The Jungle - Chapters 21-22 Summary & Analysis

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This section contains 693 words
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Jurgis desperately begins looking for another job, but all the other workers from the manufacturing plant are also looking, making the search impossible. At the same time, one of Elzbieta’s youngest children begins searching in the dumps for food, often bringing home large piles of discarded food from the city. One day a charity worker sees him and asks to visit his home. When she does, Elzbieta tells her their story. The woman is so touched that she gives Elzbieta a letter that will help Jurgis get a job at a steel mill. Jurgis gets a job as a rail mover. The place is so far from Packingtown that Jurgis begins staying at a place near the mill. He only goes to Aliene’s on Sundays. Jurgis enjoys his visits with young Antanas who has begun to talk. They often share the Sunday paper together with Jurgis reading the funny pages to the toddler. Then one day Jurgis comes home and learns that Antanas has died.

After seeing his son’s dead body, Jurgis leaves the house and just walks. After a while, Jurgis jumps a train. Jurgis rides out into the country and begins to walk. When he is hungry, Jurgis buys food from farms he is passing. When Jurgis runs out of money, he begins joining up with groups of hobos and learns from them how to get what he needs. Jurgis eats fruits and vegetables growing wild in the country or steals from local farms. He does work at harvest time and begins to earn money. Jurgis often spends his money quickly on drink and women, afraid that if he kept his money it would be stolen. Jurgis’ happiness as a hobo is only dampened by his memories of Ona and Antanas.


Jurgis is desperate to find a way to make an honest living for his family, but there are so many other men trying to do the same thing that he cannot find anything. It is the generosity of a charity worker that finally gets Jurgis the chance he needs for a good job. This is the fourth job Jurgis has had since coming to America and one of the least unpleasant. However, this job has its own dangers as Jurgis learns when he burns his hands trying to help a couple of injured men. This situation not only proves the dangers of the work, but it also shows that Jurgis continues to have a sense of morality and a desire to help people in need. Unfortunately, this job only pays for his family to survive. It does not protect it from other dangers.

Jurgis is so hurt by the death of his son that he goes on the road, abandoning his remaining family and his job at the steel mill. Jurgis spends the summer tramping around the country, learning how to live off the land and the kindness of strangers. It is a better life, and Jurgis finds his health coming back to him. However, his conscience bothers him, showing the reader that Jurgis continues to be a man of great moral character who knows what he had and what he has lost. The memory of his losses make him want to lose himself in drink. However, the memory of the love and happiness he had with his wife and son and the promises he once made to Ona keep him sober.

Discussion Question 1

Why does Elzbieta’s son begin searching for food in the dumps? Why can the family not afford to buy enough food for the children?

Discussion Question 2

Why does Jurgis leave Chicago? What about his job? What does this tell the reader about the depth of his despair in losing his son?

Discussion Question 3

Why does Jurgis begin hooking up with other hoboes? What do these others teach Jurgis? What does he do with the knowledge?


Answered, drowned, seized, exclaimed, excited, decency, kindness, learned, trimmer, glee, damning, impossible, pictures, comical, delight, pronunciation, prattling, irresistible, fashion, outlandish, writhing, suffocating, vileness, amazement, gathered, heaped, accents, quaintest, motionless, perfectly, explanation, believed, sentence, explained, ignorant, climate, exchanged, afterward.

This section contains 693 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
The Jungle from BookRags. (c)2017 BookRags, Inc. All rights reserved.
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