The novel begins at the wedding of Jurgis and Ona Rudkus. Jurgis and Ona came from the countryside of Lithuania. The couple realizes that in America, one needs to work extremely hard in order to transform their lifestyle contrary to the stories they had in Lithuania that America is a land of. He must stay out of work for almost three months. And thirteen-year-old Kotrina Teta Elzbieta's oldest daughter has to stay home and cook and clean for the whole family while caring for baby Antanas and her youngest brother Juozapas. He contributes work despite his age and poor health; dies from a lung infection.
But many other guests take advantage of the hosts, and sneak off without contributing money. They have decided to look for work in Chicago's busy industrial stockyards, where thousands of cattle are slaughtered and processed into canned and packaged meats everyday. They also have additional, unexpected interest payments to come up with every month. Jurgis runs away to live as a vagrant in the countryside. Jadvyga works in the canning factory to support her sick mother and three little sisters. Unfortunately they were deprived of they hopes and dreams. Many immigrants traveled thousands of miles aboard, cramped, disease infested, ships with hope of coming to this….
Jurgis pulls himself together for the sake of Antanas and gets a job. There are always more men looking for jobs than there are jobs to give, so most men only make a few cents per hour. He chose to represent the industrial world through the meatpacking industry, where the rewards of progress were enjoyed only by the privileged, who exploited the powerless masses of workers. However, Marija soon loses her job when the canning factory that she works for shuts down. In jail, Jurgis reencounters Jack Duane, who convinces him to get involved with Chicago's criminal underworld.
A wealthy young man gives him a hundred dollar bill, and when he goes to change it, he is cheated out of the money by a bartender. Jurgis is at the end of his rope when he chances upon a socialist rally. This all falls apart, however, when Antanas drowns in the muddy streets of Chicago. The Jungle: The Uncensored Original Edition. Jurgis is sent to Bridewell prison where he is made to break stone every day. They plan to finish the attic in the house that the family owns and use it as their living space.
The foreword and introduction say that the commercial editions were censored to make their political message acceptable to capitalist publishers. Stanislovas contracts frostbite on his hands and his joints become permanently damaged. The novel is a fiction though but still is considered close to realism as it depicts the actual conditions of the period in the States. Antanas suffers many childhood illnesses and becomes malnourished and weak. Ona trusts Jurgis implicitly and trusts that her family will always find a way to make more money, despite her worrying nature.
The other members of the family soon find jobs, except for the children. Jurgis is absolutely convinced by these arguments and becomes a truly faithful socialist. Furious, Jurgis tries to fight, but nobody believes his story and he is sent back to jail. It was sold to the meat workers at inflated prices. It is a sad speech, not only because Dede Antanas is very sick with a persistent cough, but also because he believes he will die soon and leave his family. Jurgis once again comes face to face with Phil Connor and attacks him.
He was best known for publishing The Jungle which uncovered the atrocities of the meat packing industry. I found the book intriguing, because of the detail that was added in to make sure nothing was left out. The book portrayed an honest, hardworking lower class, and a dishonest, lazy upper class. When he is released, he has no money and cannot find work, so he becomes a beggar. At four in the morning, Jurgis sees Madame Haupt coming down the stairs covered in blood. While in jail, Jurgis meets with , an old friend from his previous jail stint.
She is happy that he is back and wishes to help support the family and is willing to attend socialist meetings with him. The Socialists have increased their voter turnout by over three hundred percent. Jurgis and Marija join the unions and soon become active members. Teta is the mother of six children at the start of the novel, two of whom are handicapped. Sinclair moved to Chicago and spent seven weeks in Packingtown, the residential district near the packing plants. There were no safety precautions applied by the top management for the lower class workers and an injured worker was easily replaced by a healthy one.