The Jungle

What glimpses of poverty and desperation do we get in this chapter?


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Many of the young men come to the festivities, eat, drink, and then leave without paying their due to the family. Some sneak out; others walk out boldly, daring the family to make them pay for their share of the party. Ona stands in terror, thinking of the massive bills that will come due. Everything costs money, especially the saloonkeeper, who provides the beer and liquor and who is a cheat. Many of the older people pay more than their share. Jokubas Szedvilas pays five dollars even though he recently mortgaged his delicatessen store to pay his overdue rent. Old Mrs. Jukniene gives all the profit from the few chickens she keeps, even though her children must dig through the trash to find scraps to feed them. Jurgis comes to Ona to reassure her that he will work harder to pay the bills. The fact that these people have to be at factory work the next day by 7:00 am or lose their jobs is telling as well.