Study Guide

The Jungle Chapter 18

By Upton Sinclair

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Chapter 18

  • Jurgis has to stay in jail for longer than his thirty days to work off "court costs": a dollar and a half.
  • Jurgis walks out of jail in the fertilizer clothes he came in with.
  • He didn't grab his jacket when he ran out of the house to strangle Connor, so he is freezing as he is walking home.
  • Jurgis's prison is just outside Chicago, so Jurgis has to ask for directions to the stockyards.
  • They are twenty miles away! And Jurgis has to walk the whole distance.
  • He gets lost on the way, having received bad directions.
  • Eventually, he reaches his own street and runs towards his house.
  • But Jurgis finds that the house is a different color. The broken window has been repaired. He is completely confused.
  • The front door opens and a boy Jurgis has never seen before comes out.
  • Jurgis asks the boy where Jurgis's family is.
  • The boy is shocked: this is his family's house.
  • The boy's mother comes out the door and agrees that they have just bought this house, which she believes is new.
  • Jurgis runs to Grandmother Majauszkiene's house to find out where his family has gone.
  • Grandmother Majauszkiene explains that, in Jurgis's absence, his family had been evicted. The company then refit the house and sold it to another family the next week.
  • Jurgis rushes out again to Mrs. Jukniene's boarding house, where his family is staying.
  • Jurgis weeps with grief and despair: he remembers all of the sacrifices they made to buy that house, just to lose it in the end!
  • Jurgis arrives at Mrs. Jukniene's apartment and knocks on the door.
  • He asks Mrs. Jukniene if Ona is there.
  • Suddenly, Jurgis hears Ona scream. He pushes past Mrs. Jukniene into the apartment.
  • Marija Berczynskas is there. Marija warns Jurgis not to go upstairs.
  • Ona is in the middle of delivering her second child, but it is way, way premature.
  • Ona keeps screaming and begging to die.
  • Marija tells Jurgis to go away. Teta Elzbieta is with Ona, and there is nothing Jurgis can do.
  • Marija protests that she tried to find a midwife, but they all charge much too much.
  • Marija only has a quarter left, the family is starving, and they owe Mrs. Jukniene two weeks of rent.
  • Meanwhile, the children (Vilimas, Nikolajus, Kotrina, and Stanislovas) have all been unable to come back in from downtown Chicago because the weather has been so bad. So the children don't know what further disasters have hit the family.
  • Jurgis looks like he is about to collapse.
  • Mrs. Jukniene gets up and hands him thirty-four cents.
  • Their next-door neighbor, Mrs. Olszewski, gives Jurgis enough for a total of a buck twenty-five.
  • Jurgis runs out to find a midwife.

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