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The Jungle

The Jungle

by Upton Sinclair

The Jungle Chapter 27 Summary

  • 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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