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Upton Sinclair's The Jungle: Muckraking Un-Raked

             During the late 1800s and early 1900s American journalists began to use new styles and techniques in their writing. Considering explotation, abuse, corruption and misconduct in business and politics, these journalists created a form of writing to expose certain deviations. Most literature of this kind was fictitious but still based upon fact. President Theodore Roosevelt coined this style of journalism ''muckraking'', therefore leaving the authors known as ''muckrakers''. Roosevelt chose this name because the writers had such a gift for digging up corruption or dirt on the deviators.
             Upton Sinclair, a journalist from California, pioneered mucraking in his journalism. He was interested in social reform and industrial reform, and expressed it through his writings. The Jungle, published in 1906, was one of Sinclair's most popular novels and a perfect example of muckraking. Sinclair's novel took place in the stockyards of Chicago in the early 1900s. He wrote the story using a Lithuanian protagonist who was introduced to the corruption and dirt of the businesses of the capitalist society first hand.
             Sinclair put his main character, Jurgis, in a very difficult position upon immigrating to America. Jurgis was able to obtain a job working for a dishonest, coprrupt, capitalistic meat-packing industry. Other members of Jurgis' family were employed with other corrupt businesses as well. They all were treated poorly, meagerly paid, and forced to operate in unhealthy conditions. Sinclair exposed corruption in a variety of businesses in The Jungle, however his main focus was Chicago's meat-packing industry.
             Diseased meat, unsanitary working conditions and death were some of the awful conditions described by Sinclair. Death was a major issue in the novel. The deaths in The Jungle shed light on the theme that capitalist societies will do whatever it takes to get what they desire, sacrificing weak lives in the way.

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