The Jungle

What Problems Did Ona And Jurgis Face In Chapters 10?

Economic, Political, Social?

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The winter turns into spring, but the family does not find their economic situation any better than before. The pipes in the house burst, and the family has to pay an enormous sum for a plumber. When the family goes to pay their rent, the agent tells them that they must procure a new insurance policy on the house. Jurgis has a confrontational meeting with the man. He makes the agent clearly spell out all the costs of the house, and the sums are much larger than the family had originally thought. Ona has her own difficulties with her work. Her forelady, Miss Henderson, does not like Ona because she is “a decent married girl.” Miss Henderson was given her position because of an affair she carries on with one of the other foremen. She also runs a brothel at which some of the girls from the packing plant work. Though Ona is disgusted by such places, she knows that for many of the women in Packingtown there is “no place a girl could go...where a prostitute could not get along better than a decent girl.” Packingtown is a colony of poor, starving immigrants, all under the “whim of men every bit as brutal and unscrupulous as the old-time slave-drivers.” Ona gives birth to a baby boy. The baby looks just like Jurgis, and Jurgis is fascinated by the new life he has created. He has little time to see his child, however, because he must work all the time to support the family.