The Jungle Research Paper
This is a review on select meat packing issues raised in The Jungle regarding organized crime, government action/inaction, food and worker safety, and reform in the early 1900s.
Packingtown is “a section of southwest Chicago,” comprised of “stockyards, slaughter-houses, factories, and cramped and filthy living quarters” (Sinclair, 1906/2002, p. vii). The Jungle was written to expose the unsafe and unfair treatment of Packingtown’s factory workers. But, instead of aiming “at the public’s heart,” the author accidentally “hit it in the stomach” (Id. at pp. 9, 351), as partially shown in the excerpts below.
The Jungle describes many horrific accounts of needless worker injuries and deaths. For example, in the cooking rooms, the floors were so slippery from animal blood and other filth that workers often fell into the hot vats and were boiled alive (Id. at p. 97). A little 15-year-old worker was mistakenly locked up in a factory overnight and eaten alive by rats (Id. at p. 275).
Packingtown was not comprised of several “firms,” but only “one great firm, The Beef Trust” (Id. at p. 108). The Beef Trust was as an organized crime ring comprised of the Packingtown meat packers, which involved bribery, …show more content…
at p. 365). The Trust “owns or controls and dominates every” major slaughterhouse, “steam and electric railroads,” “the entire trolley-car service in several cities,” “factories, shops, stockyards, mills, land and land companies, plants, warehouses, politicians, legislators, and Congressmen” (Id. at p. 366). The Trust’s power and control is evident in The Jungle, which offers many accounts of government corruption involving inspectors, policemen, lawyers, judges, and the