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Character Roles (Protagonist, Antagonist...)
Vilimas and Nikolajus Lukoszaite
Judge Pat Callahan
Madame Haupt Hebamme
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The Jungle Characters
Meet the Cast
Cardboard CharacterThe Jungle is Serious Biznez. It has Important Ideas to get across, and it has doesn't really have time to entertain you. The adventures of the Family Rudkus are like chocolate c...
Back in Lithuania at the beginning of The Jungle, Ona is around fourteen when Jurgis first meets and falls in love with her. He asks Ona's father for her hand in marriage, but, as she is so young a...
Marija Berczynskas is Ona's cousin. She is much, much tougher than Ona. In fact, she joins the party leaving Lithuania and going to America because she beat the tar out of her former employer, a gu...
Teta Elzbieta is Ona's stepmother. ("Teta" means aunt in Lithuanian, so her name is like Auntie Elzbieta in English.) Teta Elzbieta has six children of her own: Stanislovas, Kotrina, Vilimas, Nikol...
Stanislovas is, hands down, the character with the worst death in this whole book. We'll get to that in a minute, but first, let's talk about his character development. Stanislovas is Teta Elzbiet...
Kotrina is Teta Elzbieta's only daughter and Ona's half-sister. When Teta Elzbieta is forced to go out into the working world, it becomes Kotrina's responsibility to look after their home. She is o...
Vilimas and Nikolajus Lukoszaite
Vilimas is Teta Elzbieta's second oldest son; Nikolajus is third in line. Like Stanislovas, they go to public school until the family can't afford to live without their potential wages anymore. Aft...
Juozapas is Teta Elzbieta's second youngest child, and the youngest child after Kristoforas passes away in Chapter 13. We don't really know much about this kid except that, like Kristoforas, he has...
Kristoforas is Teta Elzbieta's youngest child. He is about three years old when he dies from a sudden sickness that he catches from the drafts of their awful little house. Upton Sinclair's descript...
Jonas is Teta Elzbieta's brother. He is also the one who first brings the whole idea of "America" into the family's discussions back in Lithuania. He has an old buddy, Jokubas Szedvilas, who (Jonas...
Antanas Rudkus is Jurgis's grandfather. He is incredibly eager to work, but he is elderly and not very strong. Antanas becomes the first casualty to the family's new American life. He has a great d...
Ona's first child is a big, healthy boy called Antanas. To distinguish him from Jurgis's grandfather, we have taken to calling him Baby Antanas. Jurgis loves his son deeply even though he hardly ev...
Harry Adams is Tommy Hinds's assistant clerk. He is originally from Massachusetts, but as a child, his family relocated to South Carolina. Harry Adams saw the poverty and widespread illiteracy of t...
Judge Pat Callahan
Judge Pat Callahan sentences Jurgis to thirty days in jail plus costs for beating the crap out of Connor and biting his cheek. Even though Jurgis tries to protest that Connor raped his wife, Callah...
Phil Connor is the boss of a loading crew at the meatpacking factory where Ona works. He is also a sadist and a rapist. He forces Ona to have sex with him and then intimidates her into keeping sile...
Before things start to go south for Jurgis's family personally, they hear some ominous stories of other people's terrible experiences in the stockyards. Mary Dennis had Marija's job at the canning...
We never actually meet this guy, but it's worth remembering his name: this is the Republican candidate who Mike Scully secretly arranges to win a city council election this year in exchange for Mik...
Jack Duane is the first educated man Jurgis has ever met personally. The two guys meet in jail twice: first, when Jurgis assaults Connor, and second, when Jurgis gets ten days for beating up a bart...
Tommy Finnegan is a crazy guy who approaches Jurgis at Jurgis's first union meeting. Jurgis is a bit shy at this meeting (what with not really speaking English so well yet), and Tommy's wild, rapid...
Fisher is a Chicago millionaire who has dedicated his life to working with poor immigrants in the slums. It is at his house, accompanied by Harry Adams, that Jurgis finally gets to meet socialist v...
"Buck" Halloran introduces Jurgis to Goldberger. Goldberger gives Jurgis and Jack Duane some tips for who they should mug next. He also shares some inside information on horse racing in New Orleans...
"Buck" is one of the guys working for Mike Scully; he gives Jurgis some gigs as a courier in the vote-buying business.
