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The Jungle

The Jungle


by Upton Sinclair

The Jungle Chapter 28 Summary

READ THE BOOK: Chapter 28
  • Jurgis is released without a fine.
  • The judge is distracted and doesn't really care about his whole story that he was looking for his sister.
  • So, Jurgis waits outside for Marija and they walk back to her brothel together
  • In the sunlight, Jurgis sees that Marija doesn't look well.
  • Apparently, Marija has started using morphine.
  • Marija needs the drugs to keep working at this place.
  • She cannot imagine what other job she would do, now. She's also not saving any money.
  • Still, Marija does manage to give $15 to Elzbieta every week, so the kids can go to school. (The only children of Elzbieta's that are still alive must be Kotrina, Vilimas, Nikolajus, and Juozapas – four out of six.)
  • Many of the girls at the brothel start working there against their will.
  • Marija tells a horrible story of a French woman who was put in a room alone, giving drugs, and then raped while she was passed out. That's how she became a prostitute.
  • One of the other girls brought in with this woman jumped out of a window recently.
  • There's a huge profit to be made by bringing girls in for sexual slavery at these brothels.
  • Marija's brothel has women from nine different countries, many of them initially tricked into the business.
  • Jurgis claims some women say they like being prostitutes.
  • Marija asks how that can be possible: who would genuinely like to have no say at all in who they have sex with? All the prostitutes she knows didn't want to do it when they started.
  • Marija gives Jurgis lunch.
  • After lunch, a customer comes for Marija. Jurgis has to go.
  • Jurgis asks Marija for some money, and Marija gives him a quarter.
  • Jurgis wants to get a job before he goes back to see Teta Elzbieta, but Marija says not to worry about it – they'll be glad to see Jurgis.
  • Jurgis spends the day looking for work.
  • Eventually, he finds himself outside another political meeting. It's free, so he goes inside.
  • A man comes onto the podium, and the whole audience cheers loudly for him.
  • Jurgis thinks this is all pointless. He knows what goes on behind the scenes in politics.
  • Jurgis keeps thinking about what he should do about Marija and Teta Elzbieta. He finally decides he'll just go see Teta Elzbieta the next morning, even if he doesn't have a job.
  • Jurgis starts to drowse off again.
  • Someone wakes him, and Jurgis realizes he has been snoring.
  • He thinks he's going to be booted out of the meeting again.
  • The woman sitting next to Jurgis calls him "Comrade," and suggests that he listen to the speech.
  • Jurgis is so surprised that a lady would call him comrade that he starts to pay attention to the speaker.
  • The speaker pleads with the working man: he knows what the working life is like; he knows how hard it is to have no food and to walk the streets.
  • This speaker is bringing a message of salvation: we can be free from our self-created slavery.
  • Everywhere in the world, there is war and conflict. What are these conflicts based on? Greed.
  • All of this pain is absolutely systematic; it is the result of world economic structures that demand that some people be kept poor and miserable while others become rich.
  • The whole world is at the mercy of these few rich men, who keep the rest of us as slaves.
  • To change this system of inequality and exploitation, working people need to make their voices heard.
  • How can that happen? By joining the (socialist) movement and rising up against the Powers That Be.
  • Jurgis hears this speaker's words and suddenly feels overwhelmed.
  • He remembers all of his oppression since coming to Chicago.
  • He is ashamed that he submitted to this bad treatment.
  • Jurgis suddenly feels as though his soul is waking up again after years of despair and degradation.
READ THE BOOK: Chapter 28

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