The Jungle

Why does Ona submit to Connor's advances? For what reason does she not turn to Jurgis for help?

chapter fifteen.

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"She lay perfectly motionless, and he had to hold his breath to catch her words. "I did not want--to do it," she said; "I tried--I tried not to do it. I only did it--to save us. It was our only chance."

Again, for a space, there was no sound but his panting. Ona's eyes closed and when she spoke again she did not open them. "He told me-- he would have me turned off. He told me he would--we would all of us lose our places. We could never get anything to do--here--again. He--he meant it--he would have ruined us."

Jurgis' arms were shaking so that he could scarcely hold himself up, and lurched forward now and then as he listened. "When--when did this begin?" he gasped.

"At the very first," she said. She spoke as if in a trance. "It was all--it was their plot--Miss Henderson's plot. She hated me. And he--he wanted me. He used to speak to me--out on the platform. Then he began to--to make love to me. He offered me money. He begged me--he said he loved me. Then he threatened me. He knew all about us, he knew we would starve. He knew your boss--he knew Marija's. He would hound us to death, he said--then he said if I would--if I--we would all of us be sure of work--always. Then one day he caught hold of me--he would not let go--he--he--"

"Where was this?"

"In the hallway--at night--after every one had gone. I could not help it. I thought of you--of the baby--of mother and the children. I was afraid of him--afraid to cry out."

A moment ago her face had been ashen gray, now it was scarlet. She was beginning to breathe hard again. Jurgis made not a sound.

"That was two months ago. Then he wanted me to come--to that house. He wanted me to stay there. He said all of us--that we would not have to work. He made me come there--in the evenings. I told you-- you thought I was at the factory. Then--one night it snowed, and I couldn't get back. And last night--the cars were stopped. It was such a little thing--to ruin us all. I tried to walk, but I couldn't. I didn't want you to know. It would have--it would have been all right. We could have gone on--just the same--you need never have known about it. He was getting tired of me--he would have let me alone soon. I am going to have a baby--I am getting ugly. He told me that--twice, he told me, last night. He kicked me--last night--too. And now you will kill him--you--you will kill him--and we shall die."


The Jungle/ Chapter 15

She tells him (Jurgis) that she has been downtown at one of the brothels. Her floor boss, Connor, had taken her there telling her that if she did not go he would ruin her and her family and make sure they never worked again. Mrs. Henderson hates her, so they devised a plot. Connor offered her money. He begged her, threatened her, and told her that he loved her. Finally, he told her that she had to come and took hold of her one night in the factory and raped her. Then he began making her come to the brothel.

Jurgis becomes furious and walks out of the house. He runs to the street and catches a streetcar. He stands on its platform, “waiting, waiting, crouching as if for a spring.” When he arrives at the factory, he finds Connor loading packages onto a truck. He jumps on him and begins to beat the man. He bites his cheek, tearing part of it off. He smashes Connor’s head against the floor. A whole team of men comes and pries Jurgis off Connor. They take him to the company police station until a patrol wagon comes to take him away.