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What was Upton Sinclair’s purpose for writing the book?

Read the book and write an analysis of 3-5 pages (double spaced, Times New Roman 12 point font, 1 inch margins). Your analysis should be written in essay format with an introduction, several body paragraphs, and a conclusion. You should have a separate title page that includes the title of your essay, your name, date, and course. The title page does not count as one of the required pages for your essay. Use Chicago style for citation when necessary. Within your essay you must have a thesis statement and answer the questions below. The questions are intentionally broad to give you the freedom to include whatever examples you choose from the book. You do not have to answer these questions in order, and your analysis should not be written as a set of short answers to each question. The entire essay should be one cohesive piece that has a logical flow from beginning to end. The questions are intended to help guide you. Remember this is not a book report or summary. We are reading The Jungle as a primary source document and while the story is interesting, for the purposes of this class the most important thing you need to consider is the historical significance of the book. Your essay will be graded on the following criteria: 40% facts, 40% analysis, 20% organization. Ten points will be deducted from essays that do not have a thesis statement.

1. Explain the significance of The Jungle within the context of early 20th century progressivism. What was Upton Sinclair’s purpose for writing the book? And how did his novel reflect and/or influence the various activities of other progressives?

2. Outline the history of early 20th century progressivism. What were the various problems in society and how did people propose to address those problems? Provide specific examples from the book to explain the various forms of corruption in U.S. cities and the impact on working people.

3. What did you think of the book? Explain what you learned from this reading and what stood out as the most important (or interesting) theme of the story. What parallels do you see in today’s society for workers, immigrants, and food quality?


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