"The Jungle": Blood and Slavery . Meat-packaging in Chicago, U.S.A.; circa 1906... . In the year 1906, a man named Upton Sinclair wrote a piece of "muckraking" literature. "Muckraking" literature was a term form writing in the early 1900s intended to 'rake up the muck', or expose problems with the current state of social affairs and change those problems.
These people believed they could "progress" to a better societal place with such literature by encouraging reform. This is why the 1900-1920s era is sometimes called the "Progressive Era".
Anyway, one of the most famous pieces of Muckraking literature was called "The Jungle" . It describes the state of affiars in Chicago, Illinois, specifically in the meat packaging district. It follows the course of a man named Jurgis Rudkus, who works in a Meat-Packaging plant/stockyard called "Durhams" - one of the largest providers of meat in the world.
I did a series of three vignettes/bignettes on this book, to give you a taste of Jurgis's life and maybe make you thankful for the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1925, passed largely in part because of the terrible things exposed by this book: "The Jungle".
So please enjoy my first diorama from "The Jungle" - Durham's Meat Packaging Plant and Stockyard, which I have titled - Blood and Slavery.
The reason for the title "Blood and Slavery" is the workers at the plant (especially Jurgis) were treated like slaves. They were given next to nothing in pay and forced to work in sweltering 100 degree weather in the summer, and frigid -20 degree weather in the winter. All this was done in a cesspit like environment of blood and gore as thousands of cows and pigs were slaughtered daily.
Here you can see the whole bignette.
Here is the "killing-beds", or the area where Jurgis was stationed to work. Here the cows came in and were slaughtered accordingly.
The basement level, where the hogs are delivered and butchered. On the close side is Connor, the Irish boss, who watches from an elevated area so as not to get himself dirty in the ankle deep blood on the floor.
The roof and the front of the "killing-beds".
This man was known as the "Pace-Setter". His job was to kill the cows before they were strung up on the roof. He "set the pace" by working as fast as he could to make Jurgis (who worked behind him) keep up.
Here is Jurgis, sweeping the blood into a trapdoor after the cow is cut open, the blood is drained out and the guts removed. All this was shoveled into the trap door.
Here you can see where all that blood went. After it went into the trapdoor it entered into a chute and into a bin where the intestines were removed and used for sausage casings and the rest was ground up and processed into either sausage or lard. However, the mere fact that it was even used boggles the mind.
Connor, the Irish boss. He becomes a pivitol part of the story in later vignettes. Stay tuned!! :D
Another shot of the lower level. Here you can see the hogs being dragged into the rear of the building and butchered.
The "hauler", who dragged the 100 lb. hogs in every day, the butcher who chopped them up (his missing hand represents the fact that most butchers had accidentally cut their hands or fingers off in the first several years of employment), and finally the "pace-setter" who killed the cows.
And here we have the main character Jurgis with his knife to cut open the cow and broom to sweep away the guts.
The last fig is Connor, the Irish native and one of the many bosses in Durham's. However, to keep this MOCpages appropriate, I won't divulge many of this man's exploits. However, he does become a key factor in the next vignette, which you can see here.
At the end of the day, many of the problems Sinclair reveals in "The Jungle" he blames unfairly on Capitalism. He was a strong Socialist, and saw that as the answer to the rifts between the classes of boss and employee. However, the real solution was not to get more government in the mess, but rather to bring God into the picture. You see, Sinclair ignores God the whole 350 pages of the story, and so did all the characters. This was how they could justify treating each other in such horrenous ways. "The Jungle" is a great testament to the social mess we arrive at when we lose sight of God's guidelines and follow our innate sinful desires.
Hope you enjoyed!
Soli Deo Gloria