The Jungle

Sinclair asserts that workers can never forget that they are on the bottom: "People who worked with their hands were a class apart, and were made to feel it" (85). How does Marija learn this lesson when the canning factory re-opens?

chapter ten.

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Marija had learned enough to question things at the factory, something she hadn't done before learning to speak English. Unfortunately, her questioning got her fired permanently. Her job was to can, not to question.

"Just how things happened after that Marija was not sure, but that afternoon the forelady told her that her services would not be any longer required. Poor Marija could not have been more dumfounded had the woman knocked her over the head; at first she could not believe what she heard, and then she grew furious and swore that she would come anyway, that her place belonged to her. In the end she sat down in the middle of the floor and wept and wailed.

It was a cruel lesson; but then Marija was headstrong--she should have listened to those who had had experience. The next time she would know her place, as the forelady expressed it; and so Marija went out, and the family faced the problem of an existence again."


The Jungle