The Jungle

What is the author's message in the novel?

What is the author's message in this novel? Thanks

Asked by
Last updated by jill d #170087
Answers 1
Add Yours

Sinclair began researching the novel in 1904. He told associates that his goal was to write the Uncle Tom’s Cabin of the Labor Movement. In the same way that Beecher Stowe’s novel about the abuses of slavery catalyzed the abolitionist movement in the 1850’s, so too did Sinclair hope to create a work of art that would turn public opinion and sentiment towards the thousands of immigrants and laborers who risked their lives in the unsafe working conditions of America’s factories and manufacturing plants.

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.