- The failing proprietor of a delicatessen in Packingtown
- who knows Jonas from the old country. A kind but troubled man, Jokubas
- represents the harsh reality of capitalism and reveals the naïveté
- of Jurgis’s dreams of success.
- corrupt, wealthy democrat in Chicago who owns the festering dump
- in which Juozapas and other children forage for food. Scully makes
- money off the housing scheme to which Jurgis’s family falls victim.
- He works at rigging elections, and Jurgis becomes one of his henchmen
- during his brief stint in the Chicago criminal underworld.
- A spokesperson for socialism. Nicholas gives a long
- explanation of socialist philosophy to a magazine editor who has
- written against socialism in the past. He functions as a mouthpiece
- for Sinclair’s own political philosophy.
- Polish immigrant who speaks Lithuanian. After Jurgis hears a rousing
- speech at a socialist political meeting, Ostrinski is assigned the
- task of teaching Jurgis about socialism.
- proprietor of a small Chicago hotel and a well-known proponent of
- socialism. Jurgis obtains a job as Hinds’s porter not long after
- his conversion to socialism.
- forelady in Ona’s factory. Cruel and bitter, Miss Henderson is the
- jilted mistress of one of the factory superintendents. She also
- runs a brothel and arranges to get jobs for some of the prostitutes
- who work for her. She hates Ona because Ona is a “decent married
- girl,” and she and her toadies try to make Ona as miserable as possible.
- polished, charismatic criminal whom Jurgis meets during his first
- prison term. Jack later introduces Jurgis to Chicago’s criminal
- underworld, where money comes easily to Jurgis for the first time
- in America.
- Elzbieta’s brother, who first encourages the family to travel to
- America. After months of poverty in Packingtown, Jonas disappears,
- and the family never hears from him again. His absence deprives
- the family of a key wage earner and throws them into a greater financial
- One of Teta Elzbieta’s children, a young boy of
- about fourteen. Stanislovas shirks his responsibilities as a wage
- earner because he is terrified of frostbite. Jurgis often has to
- beat him to make him go to work.
- One of Teta Elzbieta’s children, who is forced to
- care for the children and do household chores. When Jurgis
- is sent to prison, Kotrina has to go to work selling newspapers
- on the streets with her able-bodied brothers.
- One of Teta Elzbieta’s two crippled children, injured
- when a wagon ran over one of his legs when he was a toddler. Juozapas
- unwittingly helps the family when he meets a rich lady while foraging
- for food in the local dump.
- The family’s Lithuanian neighbor when they move
- into their house. A concerned old woman, Grandmother Majauszkiene
- has lived in Packingtown for many years and has seen one generation
- after another of immigrants ground into ruin by the merciless labor
- practices of the factories. She became a socialist before she even
- came to America.
- and Jurgis’s son. Antanas is a strong, sturdy little boy, but he
- drowns in the mud in the street while Jurgis is at work. The death
- of Antanas signals the death of hope in Jurgis’s life.
Jurgis’s father, who travels to America with the
- rest of the family. A proud man, Dede Antanas is prevented by his
- old age from obtaining a job through normal means. He has to resort
- to the humiliation of paying a man a third of his wages in return
- for a job, whose unsanitary and unsafe working conditions destroy
- his health.
- boss, who sexually harasses her at the factory where she works.
- A bullying, depraved man, Connor represents the moral corruption
- of power in Chicago as well as the complicated relationship between
- politics, crime, and business. He has ties to all three and, thus, has
- the power to destroy Jurgis’s life.
- Ona’s cousin, who travels to America with the rest
- of the family because her employer in the old country is unkind
- to her. Marija is a large, strong woman, capable of standing up
- for herself; because she first tries to fight back against the corrupt
- bosses, she represents a spirit of defiance among the immigrants that
- is slowly crushed.
Teta Elzbieta Lukoszaite
- Ona’s stepmother and the mother of six others. A
- resilient, strong-willed old woman, Teta Elzbieta is one of the
- strongest and most important characters in The Jungle. Sinclair
- uses her to represent the redemptive power of family, home, and
- Elzbieta’s stepdaughter and Jurgis’s wife. A kind, lovely, and optimistic
- girl, Ona is ruined by the forces of capitalism that work against
- the family, particularly after she is raped by her boss, Phil Connor.
- Lithuanian immigrant who comes to America with his wife, Ona. Jurgis
- is a strong, determined individual with a faith in the American
- Dream of self-betterment, but his health, family, and hopes are
- slowly destroyed by the miserable working and living conditions
- in Packingtown. Jurgis, who doesn’t elicit much more from the reader
- than pity, is an obvious instrument that Sinclair uses to express
- his vision of the exploitation of the worker by capitalism and his redemption
- by socialism.
Packingtown, the meat-packing sector of Chicago
Who is the first
person to abandon the family?
Who develops a
Why is Jurgis
sent to prison the first time?
For attacking Phil Connor
Who plays the
is a financial failure?
Why is Stanislovas
afraid of the cold on winter mornings?
Because he has seen the effects of frostbite
Where is Ostrinski
In what year
was The Jungle first published?
What law was
passed due to public outcry caused by the novel?
The Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906
How does the
young Antanas die?
He drowns in the mud-logged street.
At the beginning
of the novel, what is Jurgis’s response to learning of the debt
caused by his marriage feast?
“I will work harder.”
How does Kristoforas
He eats diseased meat.
From what country
do Jurgis and Ona emigrate?
To what political
party does Mike Scully belong?
What is Teta
Elzbieta’s relationship to Ona?
Elzbieta is Ona’s stepmother.
Who becomes a
What does Jurgis
seek to avenge in attacking Connor?
Connor’s rape of Ona
Where does the
philanthropic woman find a job for Jurgis?
At a steel mill
To what political
party does Tommy Hinds belong?
Jurgis to live for Antanas after Ona’s death?
What does Freddie
Jones give to Jurgis?
A one-hundred-dollar bill
Why does Jack
Duane leave town?
- Because his associates abandon him after
- he barely escapes arrest
Why do Marija
and Tamoszius postpone their marriage?
Because they cannot afford to get married
What is the
Lithuanian word for “wedding feast”?
How do the smaller
children earn money?
By selling newspapers