Notes on The Jungle Themes

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The Jungle Topic Tracking: Socialism

Chapter 6

Socialism 1: Jurgis's neighbor, Grandmother Majauzskiene, tells the family about the endless cycle of immigrants who have been beaten down by the Beef Trust operating in the stockyards. She identifies herself as a Socialist and her discontent is voiced in typical Socialist thought. Jurgis has no idea what the word means, and quickly forgets about it.

Chapter 25

Socialism 2: Jurgis is recruited to work for Mike Scully, who wants to fix an election through bribery and buying votes. However, there is a threat to his uninterrupted corruption-a Socialist candidate who, Jurgis is told, cannot be bought or paid off. And, he is told by Scully's henchmen, are "enemies" of American institutions.

Socialism 3: Jurgis remember that Tamoszius, Marija's ex-fiancé, called himself a Socialist and spent his Saturdays preaching atop a soapbox on the corner.

Chapter 28

Socialism 4: Jurgis accidentally attends a Socialist party meeting and is transformed by what he hears from the speaker onstage-that the squalor and toil of Jurgis's life was not destiny but a result of capitalist greed. This idea changes Jurgis's life and when the speaker asks him if he'd like to know more about Socialism, he is eager but says he doesn't know what Socialism is.

Socialism 5: Jurgis is introduced to comrade Ostrinski, a Polish immigrant who turned to Socialism after working in the yards. Ostrinski begins to teach Jurgis about Socialism, about how the beaten-down working class is oppressed by the rich merchants of Chicago. Jurgis can feel his own sense of injustice returning. He is committed to converting everyone he meets to the Socialist cause.

Chapter 30

Socialism 6: Jurgis is hired at Hind's Hotel and discovers that his boss, Tommy Hind, is the state organizer of the Socialist Party. When Hind finds out that Jurgis is a brand new member of the Socialist Party and a former worker in the meatpacking plants, he is ecstatic. Because the hotel is a hotbed for Socialist activity, as well as a popular inn for Western cattleman, Hind encourages Jurgis to tell his stories of unsafe food handling activities in the processing rooms, and unfair labor practices.

Socialism 7: Jurgis attempts to convince his neighbors in the slums of the merits of Socialism and consistently gets in fights. It seems so obvious to him that Socialism is the answer to society's ills, but not so to other members of the working class who have long been suspicious of political parties. He becomes even more determined to spread the word and secure rights for the working man.

Chapter 31

Socialism 8: Jurgis is invited to a small get-together with an East Coast magazine editor, a philosopher and a clergyman, at a millionaire's home, for a discussion of Socialism. Nicholas Schliemann, the philosopher, speaks at length about the goals and merits of Socialism, acting as a mouthpiece for the author Upton Sinclair. His speech enthralls Jurgis and he feels that, at last, he is getting somewhere in America and that there is something to hope for.

Socialism 9: During the elections, the Socialists take over 400,000 votes in Chicago, which is a staggering increase. It adds fuel to the fire of the cause, making a statement in what used to be corrupt elections.

Socialism 10: Two Socialists are elected to the Illinois state legislature, which is an unprecedented achievement, and many said at the time, the working class speaking out with a vengeance now that they had a voice.

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