Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 7

Allee Murray

The Jungle Assignment

Questions from The Jungle 1. What is the opening scene of the novel? Where and when is it? The opening scene of the novel takes place during the afternoon at the rear room of one of the saloons in a part of Chicago known as the back of the yards. The event is the wedding feats of Ona and Jurgis. 2. What does this scene say about the values and culture of the novels characters? It shows that the characters wanted to uphold their culture and value that they grew up in. 3. Where are Jurgis and Ona families from? What kind of life did they have in the old country? They are from Lithunia. They were poor and had a peasant life, but not as poor as they are in America. Although they have more opportunities in America, they had a better life and better conditions in Lithunia. 4. Where are they living and working throughout the novel? They are all living in Packingtown, Chicago and working in the meat-packing plants and factories. 5. What is Jurgis job? He works in a meat-packing plant, sweeping entrails from the carcasses of the steers into a trap. 6. What are conditions like in the stockyards? The stockyards are unclean and unsanitary environments where they all must work in assembly lines at the same pace and time while they are pushed to their limits. The environment is dangerous and filthy, with the workers having to stand and touch blood and guts with no sanitary precautions put into place. 7. Does the family get a good deal on the house they purchase? Why or why not? Although they believed they were getting a good deal and that it appeared to be at first, it was not. They were not informed of the interest rates on the house and the house was not worth the price (and interest) that they pay for it. 8. What happens with each new wave of immigrants in Packingtown? Each wave comes in expecting to find jobs and have successful lives. After they find jobs, they become overworked, poor, and run down. Then once this pattern happens, another wave of immigrants comes in and the pattern is repeated.

Allee Murray

The Jungle Assignment

9. What changes do we see in the familys life as they shift from a peasant to an urban industrial life? They are all struggling more now than when they lived in Lithuania. They realize corruption is taking place and they face harsh experiences like bad working conditions and unfair pay. They find that money is more of a value in America. Life in Lithuania did not feature the dominating presence of money and material wealth that it plays in Packingtown. The need for money and continually acquiring it is one element that defines life in Packingtown and one of the things that was not needed as much in Lithunia. 10. What happens during the winter in Packingtown? The companies dont provide adequate heating at work and there is a wave of death in Packingtown as the bad weather and disease claims the weakened, the hungry, and the old. Dede Antanas dies due to these factors. Thousands wait to take the vacant places in the plants that the dead leave behind. 11. When Jurgis is first approached by the unions, what does he think? Why does he change his mind? How does the union change his life? At first, Jurgis is very unfamiliar with the unions and refuses to join. He changes his mind later on when his hours get cut at his job. He begins making less money and starts attending Union meetings. He is urged to receive U.S. citizenship, and as he attends, he strives to learn English and begins to vote where he becomes involved in a political scandal which exposes the corruption of Packingtown to him. 12. What does Jurgis learn about politics in Chicago? He learns of the corruption and greed that surrounds and consumes Packingtown. He also learns of disease and injuries that plague the labor force and realizes the truth about the diseased meat that the meat companies sell. 13. What is the trap that Jurgis falls into? A steer gets loose at the factory and all the men in the area drop everything to try to catch it. While trying to catch the steer, Jurgis twists his ankle, which causes him to be out of work for nearly three months. 14. What has Ona been doing unknown to Jurgis? What happens as a result of this? She is being forced to work as a prostitute by her boss. As a result of this, Jurgis goes crazy once he finds out about Ona.

