The JungleUpton Sinclair

Performance Outcomes and Deliverables

Students examine the novel’s plot, characters, and themes; they study the historical context, including the work of other muckrakers. They learn about naturalism, about shifts in immigration patterns, and about Sinclair’s combination of muckraking story with socialist propaganda. They also analyze political cartoons, figurative language, and point of view. Supplementary materials include a test, answer key, list of culminating projects, and vocabulary study.

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Literary Form

American Novel

21st-Century Skills

  • Collaboration
  • Critical thinking
  • Social and cross-cultural skills


A landmark muckraking novel and scathing exposé of the exploitation of immigrant workers in Chicago’s meatpacking industry at the beginning of the twentieth century, The Jungle is an important American novel that made a difference in the nation’s history. It prompts discussion of major political issues of the early twentieth century, differences between socialism and capitalism, the shift from an agrarian to an industrial economy, and the impact of immigration. Upton Sinclair epitomizes the work of the journalists Theodore Roosevelt referred to as muckrakers. This novel is a must for American studies programs.