The Jungle (Study Guide)

Who is the author of The Jungle?
Upton Sinclair

What nationality is Jurgis and his family?

Who is Jurgis Rudkus?
A Lithuanian immigrant who comes to America with his wife, Ona. Jurgis is a strong, determined individual with a faith in the American Dream of self-betterment, but his health, family, and hopes are slowly destroyed by the miserable working and living conditions in Packingtown. Jurgis, who doesn’t elicit much more from the reader than pity, is an obvious instrument that Sinclair uses to express his vision of the exploitation of the worker by capitalism and his redemption by socialism.

Who is Ona Rudkus?
Teta Elzbieta’s stepdaughter and Jurgis’s wife. A kind, lovely, and optimistic girl, Ona is ruined by the forces of capitalism that work against the family, particularly after she is raped by her boss, Phil Connor.

Who is Marja Berczynskas?
Ona’s cousin, who travels to America with the rest of the family because her employer in the old country is unkind to her. Marija is a large, strong woman, capable of standing up for herself; because she first tries to fight back against the corrupt bosses, she represents a spirit of defiance among the immigrants that is slowly crushed.

Who is Tete Elzbeita Lukoszaite?
Ona’s stepmother and the mother of six others. A resilient, strong-willed old woman, Teta Elzbieta is one of the strongest and most important characters in The Jungle. Sinclair uses her to represent the redemptive power of family, home, and tradition.

Who is Grandmother Swan?
The family’s Lithuanian neighbor when they move into their house. A concerned old woman, Grandmother Majauszkiene has lived in Packingtown for many years and has seen one generation after another of immigrants ground into ruin by the merciless labor practices of the factories. She became a socialist before she even came to America.

Who is Dede Antonas?
Jurgis’s father, who travels to America with the rest of the family. A proud man, Dede Antanas is prevented by his old age from obtaining a job through normal means. He has to resort to the humiliation of paying a man a third of his wages in return for a job, whose unsanitary and unsafe working conditions destroy his health.

Who is Jokubas Szedivilas?
The failing proprietor of a delicatessen in Packingtown who knows Jonas from the old country. A kind but troubled man, Jokubas represents the harsh reality of capitalism and reveals the naïveté of Jurgis’s dreams of success.

Who is Edward Marcinkus?
Lithuanian immigrant who is also a friend of the family

Who is the Fisher?
A Chicago millionaire whose passion is helping out poor people in slums

Who is Tomoszius Kuszleika?
a fiddler who becomes Marja’s fiance, but they do not end up having the money to get married

Who is Jonas Lukoszas?
Teta Elzbieta’s brother, who first encourages the family to travel to America. After months of poverty in Packingtown, Jonas disappears, and the family never hears from him again. His absence deprives the family of a key wage earner and throws them into a greater financial crisis.

Who is Stanislovas Lukoszas?
One of Teta Elzbieta’s children, a young boy of about fourteen. Stanislovas shirks his responsibilities as a wage earner because he is terrified of frostbite. Jurgis often has to beat him to make him go to work.

Who is Mike Scully? (originally Tom Cassidy)
A corrupt, wealthy democrat in Chicago who owns the festering dump in which Juozapas and other children forage for food. Scully makes money off the housing scheme to which Jurgis’s family falls victim. He works at rigging elections, and Jurgis becomes one of his henchmen during his brief stint in the Chicago criminal underworld.

Who is Phil Connor?
Ona’s boss, who sexually harasses her at the factory where she works. A bullying, depraved man, Connor represents the moral corruption of power in Chicago as well as the complicated relationship between politics, crime, and business. He has ties to all three and, thus, has the power to destroy Jurgis’s life.

Who is Miss Henderson?
The forelady in Ona’s factory. Cruel and bitter, Miss Henderson is the jilted mistress of one of the factory superintendents. She also runs a brothel and arranges to get jobs for some of the prostitutes who work for her. She hates Ona because Ona is a “decent married girl,” and she and her toadies try to make Ona as miserable as possible.

Who is Antanas Rodkus?
Ona and Jurgis’s son. Antanas is a strong, sturdy little boy, but he drowns in the mud in the street while Jurgis is at work. The death of Antanas signals the death of hope in Jurgis’s life.

