Upton Sinclair wrote one of the most influential works of literature in the history of the United States of America. His novel The Jungle was catalytic in the passage of the Food and Drug Act. Indeed, the act passed into law only four months after the book was published. Sinclair was pushed into the spotlight as a national figure for his work.
The book detailed the lives of immigrants in America, many of whom worked in the meat processing industry; at the time, a horrifyingly disgusting and dangerous workplace environment. Sinclair wrote the book as an intended expose on the plight of the poor and immigrant in our country, and the exploitive way the rich were treating them. The American public responded to Sinclair's book with great uproar, but not in the way Sinclair had hoped…
He is quoted as saying, "I aimed at the public's heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach."
One of the most gruesome episodes in the novel, (a worker falling into a lard-rendering vat, instantly dead, and unable to be removed), served not, as one might think, to provoke changes in worker safety, but to protect the purity of American lard by the immediate passage of federal legislation.