Jungle of Cities

Jungle of Cities Summary and Analysis of Scenes 10-11

Scene Ten

Garga and Shlink are together in a railroad worker's tent outside of the city of Chicago. Garga tells Shlink that he now understands the point of the fight:

Garga: And now, as the end draws near, you've become a victim to the black addiction of this planet: you want to touch others.

Shlink: By hating them?

Garga: By hating.

Shlink: So you have understood it. We're companions, comrades in a metaphysical action!

Shlink then tells Garga that two weeks prior he gave Garga his second lumber business, the one that was burning in the previous scene. Shlink also hands him the ledger of the accounts. Garga is amused that Shlink has kept the ink-stained ledger with him the entire time.

Garga finally gets tired of listening to Shlink and tells him that their fight is over with him, the younger man, as the victor. Shlink is upset with Garga for ending the fight without any resolution. Garga never understood that the fight was about the soul, not the body. Garga argues that the soul is nothing and gets up and leaves Shlink to die.

Marie arrives and asks Shlink to take what little of her purity remains. He is upset when she tells him to flee the lynch mob that is still tracking him. Shlink is enjoying his last moments on the planet and wants to be alone, but Marie insists on staying with him. Shlink tells her that Garga already left to return to Chicago. He then delivers his final eulogy before lowering his head, asking her to cover his face, and dying. The men of the lynching party arrive at that moment, but Marie stands up and tells them go away because Shlink is already dead.


This scene, the final round of the "boxing match", explicates many of Brecht's main ideas. The goal is to touch someone else through emotions rather than through physical means. "You want to touch others" says Garga, to which Shlink replies, "By hating them." This is the only way to interact with another human being other than through sexual contact or money. Shlink says, "If you stuff a ship's hold so full of human bodies, so it almost bursts - there will be such loneliness in that ship that they'll all freeze to death." The scene ends without a resolution to this problem, however, because Garga tells Shlink that he only pities him instead of hating him.

As a result of the fight failing to elicit emotions of hatred, Garga arbitrarily ends it. "It's as simple as that, Shlink: the younger man wins." Shlink makes the point that Garga has never really understood the point of the fight until this final moment, but Garga does not care anymore. The emergence of Marie seems to offer an alternative that even Shlink is unable to grasp, that alternative of love rather than hate. Shlink dies without being pierced by Marie's love, even though she has clearly been pierced by him.

Scene Eleven

Back in Chicago, Garga, his father, and Marie are standing in a room next to the burnt lumber yard. Garga has decided to move to New York and he wants to sell the place. Manky arrives and agrees to buy it from him. Garga makes Manky take Marie and his father to care for as part of the deal. The others leave and Garga pockets the money. He says, "To be alone - that's a good thing to be. The chaos has been used up. And it was the best of time."


This final scene functions as the victor's round in the match, a scene where Garga is enjoying the spoils of his victory over Shlink. However, the victory is not without consequences. Garga realizes at this point that he misses the fight. He also adopts Shlink's attitude about being alone. "To be alone - that's a good thing to be. The chaos has been used up. And it was the best of time." Garga ends the play having fallen for what Shlink was telling him throughout.