The Jungle

What holiday is he missing? How does feel about it?

Chapter 16

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Jurgis is missing Christmas Eve. He flashes back in his mind to Lithuania and to times of celebration. Jurgis realizes that even in Packingtown they had not forgotten the vision of the Christ child and that “some gleam of it had never failed to break their darkness.” He remembers all of the shoddy, yet happy Christmases that the family had shared in Packingtown. However, Jurgis’s thoughts soon turn to despair once again. He realizes that the Christmas bells are not ringing for him. “He was of no consequence -- he was flung aside, like a bit of trash, the carcass of some animal.” A fury is awakened in Jurgis. He understands now that justice is a lie and that all of society was “tyranny, the will and the power, reckless and unrestrained!” They treat him and his family worse than they treat the animals at the packinghouses. In these midnight hours, Jurgis feels “the beginning of his rebellion, of his outlawry and his unbelief.” He declares all of society his enemy. The chapter ends with a poem: “The vilest deeds, like poison weeds, / Bloom well in prison air; / It is only what is good in Man / That wastes and withers there.”