Allee Murray

The Jungle Assignment

15. Where does Jurgis finally find a job? He finds work at a fertilizer mill, but while working here it greatly messes with his body due to the awful conditions, smells, and muck. 16. What is the job the settlement worker gets for Jurgis? He gets a job at a factory where harvesting machines are produced. 17. What is Jurgis life as a tramp like? He is out on his own where he steals and forages when he is not making money from his random, odd jobs. He learns from other tramps and gets jobs from farmers in the country. As he works, he earns more money than he ever would have in Packingtown. The money doesnt last long though because he spends it on alcohol and women. 18. What is the purpose of the tunnel that Jurgis helps dig upon his return to Chicago? The goal was to break the power of the teamsters union. 19. Describe the nature of his life after he loses that job. After Jurgis breaks his arm, he is released from the hospital but is homeless. His life consists of begging for food and money. He has to fight the other homeless people for the shelter spots. 20. How does Jurgis fall into a life of a crime? What does he leave it for? He is cheated out of his money by a bartender. Jurgis attacks him and is arrested and thrown in prison. While there, he comes in contact with Jack Duane and listens to other prisoners stories while deciding a life of crime is the best way for him to survive. He leaves this life eventually though when he gets a job as a hog trimmer working for a Republican Candidate. He makes even more money by convincing people for votes for the candidate who wins. 21. What does Jurgis come to understand about power? The only way to have power and become successful is to have connections with people in power. 22. What happens to change his plush lifestyle? Jurgis attacks Phil Connor again, is put in jail, and is forced to pay his bail because Scully (a corrupt democrat) favors Connor. After paying his bail, he is left with only four dollars and he travels to the other part of Chicago.

Allee Murray

The Jungle Assignment

23. Why did Marija turn to a life of prostitution? What is her life like? Marija turns to a life of prostitution because the children couldnt be supported and to keep them from starvation, since Stansilovas dies. She was similar to a slave living in prostitution because she was forced to sell her body to survive, kept poor, and put on drugs by the Madame in the brothel. 24. What happens to change Jurgis life? He feels guilty for leaving his family to make it on their own. He then finds a socialist politician that he feels matches his own beliefs and needs. He becomes a big socialist promoter. 25. What are the socialist goals that Sinclair describes in the novel? What is class consciousness? The basic goals of socialism are common ownership and democratic management of the means of producing the necessities of life. Class consciousness is the awareness of the needs of society and the sharing of those needs. 26. How are minorities (African-Americans, Indians, etc.) portrayed in the novel? Although no African-Americans or Indians are clearly referenced, the novel is all about minorities and how they are treated and taken advantage of. They are portrayed as dumb and helpless once coming to America, as they rely on trusting people who in the end take advantage of them. They have to come to a strange place and fight for jobs and food while all the way getting taken advantage of by realtors, their employers, and others. 27. How does the novel end? Why do you think Sinclair ends it this way? It ends with a political speaker encouraging socialists to keep fighting so they can win over Chicago. Sinclair ends the book this way because he is emphasizing the real need for socialism as he is trying to persuade whoever read the book to adopt his opinions. 28. Upton Sinclair later said about the novel, I aimed at the publics heart and by accident I hit it in the stomach. What did he mean by this? The quote by Upton Sinclair explains that he meant to aim at the heart of the public by making them aware of and triggering their emotions towards the workers and the bad conditions they had to face in the industries. Instead, he hit them in the stomach by exposing the truth about what they were actually eating and the corrupt ways the meat industry was packaging and selling the food America and its people were eating.

Allee Murray

The Jungle Assignment

Guided Questions for The Jungle 1. What is Sinclairs thesis for The Jungle? The Jungle was written as plea for Americas people to discover and have sympathy for immigrant workers and social injustices. Sinclair tried to portray the fraud that capitalism was trying to put on America and the immigrant workers, their severe predicaments, and how the capitalism system was trying to take advantage of them. The immigrant worker story was a vehicle of sorts to show that socialism is a better system of government and economy. Many of the characters in the novel were employed by private capitalism owners. They could not be successful because they were being taken advantage of in the factories by being underpaid and overworked. This novel stressed the overall significance of the working class and helped redefine the rights that humans are entitled to. 2. Who is the most interesting character and why? There are many reasons why I think Jurgis is the most interesting character in The Jungle. His ability to appeal and get sympathy out of the readers is one of the most unique characteristics about the novel. As I was reading the novel, I could only feel compassion towards Jurgis. He is portrayed with only traits that will make the reader feel sympathetic towards Jurgis, such as his young, strong, optimistic, and energetic spirit, his devotion to his family, and his passionate feelings about his chances in America. He strongly believed in the American Dream and every time he got let down in some way, I as a reader did too. The ups, downs, and sorrows that Jurgis went through in the book made me feel uplifted and hopeful as I read, because his persistence to make a good life for himself was unique and refreshing. 3. Do you think Sinclair is pessimistic or optimistic about America? I think Sinclair is both pessimistic and optimistic about America in this novel. He is pessimistic in that in the whole novel he shows a negative image of America and society. He is clearly trying to show the bad images that capitalism has on a society and that socialism would be a better option. By showing the conditions of the meat factories and how the factory owners treated the employees, eh was clearly trying to show the negative impacts that this had on America. He is also optimistic though. He has positive feelings towards America and is expecting that it will get better as times go on. He has hope that socialism will be on the rise and that with the help of the book, that capitalism will decrease and that Americas people will understand what is really going on.

