The Jungle

Do you think that after publication of The Jungle meat-packing companies would have been willing to eliminate the problems Sinclair wrote about? Why or why not?

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For years before Sinclair began his work, these groups of writers and journalists had documented the abuses of the industry and the plight of immigrant workers who suffered under terrible working conditions. Sinclair’s novel succeeded where others failed, however, not only because it captured the facts of living conditions in the stockyards of Chicago, but also because it made these facts real in people’s imaginations.

Though the novel was a detailed exposé of the food industry in the early twentieth century, the meatpacking industry was arguably just a setting that Sinclair used to promote his own vision of socialist politics. Sinclair used the food industry because he believed it was an industry that touched the lives of all Americans. If people could become outraged at the process that brought meat to their tables, Sinclair assumed, their outrage would subsequently affect the working conditions of laborers. The villains of the novel are the giant meatpacking facilities, a thinly disguised version of real companies that had risen to prominence in the late nineteenth century. While much of America saw these companies, and their chief executives, as a marvel of American ingenuity and entrepreneurship, Sinclair saw the enterprise as an example of capitalism’s worst abuses.

Although his novel did lead to large government reforms of the food industry, including the Pure Food and Drugs Act of 1906, Sinclair was disappointed that the novel did not arouse more sympathy for workers.

In conclusion, I think that many of the major companies were "forced" to clean up their acts..... unwillingly.