Who is Vilimas and Nikalojus?
Elzbieta’s second and third sons

Who is Kristoforas?
Elzbeita’s crippled son

Who is Juozapas?
another cripples son of Elzbieta

Who is Kotrina?
One of Teta Elzbieta’s children, who is forced to care for the children and do household chores. When Jurgis is sent to prison, Kotrina has to go to work selling newspapers on the streets with her able-bodied brothers.

Who is Judge Pat Callahan?
A crooked judge who sentences Jurgis a long time in prison (1 month) for attacking Phil Connor

Who is Jack Duane?
A polished, charismatic criminal whom Jurgis meets during his first prison term. Jack later introduces Jurgis to Chicago’s criminal underworld, where money comes easily to Jurgis for the first time in America.

Who is Madame Haupt?
a midwife hired by Jurgis to help Ona

Who is Freddie Jones?
a son of a wealthy beef baron who gives Jurgis a 100$ bill when he is begging on the streets

Who is Buck Halloran?
an Irish “political worker” who oversees vote-buying operations

Who is Bush Harper?
a man who works for Mike Scully as a union spy

Who is Ostrinski?
A Polish immigrant who speaks Lithuanian. After Jurgis hears a rousing speech at a socialist political meeting, Ostrinski is assigned the task of teaching Jurgis about socialism.

Who is Tommy Hinds?
The proprietor of a small Chicago hotel and a well-known proponent of socialism. Jurgis obtains a job as Hinds’s porter not long after his conversion to socialism.

Who is Mr. Lucas?
a socialist pastor and itinerant preacher

Who is Nicholas Schliemann?
A spokesperson for socialism. Nicholas gives a long explanation of socialist philosophy to a magazine editor who has written against socialism in the past. He functions as a mouthpiece for Sinclair’s own political philosophy.

Who is Durham?
A businessman and Jurgis’

What are the metaphors of human destiny?
Jurgis and his family do not realize that they are “the hogs” and they are destined to be them due to the corruption in the system cause by large corperations and poilitcal machines

Who rises in Packingtown?
The snitches, those who do not work hard but are affiliated with corruption.

What are Jurgis’ initial feelings towards Packingtown, and how does it change throughout the novel?
He initially is excited with what it has to offer and what he can make of him self only to learn that it is full of corruption and he in turn is actually “the hog” to the corperation

How do the inspectors fail at their jobs? Why?

How are Jurgis and his family tricked when it comes to purchasing their home?
They buy the home and then added costs come with it that were not discussed prior (interest, etc.)

How is the concept of grafting seen in this novel?
When DeDe Antonas gets his job, he has to give away 1/3 of his wages to the man who hired him.

How is the food contaminated in the novel? (examples)
Dead people found in the meat, sick animals, contaminated/unsafe meat is processed.

How do the saloon and liquor stores take advantage of employees?
Workers have to buy a drink every time they get payed, and whenever someone buys you a drink you must repay them, and it turns into a cycle.

What is “broken time” and how does it put the employees at a disadvantage?

Why does Jurgis struggle to get work after he can’t do his initial job anymore?

Where does Jurgis find work and why is it considered a shameful job?
He finds work at the fertilizer plant and this is considered a shameful job because it is where the lowest of the low work, and they are dealing with waste…ew

What is meant by the packers…”…calling upon their chemistry department…”?

Why does Ona not come home one night? What has been going on?
She has been sleeping with her boss because he is blackmailing her. If she does not sleep with him he will make sure that no one in her family will have a job, especially her.

What happens to the family when Jurgis is thrown in jail the first time?
They loose their home and are forced to live in the boarding home (where they stayed when first coming to america) and Ona has a premature birth that kills both her and the child

How is Stanislovas killed?
He is eaten by a lot of rats…dang

What is Jurgis’ political affiliation at the end of the novel?
He becomes a socialist and believes that the wealth should become more spread out (explained a little in the character section)

What is Marja’s job at the end of the novel? why is she happy about it?
She becomes a prostitute, but it provides a stable income to allow her to pay and provide for the family

What are some examples of corruption and dishonesty revealed in the novel?

Look at pages 326-327 and how and why he is “the hog” and look at Marja and Jurgis’ conversation at the whorehouse
Just do it 😉 lol don’t fail