The Jungle

What are the consequences to Jurgis' long-term unemployment in general and in particular, with regard to Stanislovas, Jonas, Marija, and the younger children?

chapter twelve.

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Being away from work for over two months, is the first real hardships that Jurgis had ever gone through in his life. If Jurgis can't work, the children must. Thus, the demise of the body becomes a place of descent into suffering. Jurgis and his family came to America with hopes of education and a better life for their children. This dream is shattered when the children must go to work. This is an example of the way in which forces of Social Darwinism deconstruct the meaning of family during this period of industrialization. The historical belief in the patriarchal family structure is destroyed as the children must enter the social “jungle” that bears the name of the novel. These children are subjected to the same hardships that their parents are subjected to and must map out their own methods to cope with such systems of oppression. These methods include not paying their fares on the trolley, a crime they justify. Those children, such as little Kristoforas, that cannot find ways to manipulate the system do not survive. In this “jungle” of society, only the fittest survive.