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by Upton Sinclair
The Jungle Chapter 27 Summary
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So Jurgis is a tramp once more. He has lost all of the things that made him (briefly) a powerful guy in Packingtown. He's also used to the finer things in life now, so being a hobo is doubly awful. Jurgis tries to get another factory job, but it's hopeless: there are tons of unemployed men, former union guys and former scabs, and he just can't compete. Jurgis thinks he will starve to death. The only money he spends is on half-priced bread at the end of the day as the bakers are closing up shop. The worst thing possible happens to Jurgis: he gets a job, but he is soon fired because the boss tells Jurgis he's not strong enough. Jurgis walks off crying and plotting revenge. Jurgis snatches a cabbage from a grocer and eats half of it raw in an alleyway. Jurgis hears about this new thing opening in Chicago: a "soup kitchen." So Jurgis goes to get free soup. There is so much demand from the poor of the city that Jurgis is glad to get one serving. The soup kitchen is close to the district that Jurgis shouldn't be visiting for his own sake. Still, he's so desperate for food that he starts begging there. A woman buys him a meal at a restaurant when she hears his hard-luck story. There is a political meeting nearby being run by Senator Spareshanks, a guy whom Jurgis heard back in his Doyle Republican Association days. Hearing the Senator speak, Jurgis cannot ignore how far down he has fallen. Even though Jurgis is honestly trying to listen, he is so exhausted that he keeps falling asleep during the Senator's speech. One of the people listening to the senator brings in a cop to boot Jurgis out of the meeting. The cop pulls him out of his seat and kicks him out the door: they think Jurgis is just a bum looking for a place to sleep. Jurgis goes out again to beg. He approaches a lady on the street. He suddenly realizes that he recognizes her: Alena Jasaityte, who danced at his wedding feast in the first chapter. Alena tells Jurgis that she isn't carrying her purse so she has no money for him. Still, Alena can do Jurgis a favor. She directs Jurgis to Marija, who works nearby. The girl at Marija's door is reluctant to let Jurgis in. She seems suspicious about something. The girl tells Jurgis that there is no one named Marija at the house. The girl goes to answer another knock at the door. It's the cops! Jurgis runs up the stairs, trying to avoid the cops. A woman gestures towards the back of the house, where there is a rear staircase. But the cops are waiting there, too! There is a crowd of men and women upstairs. The men look a bit ashamed, while the women are laughing. Yes, this is a brothel, and the cops are here to arrest these prostitutes and johns. Jurgis recognizes one of the prostitutes: it is Marija. Marija is utterly surprised to see Jurgis. Jurgis explains that Alena Jasaityte told him where to find Marija. Marija goes to put on her clothes before the cops bring all of the prostitutes out of the brothel. Marija has been at this brothel for almost a year. She has been supporting the (remaining) children on her salary. Stanislovas has died. He was killed by rats. ( Seriously?) Stanislovas was hired to get beer for the workers at an oil factory. He would drink a little bit out of each can. One day, Stanislovas drank too much and fell asleep. He got locked in the factory overnight. The rats killed and ate most of him before the factory was opened again the next morning. ( Eeeeek!) Everyone else is still alive, though – Elzbieta works now and then, but most of them are relying on Marija for money. Marija hasn't seen Tamoszius Kusleika for over a year. He lost a finger to gangrene, so he couldn't play the violin any more. Then he disappeared. Jurgis tells Marija that he's been living as a hobo. Marija says she doesn't blame him for anything that has happened. None of them knew what they were getting into. Marija thinks Jurgis should just have let Ona keep on as a prostitute. Ona could have supported the whole family at the beginning. Jurgis agrees hesitantly. Jurgis is worried about being caught up in this raid. He's still wanted for skipping bail on his second assault trial. Marija tries to get one of the cops to let Jurgis go, since he's just a hobo there by accident, but the cop has orders to take everyone. Jurgis gives a false name at the police station. He sits in his cells and thinks about how awful it is that even the women of his family have fallen into such rotten practices. And poor Stanislovas, eaten! Jurgis tries not to think of the old days, nor of his regrets for what has happened to his family.
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