Hamilton is the Jones family butler. He has been paid by Mr. Jones to watch out for alcoholic Freddie while Mr. Jones is in Europe on business. When Freddie Jones brings Jurgis back to their mansio...
Mr. Harmon is a head manager at Durham's meatpacking plant. Even though Jurgis has been blacklisted from working at these plants after attacking Connor, when Jurgis hands Mr. Harmon a note from Mik...
"Bush" Harper is Mike Scully's second-in-command at the stockyards. He is key to organizing Mike Scully's elections. "Bush" Harper is the guy who first brings Jurgis in as Mike Scully's union plant...
Madame Haupt Hebamme
Madame Haupt Hebamme is a midwife. Sinclair describes her as a Dutchwoman, but "Dutch" and "German" used to be interchangeable back in the day. We think Madame Haupt is probably German, given that...
Miss Henderson is Ona's boss at the meatpacking plant. She is also partially responsible for Ona's terrible fate. In addition to being a forelady (a.k.a. supervisor) at Ona's workplace, Miss Hender...
Tommy Hinds is a former Union Army officer (so he must be getting on in years, since the Civil War ended forty years before this novel was written) who owns a Chicago hotel. Hinds is a socialist th...
Alena only appears in two chapters of The Jungle, Chapters 1 and 27. In the first chapter, at Jurgis and Ona's wedding feast, Alena Jasaityte is the bell of the ball. She is lovely and well-dressed...
Jurgis bumps into Freddie Jones one cold night as he is begging. Freddie is the son of one of the meatpacking plant owners. He is drunk off his head, but he is also very sweet. He invites Jurgis ho...
Mrs. Jukniene manages an apartment in a tenement house. (For some really cool photographs of what tenements are and what they looked like back in the day, check out this link to New York City's ten...
Tamoszius Kuszleika is a gifted violinist. His skills mean that he could make lots of money. But unfortunately (from a practical perspective), he falls in love with Marija Berczynskas. When Marija...
The final chapter of the novel is basically a long discussion between Mr. Lucas and Nicholas Schliemann about what being a socialist means. Mr. Lucas is a wandering preacher and evangelist who beli...
As an elderly woman, Grandmother Majauszkiene has plenty of grim experience of life in the packing yards. She is a neighbor of Jurgis's family and a fellow Lithuanian, so of course they hang out to...
Jadvyga is a lot like Ona: she is an honest working girl who must support her large family with her wages. Also like Ona, she is unlucky. She is engaged to a man named Mikolas, but he has been stru...
Mr. Maynard is an East Coast newspaper editor who has come to meet with socialist Party leaders in Chicago. The socialists are hoping that, if Mr. Maynard learns more about the truth of socialism,...
Mikolas is Jadvyga Marcinkus's sometime fiancé. Like Tamoszius Kuszleika, Mikolas gets an infection that causes him to lose his hand. He can no longer work. So Jadvyga Marcinkus has to break off t...
"Pat" Murphy is Jurgis's immediate boss when Jurgis becomes a hog-trimmer (and political operative for "Bush" Harper and Mike Scully).
One of Mrs. Jukniene's neighbors. She contributes a little bit of money to Jurgis to pay for Madame Haupt Hebamme's useless midwifing services. So, even though Mrs. Olszewski poor and has a family...
Ostrinski is a Polish immigrant and socialist who speaks Lithuanian. When Jurgis first attends his transformative Socialist Party meeting, it is Ostrinski who explains the details of socialism to J...
Juozas is the guy Alena Jasaityte is engaged to in the first chapter of the novel. He pulls in a pretty good salary pushing handtrucks at one of the meatpacking plants, so he dresses well and think...
Nicholas Schliemann is basically the voice of socialism at the end of The Jungle. He lays out everything: wage competition keeps workers from organizing for their own benefit. Big businesses own a...
It's because of political bosses like Mike Scully that Chicago politics still have a reputation for corruption. (For more on the fascinating real-life history of Chicago's corrupt politicking, chec...
Amos Struver is Tommy Hinds's head clerk. He had been a farmer in Kansas fighting against the greed of the railroad companies for many years before he decided to sell his farm and move to Chicago t...
Jokubas is the guy Jonas knew back in Lithuania who immigrated to Chicago years ago. Although Jonas is sure that Jokubas has struck it rich here in the States, it actually turns out that Jokubas is...