Allee Murray

The Jungle Assignment

4. How much of what happens to the main characters is their own fault? I think that not much that happens to these characters is their own fault. In this novel, they are often taken completely advantage of and used. The realtor used Jurgis and his family and took advantage of them by not telling about the interest that they had to pay. The jobs and pay that the characters had were controlled by the factories and the characters could not increase their jobs and living because they had no options. Ona was taken advantage of when forced to go into prostitution and when raped. She had to make money to help support her family and had no choice as to whether or not this happened to her. Really, the only portion of the novel that any of the characters had control over is Jurgis and his life of crime. He could have chosen not to live that way and could have saved himself a lot of trouble. He did not have to attack Phil Connor nor did he have to spend him money on alcohol and women while working as a tramp with odd jobs. Although there were a few things that the characters could control, there were many things that they could not, due to them being taken advantage of by an overall capitalist society. 5. Briefly describe socialism and what they wanted to happen in America. Socialism is a concept that supports the public ownership of all resources. The production and distribution of resources with a society are then controlled by members of that society collectively or by the government that represents that society. Goods are produced and dispersed based on need, rather than on market forces such as profitability or price. In a socialist economy, workers contribute to society based on their ability and receive according to their needs, rather than being paid wages and using that money to purchase what they want. Private possessions are limited to personal-use items such as clothes, and there is no need or ability for individuals to accumulate wealth, so there is equality among the people. They want America and its people to be an equal-opportunity society. The ideal socialist America would be one with no money, where every individual was given food, clothing, shelter, healthcare services, etc. There would be no poverty, no homeless people, but also no luxuries. There would be no class divisions and everyone would be equal in status. Production and distribution of goods would be handled by the government rather than based on market economies or capitalist economies, which can cause recessions.

Allee Murray

The Jungle Assignment

6. Explain how well you think Sinclair has captured the immigrant experience in the US during the late 1800s and the early 1900s. Sinclair in The Jungle did a good job overall at portraying immigrants and their encounters in the United States during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Although Sinclair wrote this novel and did not intend for it to be a scholarly book to base facts off of, this novel actually turned out to be just that. There were many things in The Jungle that turned out to be accurate about how the immigrants lived. Like Jurgis and his family did in the novel, many immigrants came to large cities in America, such as Chicago, looking for jobs and a better life. They often heard by word of mouth about the American Dream, such as Jurgis and his family did. Voting scandals were also a factual part of the novel. People who ran the voting scandals often had immigrants get involved and have the immigrants take the blame for them, because the immigrants were inexperienced and therefore could be taken advantage of. Jurgis got caught up in this in the novel. Connections getting you farther in life is a true statement made in the novel that applies to this time period (and today.) The more people you knew, the bigger your wallet was, or the better job you had, made a difference in how a person lived, as Jurgis found out towards the end of the novel. Women and children also started working, which they hadnt had to do before. In the novel, Ona and the oldest kids had to get jobs to help support their family. During this time period, it was also common for marriages to fail and for husbands to leave their wives. Divorce rate actually begins to increase during this time period. Jurgis and Ona went through this in the novel, with Jurgis leaving his family to fend for themselves. In the novel, immigrants also struggled to adjust to American culture and often it became emotionally isolating for them. Crime and bad living/working conditions were also colossal during this time period. Jurgis and his family experienced both bad living and working conditions, in their house they bought and also at the factories and meat-packing plants they worked in. Also, Jurgis had to result to a life of crime to fend for himself later in the novel. In The Jungle, I think that overall Sinclair was very successful in his efforts to show immigrants and their experiences in the America. Immigrants during this time period faced many struggles and I believe that Sinclair in his efforts to put forth socialism, also displayed the true nature of what many immigrants really had to go through during the late 1800s and early 1900s.