The Jungle Quotes

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 902 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)

The occasion rested heavily upon Marija’s broad shoulders—it was her task to see that all things went in due form, and after the best home traditions; and, flying wildly hither and thither, bowling every one out of the way, and scolding and exhorting all day with her tremendous voice, Marija was too eager to see that others conformed to the proprieties to consider them herself.
-- Narrator (chapter 1 paragraph 1)

Importance: This quote describes the boisterous personality of Marija, an important character in the novel. This quote describes Marija as she celebrates at the wedding of Jurgis, the main character, and Ona.

It was not for himself that he suffered—what did a man who worked in Durham’s fertilizer mill care about anything that the world might do to him!
-- Narrator (chapter 16 paragraph 6)

Importance: This quote illustrates Jurgis's dedication to his wife and family and his desire to make the money they need no matter what it does to him.

Jurgis turned away, and then in a sudden rush the full realization of his triumph swept over him, and he gave a yell and a jump, and started off on a run.
-- Narrator (chapter 3 paragraph 15)

Importance: This is Jurgis's reaction to receiving his first job in a America, a job at a packing plant. This illustrates Jurgis's naivety as he begins his new life.

The marriage would have been at once, if they had had their way; but this would mean that they would have to do without any wedding feast, and when they suggested this they came into conflict with the old people.
-- Narrator (chapter 6 paragraph 2)

Importance: This not only shows how the older people insist on keeping with the traditions of the old country, but also how much the younger people respect them. Jurgis and Ona have wanted to get married since before they left their homeland, but they agree to wait out of respect for their elders.

Over them, relentless and savage, there cracked the lash of want; the morning after the wedding it sought them as they slept, and drove them out before daybreak to work.
-- Narrator (chapter 7 paragraph 3)

Importance: This quote describes how a desire for money and the things it can buy drives Jurgis and Ona, even the morning after their wedding.

During the early part of the winter the family had had money enough to live and a little over to pay their debts with; but when the earnings of Jurgis fell from nine or ten dollars a week to five or six, there was no longer anything to spare.
-- Narrator (chapter 10 paragraph 1)

Importance: This quote describes how Jurgis's pay changes with demand and how that impacts the family. Money is one thing the family desperately needs. Yet, no matter how hard the family works, they never seem to get ahead.

And yet, in spite of this, there would be hams found spoiled, some of them with an odor so bad that a man could hardly bear to be in the room with them. To pump into these the packers had a second and much stronger pickle which destroyed the odor—a process known to the workers as ‘giving them thirty per cent.
-- Narrator (chapter 14 paragraph 2)

Importance: This quote describes some of the processes in the packing plant, specifically the use of spoiled meat in the canning process. This is part of what shocked and outraged people at the time the novel was written.

But a big man cannot stay drunk very long on three dollars. That was Sunday morning, and Monday night Jurgis came home, sober and sick, realizing that he had spent every cent the family owned, and had not bought a single instant’s forgetfulness with it.
-- Narrator (chapter 1 paragraph 20)

Importance: This is the guilt and regret that adds to Jurgis's grief the Monday after his wife's death. Jurgis spent the weekend drinking away what little money the family had.

He was fighting for his life; he gnashed his teeth together in his desperation. He had been a fool, a fool! He had wasted his life, he had wrecked himself, with his accursed weakness; and now he was done with it—he would tear it out of him, root and branch. There would be no more tear and no more tenderness; he had had enough of them—they had sold him into slavery!
-- Narrator (chapter 22 paragraph 13)

Importance: This is Jurgis's reaction upon learning of the death of his son.

There were a million and a half of men in the country looking for work, a hundred thousand of them right in Chicago; and were the packers to let the union steward march into their places and bind them to a contract that would lose them several thousand dollars a day for a year? Not much!
-- Narrator (chapter 26 paragraph 4)

Importance: This quote shows the reaction of the packing houses to the threat of strike.

He could no longer command a job when he wanted it; he could no longer steal with impunity—he must take his chances with the common herd.
-- Narrator (chapter 27 paragraph 1)

Importance: Jurgis has just learned that he made a mistake during the strike. Now that it is over, he must once again go in search of a job like everyone else.

But he stuck by the family nevertheless, for they reminded him of his old happiness; and when things went wrong he could solace himself with a plunge into the Socialist movement.
-- Narrator (chapter 31 paragraph 5)

Importance: At the end of the novel, Jurgis has found his family again and has decided to help support them because they remind him of his wife and child. This quote illustrates Jurgis's acceptance of the life he has been given.

This section contains 902 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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