Study Guide

Miss Henderson in The Jungle

By Upton Sinclair

Miss Henderson

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 Henderson is also associated with a brothel in downtown Chicago. A number of the women who work for Miss Henderson are also prostitutes. Apparently, Miss Henderson resents Ona's status as a decent married woman. So Miss Henderson covers for Connor as he starts to intimidate Ona. When Connor finally rapes Ona and bullies her into keeping quiet about it, it's Miss Henderson's brothel where Connor makes Ona turn tricks. Miss Henderson is only able to humiliate and destroy Ona because she is in a position of authority over Ona; if the two women were equal, Miss Henderson's bitterness and resentment would never be able to do so much damage.

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