Synopsis of the Book "The Jungle"

Essay add: 30-09-2015, 14:12   /   Views: 211
Synopsis of the Book "The Jungle"

The book begins with two people getting married, Ona Lukoszaite and Jurgis Rudkus Two Lithuanian immigrants who have recently arrived in Chicago. They have the wedding in the traditional Lithuanian style. Following the wedding there is a large celebration held near the Chicago stockyards. Food, beer, and music fill the hall. Following Lithuanian tradition, hungry people lingering in the doorway are invited inside to eat their fill. The musicians play badly but, do to the general festivity, no one seems to mind. The highlight of the celebration is the acziavimas, the guests, linking their hands, form a rotating circle while the musicians play; the bride stands in the middle and each guy in the circle takes turns dancing with the bride. Twords the end of the celebration the bride was beginning to become worried that people were not going to pay any money for the vast celebration. Back in those days a the cost would be over 300 dollars much more than most men made in one year. Of you were late for you job by one minute you would be docked for and hours pay, if you were late 20 minutes you would loose your job. This meant standing in line for up to two weeks waiting for another job.

The reason that the couple decided to move to America was because of Teta Elzbieta's brother Jonas knew of a man who made a fortune in America, inspiring the family to work to make the trip possible. Jurgis worked for months to save money to help pay for the cost of the voyage. He finally reached his goal of money and they made the journey. Little did they know that they would have to work twice as hard to keep up in America.

Upon arriving Jokubas takes the family on a tour of Packingtown. They gaze in awe to see pens packed with tens of thousands of cattle, pigs, and sheep. The suffering of the animals, which will all be killed by the end of the day, upsets even Jurgis. But the flurry of men working fills Jurgis with wonder. Jokubas notes sarcastically the signs regarding the sanitation rules. The government inspector who checks the slaughtered pigs for signs of tuberculosis often lets several carcasses go unchecked. Spoiled meat is specially doctored in secret before it is scattered among the rest of the meat in preparation for canning and packing. This is to be the place of Jurgis’ future employment as a sweeper.

In chapter 10 the family is finding out about many hidden charges for the house. Jurgis demands that the agent who sold his family the house reveal all of its hidden expenses. The agent explains that they must pay seven dollars a year for insurance, ten dollars a year in taxes, and six dollars a year for water. He adds that if the city chooses to install a sewer and a sidewalk, they would have to pay between thirty-seven and forty-seven dollars. Later on Ona gives birth to a healthy boy. She and Jurgis name him Antanas after Jurgis' father. The Packingtown laborers are worked at an ever greater speed only to see their wages cut numerous times. Marija opens a bank account for her savings. One morning she discovers that there is a run on the bank. She waits for two days in the line before she can withdraw her money. In truth, her fear is unfounded: an attempt by a policeman to arrest a drunk at the saloon next to the bank drew a crowd, and people who saw the crowd believed that there was a run on the bank, so they hurried to withdraw their money. I found this to be very funny because the government works so hard to prevent these things and the government’s stupidity almost blew a bank out of the water.

Another funny part of the book was when Jurgis knew that he could be cheated or robbed when he was trying to change his 100 dollar bill and the bartender cheated him out of his 99 dollars and then he attacked the bar tender and got arrested. This illustrates the factor that “Americans” would take advantage of the “immigrants”.

The ending of the book was rather boring in relation to the rest of the book. It says that Jurgis talks to some people about socialism and tries to convince someone to quit her job as a prostitute but fails at doing so because she is addicted to morphine. I would rate the book as a 7 out of 10 for humor reading level and the fact that I actually finished a book in one night.

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