* AccidentalAesop: The book was intended to highlight the poor treatment of workers in packing plants, but the descriptions of what was going into the nation's food were so disgusting as to cause the passing of the Pure Food and Drug Act.
** ''"I aimed at the public's heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach."''
* {{Anvilicious}}: The book pulls no punches in its condemnation of capitalism.
* JerkassWoobie: Jurgis. He would've been a completely sympathetic character, had he not purposely beats up his wife's boss, which lands him in trouble in the first place.
* NauseaFuel: The descriptions of what was going into the nation's food. Dead rats and ''injured workers'' aren't most people's idea of savory.
** The book states that some of the stuff that went into the meat vats was so bad, it made dead rat look like a trifle in comparison.
* NightmareFuel: President TheodoreRoosevelt actually read the book and sent two guys to check up on meatpacking factories to see how much of the book was accurate. Save for the "human lard" scene, he was told that pretty much the entire thing was accurate. You can resume vomiting now.
** Little Stanislovas falls asleep in the factory, is locked in, and overnight is eaten alive by rats.
* SomeAnvilsNeedToBeDropped: The whole reason Upton Sinclair wrote this book. He meant to expose the horrors that workers had to go through because the businessmen and the capitalists had power over them and they were abusing it. However, people were more preoccupied by the fact that EW! someone's finger might have been ground up in their food!
* {{Squick}}: Goes without saying.
* WhatAnIdiot: Jurgis knew his family needed his income to survive and knew that beating up Ona's boss would land him in jail for a good long while. But he did it anyway. If he hadn't done that, he wouldn't have set off the chain of tragedies which he so bemoans later in the book.
----