Study Guide

Juozapas Lukoszaite in The Jungle

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Juozapas Lukoszaite

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 difficulty walking. When he was an infant, Juozapas was run over with a wagon and lost one leg, so he cannot work with the rest of the boys. Juozapas only really comes into the novel in Chapter 21. When Jurgis is out of work and Ona has died, there is not much money to go around. Little Juozapas is so very hungry that, one day, he grabs a broom and uses it as a crutch to walk to the Packingtown dump. There, Juozapas begins to pick through food scraps to find things to eat. He brings home some of the scraps to feed to Baby Antanas. Teta Elzbieta finds Juozapas feeding Baby Antanas food from the dump and freaks out. Yet, the next day, when the children are crying from hunger, she sends Juozapas back.

A "settlement worker" happens to walk by the dump and see little one-legged Juozapas digging in the trash for food. (In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, settlement workers were upper and middle class individuals, often women, who came to reside in poor communities to learn about life in the slums and to help to alleviate poverty.) She asks Juozapas his family story. She goes home with Juozapas and hears more about the family's terrible experiences from Teta Elzbieta. She sees the bloodstains on the floor from Ona's painful death in childbirth. This woman promises to get Jurgis a job at a steel factory where her fiancé is a foreman. Of course, because Jurgis's luck is so awful, he winds up getting injured at the steel factory and can no longer work. Then Baby Antanas dies and Jurgis goes hoboing. Still, up until these disasters, Juozapas's extremely pitiful experience did help Jurgis find a job. After Jurgis leaves Packingtown for the summer, we never really hear from Juozapas again.

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