The Jungle - Study Guide Chapters 13-14 Summary & Analysis

This Study Guide consists of approximately 44 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Jungle.
This section contains 571 words
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Summary

Elzbieta’s youngest child dies of an apparent bout of food poisoning by eating sausages made in the local packing houses. Elzbieta is beyond herself with grief and insists that he have a proper burial even though there is not enough money for it. Elzbieta earns the money by begging the neighbors for help. Jurgis continues to search for work. Finally, he finds himself forced to apply at the fertilizer plant, the one place most men would rather starve than work at. The smell is so bad that no one wants to be near it. The stench is impossible to wash it off. The summer slowly passes. Elzbieta is forced to get a job as well.

As Elzbieta works in the sausage factory, she learns of the spoiled meat, trash, and rats that are used to make it. This job makes Elzbieta begin to lose her concern for humanity and her own life. Elzbieta learns to accept life for what it is. The whole family has become beaten, no longer passionate about anything. At this same time, Jurgis develops something of a problem with alcohol. The thought of Ona keeps Jurgis from becoming a complete drunk.

Baby Antanas is sickly during his first year of life, suffering all the normal ailments of babyhood. Ona, too, is becoming sicker each day. Ona has developed the same cough that eventually killed the elder Antanas. At the same time, Ona is pregnant again, and this is taking a toll on her health.

Analysis

Jurgis proves his determination to provide for his family when he takes a job no one else wants. It is a difficult job, but Jurgis is desperate, and he is not afraid of hard work. This shows the reader how far the family has fallen and how determined Jurgis remains. Despite Jurgis’s new job, the family still struggles. It's necessary for Elzbieta to get a job, leaving a twelve year old child home to care for the smaller children.

The author tells the reader more about the atrocities that go on in the packing house by describing the spoiled meat that is used to make sausage. The reader can imagine that in the year this novel was published, these stories must have been received with a great outcry.

The health of the members of Jurgis’s family is beginning to suffer, especially Ona who is not only ill quite frequently, but also expecting a second child. It is a difficult time, and few in the family are happy, let alone optimistic about the future. The tone of the novel has shifted quite a bit from the initial chapters, leaving the reader despairing for their survival.

Discussion Question 1

How does Elzbieta’s son die? Why does Jurgis refuse a funeral for the child? How does Elzbieta earn the money for the funeral? What does this say about her desperation?

Discussion Question 2

Why does Jurgis take a job in the fertilizer plant? Why is this place considered worse than starving? Is it? Does it help the family?

Discussion Question 3

Why does Jurgis feel the desire to drink? What perpetuates this desire? For what reason? How does Jurgis resist it?

Vocabulary

Arranged, sausage, graven, menagerie, instead, miraculously, incredible, appearance, adulterated, nozzle, latter, spout, provided, entire, presumably, sickening, department, reeling, sickening, unseen, wounded, helpless, hysterical, persuaded, argue, allowed, unbearable, together, explain, pregnant, unthinkable, contemplate, dreadful, serious, nervousness, cough, developing, moaning, weeping.

This section contains 571 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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