The Jungle - Study Guide Chapters 3-4 Summary & Analysis

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This section contains 713 words
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Summary

Jakobus, the delicatessen owner, takes the Rudkus family on a tour of the packing houses. They see many interesting things which are mild compared to the things the packing houses hide from visitors. The visit makes the men excited about getting jobs at the packing houses, though Jurgis is determined that Ona and Elzbieta will not work. Jurgis goes in search of a job the next day and is hired almost immediately.

Jurgis begins working the next day on the killing beds. It is his job to sweep the debris from the killing of cows into vents in the floor. Jurgis is impressed with the amount of money he will be making each day. When Jurgis arrives home, he learns that Jonas might have a job. Marija and Anatanis are also looking for work, but have had no luck thus far. As they have had so much good luck, they begin to think about a more permanent home. They have found a brochure for the purchase of a new home. The payments on the home would be less than monthly rent and would provide them with something they would one day own as opposed to rent going nowhere. After doing some calculations, they decide they could afford to buy one of these houses.

Shortly after deciding to buy a house, Marija gets work painting cans. Then, Jonas starts working in another of the packing houses. The family goes to see the house and decides that it is perfect for them, but they hesitate to show the agent their enthusiasm out of fear of being cheated. However, that night they decide to go forward with the purchase. Elzbieta, Ona, and Jakobus go to sign the deed. Jakobus looks at the deed, and he is frightened by the word 'rent' that used repeatedly throughout the deed. For this reason, they get a lawyer to look it over. When the lawyer tells them everything is fine, they sign it. Later, they regret having done so. When Jurgis returns home and hears the story, he rushes out to have another lawyer review the deed. Again he is assured that the deed is to purchase the house.

Analysis

Jakobus gives the Rudkus’s a tour of the packing houses, and they see the many interesting things that go on inside. The packing houses use every part of the animals they butcher, mostly cows and pigs. This includes the meat, the skin, the hoofs, and the innards. The family is quite impressed by what they see, but there are many things they do not see. It never occurs to any of them to question what they see and do not understand, or what they do not see. Jurgis,and the other men in the family are excited to begin working in the packing houses.

Jurgis gets a job right away and makes more money than he could ever imagine when he lived in Lithuania. For this reason, the family is even more optimistic about their future. They decide to buy a house with the money they have left from their travels. It is a nerve wracking experience and they are extremely cautious, but in the end they make the purchase because they believe it is what is best for their family. The reader, however, can see in their extreme caution that there could be problems with this purchase in the future. At this time, though, the family is doing well and their American dream appears to be coming true.

Discussion Question 1

Why does Jakobus take the family on a tour of the packing houses? What kinds of things do they see?

Discussion Question 2

Why is Marija looking for work? Why does Jurgis not want Ona and Elzbieta to work? What is the difference between these women in Jurgis’s mind?

Discussion Question 3

Why does the family decide to buy a house? What are some of the advantages of owning a house over renting? Why is the family so cautious about this purchase?

Vocabulary

Imprisonment, employee, sunshine, establishment, protection, welfare, responsible, ignorant, nature, profanity, stupendous, mortal, devised, generation, aggregation, supported, directly, indirectly, products, fertilizer, gathered, galleries, rushed, murder, excitement, cruel, payments, explained, translate, variations, covered, consult, companion, striving, lawyer, swindled, recollection, debate, precious, trembling, depended, bargain, reject.

This section contains 713 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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