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