The Jungle

How does Jurgis try to correct some of the mistakes of his past, before he embraced socialism?

chapter 30.

Asked by
Last updated by jill d #170087
Answers 1
Add Yours

1) Jurgis would tell stories at the hotel about his former life.

"And then Jurgis would drop his work, whatever it was, and come, and the other would say, "Comrade Jurgis, just tell these gentlemen what you saw on the killing-beds." At first this request caused poor Jurgis the most acute agony, and it was like pulling teeth to get him to talk; but gradually he found out what was wanted, and in the end he learned to stand up and speak his piece with enthusiasm."

2) Jurgis tries to swear off alcohol.

"That he had a score of Socialist arguments chasing through his brain in the meantime did not interfere with this; on the contrary, Jurgis scrubbed the spittoons and polished the banisters all the more vehemently because at the same time he was wrestling inwardly with an imaginary recalcitrant. It would be pleasant to record that he swore off drinking immediately, and all the rest of his bad habits with it; but that would hardly be exact."

"There came times to Jurgis when the vision seemed far-off and pale, and a glass of beer loomed large in comparison; but if the glass led to another glass, and to too many glasses, he had something to spur him to remorse and resolution on the morrow. It was so evidently a wicked thing to spend one's pennies for drink, when the working class was wandering in darkness, and waiting to be delivered; the price of a glass of beer would buy fifty copies of a leaflet, and one could hand these out to the unregenerate, and then get drunk upon the thought of the good that was being accomplished. That was the way the movement had been made, and it was the only way it would progress; it availed nothing to know of it, without fighting for it--it was a thing for all, not for a few! A corollary of this proposition of course was, that any one who refused to receive the new gospel was personally responsible for keeping Jurgis from his heart's desire; and this, alas, made him uncomfortable as an acquaintance. He met some neighbors with whom Elzbieta had made friends in her neighborhood, and he set out to make Socialists of them by wholesale, and several times he all but got into a fight."


The Jungle/ Chapter 30