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The Jungle Symbols & Symbolism

This Study Guide consists of approximately 59 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Jungle.
This section contains 561 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)

Symbols and Symbolism

Newspapers

Jurgis learns to read after joining the union. The newspaper becomes a source of fun for the whole family when Jurgis purchases and reads it to everyone, including his baby son Antanas.

Lard

The packing houses make lard from the remnants of the cows and pigs they kill. This is then put into cans and sold to the public. Stanislovas works the machine the fills the cans.

Trimming Knife

Marija uses a trimming knife in her job as a trimmer. These knives often become slick during a day’s work. This is a dangerous situation that leads to many cuts. Marija becomes a victim of this kind of cut while Jurgis is in jail the first time.

Hundred Dollar Bill

Jurgis is given a hundred dollar bill by Freddie Jones, the son of one of the packers. When Jurgis tries to get the bill changed, it is stolen and Jurgis ends up back in jail for beating the thief.

House Deed

Jurgis and his family decide to buy a house. However, when their friend reads the deed, he sees the word rent in it a great deal. This frightens the family into believing they are not going to own the home at the end of the contract. They soon learn that this is not true. However, later they discover that there are many hidden fees in the deed that leave the family struggling financially while living in the house.

Streetcars

There are streetcars in Chicago that provide transportation to citizens for a nickel. Jurgis encourages Ona to ride the streetcars to the packing house because of the distance and the cold. But, she is too shy to ask for transfers, and the price becomes too much for their budget. Later, Jurgis finds himself caught up in the streetcar monopoly that causes him to have to pay two fares to get from Packingtown to his job at a steel mill, forcing him to stay in a boarding house in Chicago during the week.

Alcohol

Jurgis discovers the joys of alcohol while having his lunch at the many saloons in Packingtown that offer a free lunch with the purchase of a drink. Jurgis likes his drinks and might have become an alcoholic if not for his love of Ona. After Ona’s death, Jurgis again falls into the bottle, but he chooses to keep his promise to his wife.

Lard Cans

The lard cans are large, about fourteen pounds apiece. Marija’s first job at the packing house is painting these cans for sale. Marija becomes so quick at it that she can paint several cans in less than a minute.

Killing Floor

When Jurgis gets his first job in a packing house, it is working on the killing floor. Jurgis’s job is to clear the blood from the floor as others kill and drain the blood of cows moving through the room.

Pickle Room

Antanas works in the pickle room, a basement room where the meat that has been soaked in a chemical filled liquid are removed from the liquid and moved to other rooms. Antanas’s job is to clear this liquid from the floor. The chemicals in the liquid causes sores in Antanas’ feet that never heal. The moisture and cold in the room causes Antanas to begin coughing and eventually leads to his death.

This section contains 561 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
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The Jungle from BookRags. (c) 2013 BookRags, Inc. All rights reserved.
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