The Jungle - Chapters 17-18 Summary & Analysis

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Jurgis gets a cellmate, a young man called Jack Duane. Jack is a safecracker who is in jail on a trumped up charge. Jack tells Jurgis his life story and encourages Jurgis to do the same. After a week, Jurgis is taken back to court where he is tried for his actions. Connor lies about the reason Jurgis attacked him, and the judge believes Connor over Jurgis. Jurgis is sentenced to thirty days plus costs. Jurgis is taken to Bridewell, the state prison outside of Chicago, to serve his sentence. Jurgis spends his days breaking rocks. One day Stanislovas comes to see Jurgis. Stanislovas says the family is desperate, that there is no food and no money. Ona has lost her job due to this ordeal, causing her to take to her bed and cry all day. Stanislovas has also lost his job because he was too afraid to go out in the snow to get to work. Marija has cut her hand, so she is also not working. Elzbieta is also out of work while the sausage department is shut down. Three of the kids are selling newspapers, but it is not enough to pay the house payment. They are late on the payment, and the agent is threatening to throw them out. Unfortunately, there is nothing Jurgis can do but give Stanislovas the fourteen cents in his pocket.

Jurgis is released from jail three days later than expected because he had to stay that long to pay for court costs. When Jurgis is released he gets directions back to the stockyard from a kid who sends him the wrong way and then from a farmer who sends him home. When Jurgis reaches his street, he discovers that his family has been turned out of their home, and the house has been resold. Jurgis goes to Aniele’s to find the family. He discovers that Ona has gone into premature labor. Jurgis wants to hire a midwife to care for Ona, but no one has any money. Finally, some of the neighbors and friends gathered give Jurgis all they have, one dollar and a quarter.

Jurgis spends a week in jail before he is sentenced to thirty days. This is a total of five weeks Jurgis is away from the family and unable to work. The family is in a desperate way. All the adults have lost their jobs for one reason or another, leaving them with just the spare change the children get from selling newspapers. There is no food, and they are about to lose their home. The family has gone from desperate to worse, leaving them in a position where they will more than likely find themselves homeless and starving. Jurgis is a man who always does his best to support his family, therefore it is with great difficulty that he is forced to sit back and do nothing. It is a helpless situation that the reader feels will lead Jurgis to do something beyond desperation when he finally gets out of jail.

Jurgis gets out of jail late and goes straight home. Jurgis is worried for the family, but he does not even imagine that they have been kicked out of their home until the evidence is there before him. The family has lost the house because of a lack of payment, leaving them homeless. The family is back where they started in the home of Aniele, but worse off because of the physical and emotional impact of their failure. It is a horrible time made worse by Ona’s pregnancy and her early labor. Jurgis has not stopped caring for his wife, however, and he fights to get her help even when he is told that it is hopeless. Jurgis is a good man who clearly loves his wife, but reality is not something he truly understands.

Why is Marija out of work? How common is this? How does Marija’s injury compare to Jurgis’s hurt ankle?

Why is the family about to lose their house? What will this mean for the family? What does Jurgis do about it?

Why has the family been turned out of their home? Is this legal? Why has the house been resold? Why was the family told the house was new?

Reeling, noticed, steadily, recollecting, hesitation, another, department, agony, struggle, downtown, grudge, reason, satisfaction, bandaged, cursed, grating, breathed, perplexity, premature, pocketbooks, happening, expected, counted, doctor, allowed, scarcely, promise, arguing, pieces, horrible, trembled, exclaimed, hesitating, demanded, horror, trembling, fright, scream, gasped.

This section contains 753 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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