Upton Sinclair quote: “I wrote with tears…



“I wrote with tears and anguish, pouring into the pages all that pain which life had meant to me. Externally the story had to do with a family of stockyard workers, but internally it was the story of my own family. Did I wish to know how the poor suffered in winter time in Chicago? I only had to recall the previous winter in the cabin, when we had only cotton blankets, and had rags on top of us. It was the same with hunger, with illness, with fear. Our little boy was down with pneumonia that winter, and nearly died, and the grief of that went into the book.”

– Upton Sinclair, about his book The Jungle.

Upton Sinclair
Upton Sinclair


Upton Sinclair was known as “a man with every gift except humor and silence.” But his book The Jungle was instrumental in improving the quality of food production in the U.S. He shed light on labor and sanitary conditions in the U.S. meatpacking industry, and as a result, the outraged public pushed legislators to pass the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act.

In another Upton Sinclair quote about the book, he said “I aimed at the public’s heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach.”

Click here to read our snapshot biography of Upton.

“Upton Sinclair quote: ‘I wrote with tears and anguish’” sources:

Portrait of Upton Sinclair taken before 1908 – Wikimedia Commons / Upton Sinclair Wikiquote / Cosmopolitan, October 1906 / American Outpost: A Book of Reminiscences (1932)