The Jungle

Compare and contrast the working conditions and pay between the slaughterhouses and the steel mills.

chapter 21

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The noise in the steel mill was overwhelming.

"...the air shook with deafening thunder, and whistles shrieked warnings on

all sides of him at once; where miniature steam engines came rushing upon him, and sizzling, quivering, white hot masses of metal sped past him, and explosions of

fire and flaming sparks dazzled him and scorched his face."

The workers were careless with the boiling cauldrons they tended.


Jurgis finds a job is in the steel mill. This place is no better in terms of safety or humanity than the meat packing plants. Ironically, Jurgis get this job through the help of a “settlement worker.” During the Progressive Era, the settlement worker movement would employ young men and women from affluent society to move into the slums and ghettos of large industrial cities where they would volunteer their time to give back to the poor. Sinclair uses this irony to show how even the charity of the rich is inextricably tied to the power and wealth of industrial society. Although the settlement worker means only to help, this person has no way of helping Jurgis except by placing him in an industrial factory that enslaves and injures him.


The Jungle