The Jungle by Upton Sinclair was published in 1906. It quickly became popular and soon influenced the health and immigration laws that he currently have today. Because of this book, organizations like the USDA, FDA, FSIS, and CFSAN. In The Jungle the Rudkus family moves to the United States of America from Lithuania. Jurgis quickly finds a job at a meat packing company. After some time, they buy a house and go into a great debt that they can’t pay. Ona’s boss Phil Connor forces Ona into having sex with him and scares her into keeping it a secret.
When Jurgis finds out he confronts Connor and starts to attack him, only to be put in jail. After he is released he finds out the they lost the house and the rest of the family is homeless and broke. Ona dies so Jurgis leaves and travels the country as a homeless guy; occasionally finding work. When, Jurgis returns to Chicago he gets put in jail again and meets an old friend named Jack Duane. Duane introduced Jurgis to the life of crime. After being a criminal for a while, Jurgis decides to support the family again. He finds Marija and finds out that she’s a prostitute and she’s addicted to morphine.
Marija says that she can never leave because of her addiction and tells Jurgis where to find Teta Elzbieta and the kids. After making the decision to support his family he gets dragged into politics and becomes a socialist to help make the conditions for immigrants aware. In The Jungle it mentions the way that people treated immigrants. “They had begun to question the old lady as to why one family had been unable to pay, trying to show her by figures that it ought to have been possible; and Grandmother Majauszkiene had disputed their figures– “You say twelve ollars a month; but that does not include the interest. ”
Then they stared at her. “Interest! ” they cried. “Interest on the money you still owe,” she answered. “But we don’t have to pay any interest! ” they exclaimed, three or four at once. “We only have to pay twelve dollars each month. ” And for this she laughed at them. “You are like all the rest,” she said; “they trick you and eat you alive. They never sell the houses without interest. Get your deed, and see. ” Then, with a horrible sinking of the heart, Teta Elzbieta unlocked her bureau and brought out the paper that had already caused them so many agonies.
Now they sat round, scarcely breathing, while the old lady, who could read English, ran over it. “Yes,” she said, finally, “here it is, of course, with interest thereon monthly, at the rate of seven per cent per annum. ” And there followed a dead silence. “What does that mean? ” asked Jurgis finally, almost in a whisper. “That means,” replied the other, “that you have to pay them seven dollars next month, as well as the twelve dollars. ” (58) In this quote it talks about how Jurgis and Ona didn’t know that they had to pay interest and their neighbor explained to them that they had to pay interest.
Many Americans tricked immigrants in renting to own a house at a high rent and charging interest without them knowing so they could kick them out and sell it to someone else. Because many immigrants didn’t know very much english, they fell for this scam. “He sprang and caught her by the arm, lifting her up, and glaring into her face. “Tell me where you were last night! ” he panted. “Quick, out with it! ” Then she began to whisper, one word at a time: “|–was in–a house– downtown–” “What house? What do you mean? ” She tried to hide her eyes away, but he held her. “Miss Henderson’s house,” she gasped.
He did not understand at first. “Miss Henderson’s house,” he echoed. And then suddenly, as in an explosion, the horrible truth burst over him, and he reeled and staggered back with a scream. He caught himself against the wall, and put his hand to his forehead, staring about him, and whispering, “Jesus! Jesus! ” An instant later he leaped at her, as she lay groveling at his feet. He seized her by the throat. “Tell me! ” he gasped, hoarsely. Quick! Who took you to that place? She tried to get away, making him furious; he thought it was fear, of the pain of his clutch-he did not understand that it was the agony of her shame.
Still she answered him,”Connor. ” “Connor,” he gasped. “Who is Connor? ” “The boss,” she answered. “The man–” He tightened his grip, in his frenzy, and only when he saw her eyes closing did he realize that he was choking her. Then he relaxed his fingers, and crouched, waiting, until she opened her lids again. His breath beat hot into her face. “Tell me,” he whispered, at last, “tell me about it. ” She lay perfectly motionless, and he had to hold his breath to catch her words. “I did not want–to do it,” she said; “I tried–I tried not to do it. I only did it–to save us.
It was our only chance. ” Again, for a space, there was no sound but his panting. Ona’s eyes closed and when she spoke again she did not open them. “He told me– he would have me turned off. He told me he would–we would all of us lose our places. We could never get anything to do–here–again. He-he meant it–he would have ruined us. ” Jurgis’ arms were shaking so that he could scarcely hold himself up, and lurched forward now and then as he listened. “When–when did this begin? ” he gasped. “At the very first,” she said. She spoke as if in a trance.
It was all–it was their plot–Miss Henderson’s plot. She hated me. And he-he wanted me. He used to speak to me–out on the platform. Then he began to–to make love to me. He offered me money. He begged me–he said he loved me. Then he threatened me. He knew all about us, he knew we would starve. He knew your boss–he knew Marija’s. He would hound us to death, he said– then he said if I would–if |–we would all of us be sure of work– always. Then one day he caught hold of me–he would not let go-he-he–” “Where was this? ” “In the hallway–at night–after everyone had gone.
I could not help it. I thought of you–of the baby–of mother and the children. I was afraid of him–afraid to cry out. ” A moment ago her face had been ashen gray, now it was scarlet. She was beginning to breathe hard again. made not a sound”That was two months ago. Then he wanted me to come–to that house. He wanted me to stay there. He said all of us–that we would not have to work. He made me come there–in the evenings. I told you– you thought I was at the factory. Then–one night it snowed, and I couldn’t get back. And last night–the cars were stopped.
It was such a little thing–to ruin us all. I tried to walk, but I couldn’t. I didn’t want you to know. It would have–it would have been all right. We could have gone on–just the same–you need never have known about it He was getting tired of me–he would have let me alone soon. I am going to have a baby–I am getting ugly. He told me that– twice, he told me, last night. He kicked me–last night–too. And now you will kill him–you–you will kill him–and we shall die. ” (124-126) In this quote Ona confesses that she has been lying to Jurgis.
When he asks where she had been she tells him that her boss, Phil Connor, had raped her and was forcing her into prostitution at Miss. Henderson’s house. Many immigrant women that worked in factories were very vulnerable and were intimidated by their bosses. Many bosses taken advantage of these women and threatened them. Forcing them to do whatever they said. “Jurgis began; supposing that he would be given time, he explained how the boss had taken advantage of his wife’s position to make advances to her and had threatened her with the loss of her place.
When the interpreter had translated this, the judge, whose calendar was crowded, and whose automobile was ordered for a certain hour, interrupted with the remark: “Oh, I see. Well, if he made love to your wife, why didn’t she complain to the superintendent or leave the place? ” Jurgis hesitated, somewhat taken aback; he began to explain that they were very poor–that work was hard to get– “I see,” said Justice Callahan; “so instead you thought you would knock him down. ”
He turned to the plaintiff, inquiring, “Is there any truth in this story, Mr. Connor? “Not a particle, your Honor,” said the boss. “It is very unpleasant– they tell some such tale every time you have to discharge a woman–” “Yes, I know,” said the judge. “I hear it often enough. The fellow seems to have handled you pretty roughly. Thirty days and costs. Next case. ” (139) Jurgis explains to the judge that he assaulted Connor because Connor raped and forced Ona into Prostitution. When the judge asks connor if it’s true or not Connor denies it. Connor says that ona made it up because he fired her. As a result, Jurgis is fined thirty days in jail.