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Summary

The Jungle Chapter 30 Summary Page 1

  • The next morning, Jurgis goes to find Teta Elzbieta.
  • He starts talking to her about socialism.
  • Teta Elzbieta couldn't care less about whether or not socialism is right for the world.
  • All she cares about is that Jurgis's new convictions mean that he plans to stay sober and look for a job.
  • Once she figures that out, she encourages Jurgis's socialism as much as he wants.
  • Jurgis starts looking for jobs at the various hotels in the neighborhood.
  • A week later, Jurgis goes into the lobby of a hotel and approaches the owner.
  • The owner asks Jurgis if he drinks.
  • Jurgis says no, and the owner asks Jurgis if he is afraid of hard work. There's a job available for a night porter, but he'll have to do a lot of cleaning and hauling.
  • Jurgis says that's fine.
  • Jurgis tells Ostrinski he's gotten a job at a nearby hotel.
  • Ostrinski is thrilled to hear that Jurgis has been hired at Hind's Hotel.
  • Apparently, Tommy Hinds, the owner of this place, is a state organizer of the Socialist Party in Illinois.
  • The next day, Jurgis informs his employer that he is also a socialist.
  • Tommy Hinds shakes his hand.
  • Tommy Hinds calls Jurgis "Comrade Jurgis," and Jurgis calls his boss "Comrade Hinds."
  • Tommy Hinds frequently goes out to convince people to vote the socialist ticket to solve their troubles.
  • He has a history as a union organizer and populist.
  • After the 1896 election, in which Populist and Democratic candidate William Jennings Bryan lost his campaign for president, Tommy Hinds gave up on the idea of wealth in private hands.
  • Ever since then, he has been getting himself invited to every business meeting and church service in Chicago so that he can preach the value of socialism far and wide.
  • Tommy Hinds's hotel is also a big source of pro-socialist political activity.
  • His staff members are all socialists, and his chief clerk (a former farmer from Kansas named Amos Struver) has been fighting the big railroad companies his whole life.
  • His assistant clerk is Harry Adams, a smart guy from Massachusetts who moved down south to South Carolina and was horrified by the widespread illiteracy and poverty he found there. So he moved to Chicago and became a socialist.
  • Oddly, the fact that this hotel is a socialist business doesn't mean it's not profitable.
  • The hotel is inexpensive and gets plenty of out-of-towners looking for work in the stockyards who are too poor to afford lodging elsewhere.
  • Tommy Hinds works to convert all of these new guys to the cause.
  • He frequently asks Jurgis to tell them about his experiences in the stockyards.
  • Jurgis is reluctant at first, but eventually he realizes that Tommy Hinds doesn't need him to get personal – he just wants Jurgis to explain the bad business and hygiene practices at these meatpacking plants.
  • Tommy Hinds explains that it's not just the Beef Trust (the collection of all of the big meatpacking monopolies); all business in the US is dominated by just a few super-powerful companies.
  • The Standard Oil Company controls the price of oil and the Steel Trust overcharges on nails, and so on.
  • Jurgis learns everything he needs to know about socialism working for Tommy Hinds.
  • Because he has such faith in Tommy Hinds's views, Jurgis works harder and with more loyalty than he ever would have for the meatpackers.
  • Jurgis does his best to convert his acquaintances to socialism.
  • Still, he often finds himself almost getting into fights.
  • Even though the benefits of socialism seem obvious to Jurgis, a lot of working people resist.
  • They claim to prefer individualism, and resist the kind of control on their money that socialism would mean.
  • Jurgis feels that these people are forgetting that the people who really benefit from individualism and capitalism are the steel, oil, and meat magnates. It's never the working guy who profits from free enterprise.
  • Jurgis starts to read newspapers and to learn about America's history so that he can convince people to join the socialist cause.
  • At socialist meetings, Jurgis meets a range of extraordinary organizers and great people who have sacrificed so much to join the cause of the working man.
  • Jurgis becomes a regular reader of Appeal to Reason, a socialist newspaper with lots of tidbits about how the American working man suffers.
  • They begin to distribute this newspaper in Packingtown after the union lost the strike there, so that workers can take hope.
  • Jurgis also hands out Appeal to Reason in the stockyards in an effort to undo the damage he did when he was part of Mike Scully's political machine.
  • The socialists are gaining a real political foothold in Packingtown, and Mike Scully and his political machine are on the run.
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