The Jungle - Chapters 23-24 Summary & Analysis

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This section contains 580 words
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Summary

Jurgis travels back to Chicago with fifteen dollars in his pocket as winter begins. Jurgis begins to look for work, first at the steel mill and then at the local industrial plants. After a month, Jurgis answers an ad in a newspaper and gets a job digging tunnels for telephones. This proves to be a good job until Jurgis is hit in the shoulder by a runaway train. He wakes up in the hospital with a broken arm. When Jurgis is released from the hospital, he is unable to work and has nowhere to go. Jurgis ends up begging on the street.

While begging on the street, Jurgis runs into the son of one of the owners of the packing houses, Mr. Jones. This young man named Freddie hears Jurgis’s story and offers to take him home. When they stop to look for a taxi, Freddie gives Jurgis a hundred dollar bill to pay, but then he has the butler pay. Freddie takes Jurgis to his private apartment and feeds him a huge feast. Afterward, Freddie falls asleep, and the butler immediately throws Jurgis out.

Analysis

Jurgis returns to Chicago because it is place he knows, a life he knows. However, work is just as hard to come by as it was before. Jurgis wades in with thousands of others who are out of work and desperate to find employment. It is a difficult time, but Jurgis is one of the lucky who is able to find work. Unfortunately, injury once again leaves Jurgis without a way to survive. This time is different. Jurgis no longer has a family to take care of, but he does not have a family to house and feed him while he heals. Jurgis is a proud man, but he finds himself without home, without money, without food. Desperation is not a big enough word to describe Jurgis’s new reality, leaving the reader wondering if he might not have been better off tramping.

Jurgis has a moment of luck when he runs into Freddie Jones. The reader sees the difference in class in this chapter when Freddie repeatedly complains about being left alone at home with only two thousand dollars to spend. Two thousand dollars would keep Jurgis in housing and food for the rest of his life. The differences between their lives is unimaginable and a lesser man might have been so filled with envy that he might have meant Freddie harm or stolen from him. Instead, Jurgis only leaves with the money Freddie gave him. Jurgis again proves to the reader what a good man he is.

Discussion Question 1

What kind of job does Jurgis get? What do they do? How is Jurgis injured? What does the injury mean for Jurgis this time?

Discussion Question 2

Why does Jurgis find himself on the streets? What happens when he runs out of money? What does this suggest for Jurgis’s future?

Discussion Question 3

Why does the butler dislike Jurgis? Why does the butler attempt to argue with Freddie about Jurgis’s presence in his home? Why does the butler want to search Jurgis before he leaves? Why does Jurgis refuse to let him? Why does the butler throw Jurgis out?

Vocabulary

Bandages, gangrene, horrible, fortunate, mutilated, detention, miniature, inferno, hideous, beastly, bloated, abandoned, progress, opium, escaped, cesspools, wretches, ramshackle, tenements, harlot, sprawling, ferocious, terrified, surrendered, passion, retreated, forgotten, reveling, champagne, honeymoon, disinherit, dueling, imagination, stagger, youngster, sympathetically, blissful, insouciance, sworn.

This section contains 580 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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