Book Notes Chapter 4 Notes from The Jungle

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The Jungle Chapter 4

Jurgis arrives for work and is quickly trained to sweep up the guts and entrails of the slaughtered cattle, following behind the disemboweller. He makes 17 and a half cents and hour, wading through the steaming hot blood on the floor. He is grateful and even a little proud to have this job. Meanwhile, Jonas has been promised a job by one of Jokubus's contacts and Marija has already found a job at the canning factory, painting cans. Antanas is having great difficulty finding a job, as no one will hire an old man. Jurgis does not want Elzbieta, Ona or the kids working, not with such wonderful free education as is available in America.

Jurgis is already thinking of a home for his family. He has been studying a flier that a man at work showed him. It's a picture of a beautiful house with a happy family lounging on the front porch. The family makes an appointment to see one of the houses and on a Sunday, take a look at one. The house is not at all like the one on the flier. And not only that, it seems that none of the other houses are occupied. The agent is smooth, and speaks their language, but doesn't let them have a word in edgewise. The family is unsure if they should buy the house, as it will take all of their money simply to make a down payment. Jokubus warns them about the "new home" swindle common in the yards, but they decide to buy the house and Jurgis vows to "work harder" to make the house payments. Meanwhile, Jonas has found a job: pushing a truck at Durham's.

The only thing left for the family to do is to sign the paperwork, but Jurgis cannot get any time off from work in order to look over the agreement. The women, accompanied by Jokubus, go to the signing appointment instead, carrying with them all the money they have in the world. When Jokubus reads through the paperwork, he's confused. It's a rental agreement, he says, not a deed. They are wild with uncertainty and run to find a lawyer. The lawyer assures them that the paperwork is legal so, hesitantly, the women sign the papers and hand over their money. When Jurgis hears the story, he is sure they have been swindled, so consults yet another lawyer who also tells them that it all checked out. The "rent" is simply house payments.

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