The infancy of the twentieth century set a perfect stage for public outcry for reform; with no set piece more prominent than that of the meat packing industry and conditions of poor wage-earning emigrant workers. As the country swirled around in the violent whirlpool of dishonesty, corruption, and the darker sides of Capitalism, enlightenment sparked a roaring bonfire in the souls of certain men who upset the political apple cart with their new and revolutionary ideas of Socialism. One man had a profound influence on the multitudes with his revoltingly true novel that screamed and cried for social reform and managed to rise up above the din and emerge as a true American classic. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair is both a comment on and a product of its times.
Upton Sinclair's career is "best described as prolific." He had any type of writing that anyone interested in Socialism could possibly want. But he was not always one hundred percent geared toward Socialism. While he was growing up, his family was very poor because of his father's failing career in sales, resulting in his inability to support his family. This brought upon him the demon of drink which led to young Upton's abhorring of it, as is evident in the novel. Once his family moved to New York, Upton was able to attend school. He felt sure that his calling was to be a poet, but this ended once Socialism was unmasked before his eyes. From then he plunged into writing about it, doing many articles for Socialist weekly, Appeal to Reason. It was while on assignment for them that he was sent to Chicago's stockyards to spend over two months observing and writing; the final product being The Jungle. Once written, though, it was discovered that most publishers gasped and backed away from the idea of printing something so radical. Sinclair tried to publish it himself with financial contributions from fellow Socialist Jack London, and finally a publisher did agree to publish it once the novel's truth was verified.