Jungle of Cities Summary and Analysis
George Garga has returned home with the money that Shlink gave him and refurnished the house. He also has married Jane and is eating dinner with the family the night of their marriage. John Garga remarks that things have been getting better and better since Shlink started supporting the family.
Shlink enters and Garga forces him to stand, saying that they are one chair too short. Shlink accepts this but then asks Garga to look at a letter from the Justice Department. It is a letter from one of the firms that Garga forced Shlink to cheat out of some lumber. Garga reads the letter and decides that he will go to jail. Both Shlink and his family try to convince him otherwise, but he is adamant, choosing to sacrifice his family in order to get revenge on Shlink.
Mae Garga gets up and tells her husband that she is leaving. Marie enters, still surviving on the money from Shlink. Her father begs her to take care of him now that Mae has run away, but she refuses. Garga returns and is surprised that his mother has left. He checks her wardrobe and concludes that she has left for good. He then writes a letter to police headquarters telling them that Shlink raped his sister and made indecent proposals to his wife Jane. Garga puts the letter in his pocket, intending to give it to the police when he is released in three years.
This round of the fight seesaws between a victory for Shlink and a victory for Garga. Shlink has been supporting the Garga family this entire time. His willingness to go to jail therefore means the end of their income. Although it is unclear precisely why Garga chooses to go to jail for Shlink, it may have something to do with his desire to destroy Shlink's second resource, the Garga family. (The family is alluded to as a resource in Scene 5.) Thus by liquidating his family, Garga removes Shlink's "resource" and succeeds in defeating him in this round as well.
It is notable that prior to Shlink's arrival in his house, Garga had assumed that victory was his. Thus, we see him marrying Jane, thereby returning to his former relationship with her. He also indicates that he will return to Maynes Lending Library, renewing his former job. Shlink essentially wins this round by forcing Garga to make a calculated decision to go to jail.
Three years have passed since Garga went to jail. Shlink has again set up a profitable business. He is telling a young clerk of his to reject an employment application from Marie Garga on the grounds that he wants nothing to do with her family. While conducting business, another man walks in and tells Shlink that Garga has released a letter accusing him on several counts. Shlink pays the man one thousand dollars and starts to pack, telling his clerk that he will return.
This round, a clear victory for Garga, is interesting because of the fact that Shlink has rebuilt his business. It indicates that Shlink thought he had won the previous round in a definitive way. There is no reason for him to expend the effort to become successful again unless he believed that the fight was over. His last words, "I'll be back", also seem to imply that he continues to think he will win.
The Baboon tells his companions that Shlink is being searched for all over the city and that it is the end of him. The Worm disagrees and tells a story about a dog who survived many of life's battles and ended up dying peacefully. Garga arrives in the hotel, having been released from prison after three years, accompanied by Maynes and some other gentlemen. He asks Jane to return home with him, but she refuses, saying that she prefers to stay with The Baboon as a whore.
The Worm comes over and tells Garga that the remnants of his family are still there (meaning Marie), but that the mother (Mae) has disappeared. He mentions that he saw Mae once cleaning the floor of a fruit dealer's warehouse. Garga sits down in front of Marie and tells her he loves her still. She informs him that she has become a prostitute who takes her excess money and throws it into a bucket. The Salvation Army Officer who is sitting at a nearby table comments that people are too durable and therefore can inflict too much harm on themselves. He leaves and soon thereafter they hear a gunshot. They drag the Salvation Army Officer back into the room. He has shot himself in the throat, but missed and only caused a scratch.
Garga laughs at the irony of failing to kill oneself. All the men leave with the wounded man and Garga tells Marie that Shlink is constantly on his mind. He claims that Shlink's skin is too thick and that no real damage has been done yet. Garga then tells her that he defeated Shlink because Shlink can no longer come and talk to him since the entire city of Chicago is looking for him. He laughs and says that Shlink will not "make it into the ring any more."
The Saloonkeeper tells Garga that there is a fire in the nearby lumber yard. Garga is already planning his future with all the normal amenities of life while listening to the lynching mob that is searching for Shlink. Behind him, Shlink enters with an American-style suit. He tells Garga to hurry up and come with him. Garga eulogizes the loss of Marie, Jane, and his mother, all of whom he claims went "to the dogs" three years earlier. As the yelling gets louder, they exit.
The Worm continues the analogy of Shlink as Christ. Much like Peter, he denies every having worked for Shlink when Garga asks him. "Me? I never saw the man." This ties in the fact that Shlink is now on the run, about to be captured by the mob, in the sense that Peter denied Jesus after it had been decided to arrest him.
Marie is clearly no longer a virgin, and for the past three years she has worked as a prostitute. She throws away her excess money into a bucket; for Marie this represents the fiscal embodiment of her purity. The combination of money and sex, two things that she finds are necessary to survive, also makes them things to despise; they take away a person's freedom.
Garga admits to Marie that "[Shlink's] skin is too thick. It bends and deflects everything you thrust at him. There aren't enough spears." He is admitting at this stage that in spite of everything, all the attempts to make Shlink hate him have failed. Brecht believes that the ability to really feel emotion towards another human being has died. He is stating here that only powerful emotions like hate can penetrate the "thick skin" that people have grown in order to not feel emotion. However, from Garga's comments it appears that even the fight was not enough to make Shlink hate Garga. This is why Shlink must return to Garga and meet him again, "We haven't settled yet."
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