The Jungle

Muckrakers: Differing Styles in Upton Sinclair and Eric Schlosser 11th Grade

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair and Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser are two extremely different books about the same topic: the American food industry. Paired excerpts explore the behind-the-scenes work that goes into processed food and how the industries mislead or deceive the public. However, the authors' presentations of the industry and messages are so different from one another as to make them unrelated on all levels except for the topic.

Sinclair, a 19th century journalist for a social newspaper, was examining working conditions in Chicago stockyards when he was inspired to write his book. Under the disguise of fiction, he reveals the various disturbing means used by the Chicago meat-packing industry to create canned foods. Bringing up every element of a can of deviled ham from beef tripe to cow gullets, Sinclair spares no nauseating detail in strangely matter-of-fact descriptions like, “It was a nasty job killing these, for when you plunged your knife into them they would burst and splash foul-smelling stuff into your face; and when a man's sleeves were smeared in blood, and his hands steeped in it, how was he ever to wipe his face, or to clear his eyes so that he could see?” (Sinclair 352). These repulsive details are...

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