The Jungle

Describe how Marija's life has changed since Jurgis last saw her.

Chapter 27

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There is sudden confusion in the house and a mass of about thirty people, all in varying states of dress, begin to run around the house looking for an exit. All of the exits are blocked however, even the secret passageways that lead out of the house. Jurgis runs with the crowd upstairs. Several girls seem to be half-drunk, and suddenly Jurgis recognizes Marija. He calls for her, and she takes him into her room. It is a dirty room with clothes strewn about the place.

Marija begins to tell him how she came to be a whore. She tells him that it was because she was sick and needed to find a way to support the family. The family is not upset at him for leaving, however. Marija has a very businesslike quality to her now. She tells Jurgis that the family should have done everything they could to survive early on. Even Ona should have become a prostitute, she says, and this would have saved her from her eventual fate. She tells him that rats killed Stanislovas after he was accidentally locked in a factory one night. The rats attacked him and had half eaten him by the morning.