The Jungle
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“The Jungle” describes the terrible
conditions of a Lithuanian family that moved to the US, and had to work, live, and die for
the food companies in Chicago. “The Jungle” spurred a movement in the American
people to do something about the problems facing the American food supply. Because of
the growing concern about the quality of food in America the government took action to
prevent further problems. Thus the Food and Drug Act of 1906 was passed to fix the
problems. The Food and Drug Act was a true example of how the people of our nation
influenced the government to take action, to solve a growing problem effecting the
American people.
“The Jungle” talks about a couple who move to an area of Chicago, “known as
Packtown,” from Lithuania. Packtown is the center of Chicagos meat packing industry. It
is a hard, dangerous, and filthy place where it is difficult to find a job. Some relatives of
the couple and themselves get a house, but find out it is a swindle. Expenses increase and
forces the children of the family to find work like the adults. Jobs in Packtown are
back-breaking , unsafe, and have no regard for individual workers. The oldest of the
family gets a job, but it is to difficult for the old man and he quickly dies. The man of the
couple, “Jurgis,” is forced to work in an unheated packing house during the winter. Jurgis
is injured and cannot
work for three months receiving no pay. One of the children dies of
food poisoning. Jurgis joins a union and slowly begins to understand the way politics and
bribery that control Packingtown. After attacking the boss of his wife for making her
sleep with him, Jurgis is put in jail for a month. While in Jail the family has been evicted
from there home and is living in a run-down boardinghouse. When Jurgis returns home
he finds his wife in premature labor, and in the process of giving birth the child and her.
Jurgis disappears on a drinking binge. With the help of a wealthy woman who takes and
interest in the family, Jurgis finds a job at a steel mill. He is renewed in hope dedicating
himself to Antanas, “his son.” But Jurgis is distroyed when he discovers that Antanas has
drown in the mud-logged street. Jurgis then abandons the rest of the family and
disappears. After years of wondering from job to job, being injured, and being put back
in jail for a month, Jurgis wonders into a socialist political rally. The speech the orator
delivers inspires Jurgis, and he joins the socialist party. He gets a job in a socialist-run
hotel and is reunited with a member of is family. The book ends with Jurgis having lost
almost all of his family and life to the terrible conditions of life in Chicago, but gains new
beliefs in socialism. This is just a very shortened up summery of “The Jungle.” In many
parts of the book it describes the rotten and diseased meat. “The cans have shiny,
attractive surfaces but contains a mass of putrid meat unfit for Human
consumption.”(Sparknotes, Quotations) In one part of the book it talks about a man who
would be shoveling the meat into carts, and would not trouble to lift out a rat even when
he saw one. There were many things that went into the meat that made the poisoned rat
as a tidbit. Men would have no place to wash their hands before eating, and so they
washed them in the water tat was ladled into the sausage. Ends of meat, scraps of corned
beef, and all odds and ends of the waste of the plants, would be dumped into old barrels
to set until the spring. In the spring the barrels of rotten, and diseased scraps would be
dumped into the hoppers with fresh meat to be sent out to the public for sale.
(Sparknotes) Though it was not Upton Sinclairs original intentions to raise such an outcry
about the way the food was processed, it did very precisely describe the revolting
conditions during that time period.
When Upton Sinclairs book “The Jungle” reached the American public it did not
bring the movement of socialist reforms that Sinclair wished the book to bring. Instead it
brought the entire nation to its feet, when they found out just what they and there children
were eating. A single chapter in the novel brought the image of all kinds of wastes being
dumped in with the meat. It infuriated

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Lithuanian Family And Food Companies. (April 3, 2021). Retrieved from