House, a documentary of Jane Addams’ life at Hull House which was a settlement house in Chicago, the same city Jurgis lived in. In chapter twenty-one, young Juozapas met a settlement house worker while raking through garbage looking for food since Jargis was jobless. The woman came back with Juozapas to meet the family and hear their story. Moved by Elzbieta’s story she helps them by getting Jurgis a job at her husband-to-be’s steel mill. There are many women similar to this one in Chicago, all trying to help the poor immigrants of the time. They were all volunteers working in settlement houses in poorer neighborhoods and were dedicated to improving living conditions. Elzbieta said that some people tried to get her to go to a settlement house, but she refused too because she thought it had something to do with religion and she did not want to go

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