The Jungle - Study Guide Chapters 29-31 Summary & Analysis

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Summary

Jurgis is so impressed that he goes backstage to speak to the orator. Instead of speaking to the man, who is too exhausted to speak, Jurgis is referred to a man who speaks his own language. The man, Ostrinski, takes Jurgis home with him and they spend most of the night talking about Socialism. Jurgis is inspired.

This gives him the strength to return to Elzbieta and tell her about it. Elzbieta cares little about politics, but is willing to join the party if it makes Jurgis happy. A few days later, Jurgis walks into a hotel to finda job and is given a job a porter. When Jurgis tell Ostrinski about this, he learns his new boss is a Socialist. The boss learns Jurgis’s story and begins using it to illustrate his socialist teachings to out of town visitors.

Jurgis throws himself into the Socialists movement, learning all he can about it and doing what he can to promote it. Jurgis makes many friends in the movement. Jurgis even goes out to Packingtown to help promote Socialism and is impressed by the changes made there since the end of the strike.

Shortly after getting his job at the hotel, Jurgis goes to Marija and tells her to quit working as a prostitute. Marija refuses, claiming that so many men have seen her in this place that she will not be able to go anywhere without someone learning the truth about her past. Besides, Marija is happy with her position and the money she is making. Jurgis tells her that he will no longer allow Elzbieta to take her money.

Jurgis is invited to dinner with a new friend where there is a discussion of Socialism. The orator speaks about what is wrong with society and how he could make it better. Later, there is an election, and the Socialists win big. This will enable them to make a lot of change for the working man.

Analysis

Jurgis learns all about socialism and he realizes that it is a political party that understands the working man and can do all the things he longed for the unions to do when he first working in Packingtown. It is inspiring for Jurgis and gives him hope for the future of the country as well as for him and his family.

Jurgis returns to Elzbieta and vows to take care of her and her remaining children with his newfound hope in the Socialist party. This seems to be fulfilled when Jurgis gets a job as a porter at a hotel and discovers his new boss is also a Socialist. It does seem that by embracing this new political party, Jurgis had found a new life that will lead to a more consistent prosperity for him and his family. Jurgis is fully committed, even returning to Packingtown one last time to help spread the word. Jurgis is happy for the changes made after the strike ended despite his part in breaking the strike. Jurgis has found the light, like a man who finds religion in prison, and he plans to spread the word as fast and as far as he can.

Jurgis tries to get Marija to quit working as a prostitute, but she feels that she has no chance doing anything else without people learning of her private shame. For this reason, she chooses to remain, deciding this will be her life till she dies. It is a sad life Marija has lived and will continue to live, but circumstances made her feel she had no choice and continues to have no choice. This is what Jurgis is trying to change with Socialism.

The novel ends with the success of Socialism in local and national elections. Jurgis and his friends see this as an opportunity to make big changes and create the kind of country that Jurgis had thought he was coming to when he left Lithuania. It is a new start that gives people like Jurgis hope, the best most people could as for in the life that Jurgis, Marija, Ona, and the others were forced to live.

Discussion Question 1

Why does Jurgis want to learn more about Socialism? Why does Jurgis relate to this political party? What does Jurgis learn about Socialism? Why does this new information only make Jurgis more excited? What does Jurgis think of Socialism?

Discussion Question 2

What does Jurgis find different in Packingtown after the end of the strike? What things could continue to be changed for the better? How does Jurgis believe Socialism can help?

Discussion Question 3

Why is there such a shift in the votes for the Socialist party at the end of the novel? What does this suggest about the sentiments of the country? What does it mean for people like Jurgis?

Vocabulary

Possession, interests, encroachments, prepare, enormous, tribute, government, capitalism, commerce, branch, civilization, socialist, ruthlessness, packers, congratulating, acquaintance, public, considered, incarnation, insensate, marvelous, difference, literally, campaign, pitchfork, advertised, alderman, entered, industrial, distributed, associations, edition, armfuls, appeal, broadside, campaign, manifesto, addressed, district, sympathy, millionaire, invitation, adventure, perpetual, realm, commonplace, uninteresting, movement, terrified, perspiration, embarrassment, dimly, dismay, agony.

This section contains 857 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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