by Upton Sinclair
We've identified these texts as great options for text pairings based on similar themes, literary devices, topic, or writing style. Supplement your lesson with one or more of these options and challenge students to compare and contrast the texts. To assign a paired text, click on the text to go to its page and click the "Assign Text" button there.
Halsted Street Car
- Carl Sandburg
Carl Sandburg's poem "Halsted Street Car" (1916) is a critique of working conditions in Chicago. In it, Sandburg paints a powerful picture of the weary faces of the working class.Pair “Halsted Street Car” with “Excerpt from The Jungle” and ask students to compare how each author uses language and description to critique working conditions.
The Song of The Shirt
- Thomas Hood
"Song of the Shirt" (1843) by Thomas Hood is a lyrical, repetitive poem narrated from the perspective of someone in the working class.Pair "Song of the Shirt" with "The Jungle" and ask students to compare the techniques used in each text to spark social change.
The Plea for Eight Hours
- Terence Powderly
In "The Plea for Eight Hours," (1890) labor union leader Terence Powderly makes a reasoned argument in favor of reducing the work day for laborers.Pair “The Plea for Eight Hours” with "Excerpts from The Jungle" to teach students about the different political debates happening in the labor industry in the late 17th century to the early 18th century. What role do labor unions play in our economy?
The Progressive Era
- Mike Kubic
This informational text explores the Progressive Era and details the work of four influential leaders: Theodore Roosevelt, Upton Sinclair, Susan B. Anthony, and W.E.B. Du Bois.Pair “Excerpt from The Jungle” with “The Progressive Era” and ask students to discuss how the power of the press is one method for creating change. How do students think the details exposed in The Jungle created social change? Would this same method work in the other areas of progress from the Progressive Era?
Shoe Factory Horror
- The Taney County Republican
The newspaper article “Shoe Factory Horror,” printed in The Taney County Republican, discusses the chaos caused by a boiler explosion at the R. B. Grover & Cc. shoe factory.Pair “Excerpt from The Jungle” with “Shoe Factory Horror” and ask students to compare the two texts. What theory can you create about factory life at this time in American history? How do the details described by Upton Sinclair help you to better understand the possible causes of the shoe factory disaster?
The Two Brothers
- Leo Tolstoy
Two brothers disagree about how to expand the impact of their charity work.Pair “The Two Brothers” with this excerpt from “The Jungle” and ask students to think about the question of how people create social change as it is played out in each text. Further, ask them if they think social movements are more effective if they have monetary support, having read “The Two Brothers” and knowing the following background information about “The Jungle”: As a young, poor socialist, Upton Sinclair hoped to use his literary talents to draw attention to the unsanitary conditions that Americans working in the meatpacking industry endured. Instead, American readers were more horrified by his revelations about the poor quality of the meat being marketed to them; Sinclair famously noted that he “aimed at the public’s heart and by accident I hit it in the stomach.” Public outcry and unwillingness to purchase meat produced in such conditions led to reform.