The Jungle

This chapter serves as a turning point for Jurgis: describe the conversation that he undergoes as well as his motivations for doing so.

chapter eight.

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Jurgis now understands the bitterness that the other workers have for the factories. When he is approached again by union representatives, he accepts their offer “in a far different spirit.” In the unions, Jurgis now has “the first inkling of a meaning in the phrase ‘a free country.’” Every member of his family soon has union cards. Marija is especially vocal. She makes an impassioned speech at a union meeting, though it is all in Lithuanian so no one understands her. Jurgis attends every union meeting. He meets several strange characters there, including Tommy Finnegan, a small Irishman with bad teeth who corners him with crazy stories of “higher intelligences” and spirits. Jurgis becomes a strong advocate of the unions. He makes it his mission to try to sign up all the Lithuanian community to the union cause. With the Lithuanians he will “labor and wrestle in prayer, trying to show them the right,” though many are not willing to accept his message.