At the beginning of Chapter 1
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The novel opens with Jurgis and Ona Rudkus’s wedding feast. Jurgis is the novel’s protagonist. This scene is actually a series of embellishments of a scene in the story that takes place in later chapters. The scene is a fictional recreation of a wedding feast that Sinclair observed while researching his novel and living in Packingtown. This scene sets the tone for the novel, combining a series of fictional events within the context of the real life of Lithuanian immigrants in early twentieth century Chicago. In literature, this style of writing is called “realism,” a “faithful representation of reality” also called “verisimilitude.” The realism in The Jungle comes from the perspective of the novel’s immigrant protagonists.