The Jungle Essay

Submitted By Belacqual
Words: 1336
Pages: 6

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair is a story about a man who leaves his old life behind in search of greener pastures. Instead of this, Jurgis discovers a corrupt America. The Chicago Stockyards pulled immigrants from around the world, each poorer than the next. Like many before them Jurgis Rudkus, Ona Lukosniteand, Teta Elzbieta, Marija Berczynskas and their families decided to move to America. After months of hard labor, Jurgis earned enough to pay passage to Chicago. Shortly after arriving in the states, the family learned America was not as easy as they thought. Food cost twice as much as in Lithuania and people looking to steal their money were always around the corner. When they finally reached Chicago, an old acquaintance named Jokubas Szedvilas finds them a place to stay and agrees to show them around town. In need of money Jurgis goes to the stockyards. He is picked immediately by a boss who decides to hire him based on his strong stature. In a day, Jurgis is able to earn about two dollars. Marija also finds work and makes about the same. The others feel they will not need to work and stay at the boarding home to look after the children. Looking to better their situation, the family finds an inexpensive house. They make the down payment and move in. However Jurgis has been cheated again, the house is not new as advertized, but 15 years old. They also have to pay interest and other hidden fees making the house more expensive than anticipated. In need of more money, Ona and the oldest child are sent to the stockyards to work. After settling in their new house, Jurgis and Ona are married. They throw a large reception party to celebrate. The guests are expected to contribute money to pay for their share, but neglect their duty, throwing the newly weds into debt. To make matters worse winter comes bringing sickness and misfortune. Work is scarce and money even scarcer. Winter ends and spring finally comes. The family's economic situation improves slightly as the world gets warmer. Jurgis and Ona are now expecting their first child. At work, Ona's coworkers give her a hard time because she is an honest married girl and they are all prostitutes. She gives birth to a healthy boy named Antanas. Afraid she will loose her post, Ona retunes to work only a week later. This permanently damages her health. Next, Jurgis is injured on the job and cannot return to work for three months. He returns to find his place has filled. Desperate for work, Jurgis looks for employment in the fertilizer plants. He is offered a position and works everyday shoveling fertilizer. Ona is now pregnant with her second child. The family worries constantly about her because she is sick and depressed. Later Jurgis finds out his wife has been raped every day for the past two months by her boss at work. Enraged Jurgis hunts the Boss down and attacks him. Jurgis was sent to jail to wait for his trial. While in Jail he becomes friends with his cellmate, Jack Duane who claims to be a safe cracker from the east coast. Jurgis leaves the jail to go in for trial and is sentenced to thirty days of breaking rocks. Meanwhile the family is suffering greatly. Only the children have jobs while the rest of the family is forced to beg. They were evicted from their house and have moved into a tenement building. When Jurgis is released from jail he returns to find Ona delivering her second child. However the baby is premature, and the mother and baby die. Distraught Jurgis drowns his sorrows in alcohol. Coming to his senses Jurgis promises to sober up for the sake of his son. He goes to work at various jobs in the city. One day he returns home to find his son drowned in a puddle while he was at work. Fed up with life he leaves Chicago, hopping on a train and hoboing to the country. He spends the summer doing odd farm jobs and wasting money on prostitutes and