The Jungle Review
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Jurgis Rudkus comes to America with his family, in hopes of fulfilling the American dream. Jurgis, his wife, Ona, Onas step-mother, teta Elzbieta, her brother Jonas and her children, Onas cousin, Marija, and Jurgiss father, Dede Antanas all move to the meat packing area of Chicago in search of jobs. They come to realize that succeeding in America is going to prove more difficult than they had anticipated. The labor is physically demanding, with very little pay. People take advantage of the fact that Jurgis and his family are new to America, first by selling them a house that they could be evicted from by being late for just one payment, they also charge more for the monthly payments then the family had originally understood. At first Jurgis and Marija and the other workers of the family were doing well and making money, but the terrible conditions and the hard manual labor took its toll. They were becoming weaker and sicker and less able to do the work that was required of them.
When Jurgis finds out that Onas boss was raping her, he finds the man and starts to fight him. He is thrown in prison and given a 30 day sentence. This is especially terrible for the family because Jurgis was a main money maker and having him unable to work for such a long period of time was going to be extremely difficult for them. By the time Jurgis gets out of prison, they had lost the house. He finds his family only to discover that his wife was in labor. Ona and the baby end up dying. This is devastating to Jurgis, but he keeps on going for the sake of his first son. He finds a good job, and is doing well, when he comes home from work one day to find that his son had drown in a freak accident. It put Jurgis over the edge and he turned to drinking and became a recluse. He left the city and looked for work on farms, but when winter came there was no more work to be found on farms, so he returned to the city.
Jurgis was thrown in jail again when he was introduced to the criminal world. Once he got out, he began mugging, stealing, and using political elections to make money. He would go with immigrants into the polls and tell them who to vote for, and in exchange, he was paid a good sum of money. Jurgis was making more money by cheating and being dishonest then he ever could have imagined making by being hard working and honest. The highlife ends when he again beats up the man who raped his wife. As is turned out, this man was good friends with Jurgiss boss in the political graft, so Jurgis was advised to leave town. He was back to begging for money and jobs.
Then, one day, in order to get out of the cold, Jurgis sits in a socialist political meeting. He begins listening to the speaker and is able to relate his situation to what the man was saying. All Jurgis had wanted was a good home and a good job to support his family, and his hard work hadnt gotten