The her in the factory after everyone had

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The family knows all the dirty secrets of the meat-packing industry. The most
spoiled of meats becomes sausage. All manner of dishonesty exists in the selling
diseased, rotten, and adulterated meat to American households. The working
members of the family fall into a silent stupor due to the grinding poverty and
misery of their lives. Ona and Jurgis grow apart. Jurgis begins to drink
heavily. He delivers himself from full-blown alcoholism through force of will,
but the desire to drink always torments him. Antanas suffers all manner of
childhood illnesses, but the measles attacks him with fury. However, he reaches
his first birthday owing to his strong constitution despite the privations under
which his family suffers. He is perpetually malnourished like the rest of
Packingtown. Ona, pregnant again, develops a bad cough and suffers increasingly
frequent bouts of hysterical crying. Winter arrives again, and with it comes the
grueling rush season. Fifteen and sixteen hour workdays are frequent. Twice, Ona
does not return home at night. She explains that the snow drifts kept her away,
so she stayed with a friend. Jurgis discovers that she lied about staying with
her friend. He wrangles a confession out of her. Sobbing hysterically, Ona
confesses that, Connor, a boss at her factory continually harassed her and
pleaded with her to become his mistress. Eventually, he raped her in the factory
after everyone had gone home. He threatened to arrange the firings of every wage
earner in her household. Moreover, he threatened to prevent them from obtaining
work in Packingtown ever again. With these threats, he forced her into
accompanying him to Miss Henderson’s brothel in the evenings for the past two
months. The recent snowstorms prevented Ona from returning home twice. Jurgis
storms to Ona’s workplace. It takes more than a half dozen men subdue him before
he can choke the life out of Connor. Jurgis is arrested and taken to jail where
old men and boys, hardened criminals and petty criminals, innocent men and
guilty men share the same squalid quarters. Jurgis’s trial date is set, and his
bond is three hundred dollars. Jurgis spends the Christmas holidays in jail,
worrying about his family. While Jurgis awaits his trial, he becomes friends
with his cell mate, Jack Duane. Jack claims to be an educated man from the East.


His father committed suicide after his business failed. Jack claims that a big
company later cheated him out of a lucrative invention. After his misfortunes,
Jack became a safe-breaker. Before his trial, Jack gives Jurgis his mistress’s
address and encourages him to seek his help should the need arise. Jurgis’s
trial is a farce. Kotrina and Teta Elzbieta attend it. Connor and several
witnesses testify that Conner fired Ona fairly, and Jurgis attacked him for
revenge. Jurgis tells his side of the story through an interpreter, but the
judge is not sympathetic. He sentences Jurgis to thirty days in prison. Jurgis
begs for clemency because his family will starve, but the judge remains firm. In
Bridewell, Jurgis and the other prisoners spend the greater portion of their
time breaking stone. He writes a postcard to his family to let them know where
he is. Ten days later Stanislovas visits to tell him that he, Ona, Marija, and
Teta Elzbieta have all lost their jobs. They are unable to pay rent or buy food.


Marija is suffering blood poisoning because she cut her hand at work. Ona lies
in bed, crying all day. Teta Elzbieta’s sausage factory shut down. Stanislovas
lost his job after a snowstorm prevented him from going to work for three days.

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No one can obtain other jobs because they are too sick and weak and because
Conner is scheming to prevent them. Stanislovas asks if Jurgis can help them.


Jurgis has no more than fourteen cents to give. Kotrina, Stanislovas, and the
children earn money selling papers. Their only other income comes through
begging. Commentary Packingtown is full of predators. Connor, empowered through
his criminal connections, violates the marriage bond between Jurgis and Ona. No
individual really has the power to fight for themselves. Marija tried to fight
for her full wages only to be fired. Ona cannot afford to reject Connor’s
advances because he has the power to ruin her family. The wage laborer is
systematically crippled and silenced by the power structure enabled by
capitalism. Jurgis’s attack on Connor would be perfectly justified according to
the values of the American reading public. A man has violated his wife against
her will. However, judges are bought and sold by men with power and money, so
Jurgis spends thirty-three days in jail for his attack. Sinclair clearly means
to charge capitalism with perverting the American justice system. The judge
cares little that his ruling means the difference between starvation and
security, albeit precarious, for an entire family. Sinclair also charges
capitalism with being anti- Christian. Christianity was and still is a strong
social force in American culture. Jurgis spends the Christmas holidays separated
from his family. Moreover, his time in jail leads to their eviction from their
home. Sinclair means to portray capitalism as a threat to fundamental American
values again. The family suffers a slew of misfortunes following Jurgis’s
imprisonment. This clearly marks the family’s inevitable descent into run.


Despite all of their best efforts to provide greater opportunities to the next
generation, no sacrifice by the older one is enough. The odds are stacked too
high against them. All of the able- bodied children have to work after Jurgis’s
imprisonment. Even that provides them with barely enough income to survive.


Marija has suffered an injury that may eventually require the amputation of her
hand. Stanislovas’s hands are already damaged by frostbite. Everywhere in
Packingtown, there are wage laborers who suffer from some form of permanent
disfigurement directly and indirectly related to their work. In a sense, the
prevalence of these disfiguring injuries is a metaphor for butchery of human
bodies. Human beings are butchered in the service of profit-making as well as
the animals. Hard work, family values, self-reliance, and self- motivated action
do absolutely nothing to provide the means for social advancement. The wage
laborers that populate The Jungle are moved inevitably towards ruin and abuse by
forces beyond their control. Capitalism is a forces as inevitable and careless
as nature. It picks off unfortunate individuals as carelessly as cold weather,
disease, and heat exhaustion.

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