The Jungle By Upton Sinclair Summary and Analysis Chapter 8

Summary

Once again, Jurgis is approached about joining the union, and now that he recognizes and understands many of the abuses inherent in the system, he agrees to join. He also convinces the other members of his family to join, and their faith in their well being is now restored. Jurgis begins to attend union meetings and encourages others to join. The union becomes his religion, and the new convert zealously attempts to show others the light.

Analysis

A recurring motif in The Jungle — that in the real world love places second to economics — dominates this chapter. In addition to the difficulties that Jurgis and Ona experience, come the problems with Marija and Tamoszius' relationship. During the months following the wedding, Marija and Tamoszius Kuszleika develop a close relationship, and they plan to marry in the springtime. Then, without notice, the canning factory Marija work in shuts down. The relationship again illustrates Marija's strength, but strength of character, as seen with Jurgis, is not always enough.

This seasonal shortage of work also affects Jurgis, who receives fewer hours and subsequently less pay. Although he must still report to work at 7:00 a.m., sometimes work does not start until the late afternoon, and men receive wages only for actual hours worked. Jurgis now sides with organized labor against the establishment. His passion for the union foreshadows the zeal he develops for socialism. Jurgis now begins his long fight against the unfair practices of management; his life is that of a war — the worker versus the industry.

Glossary

eloquent vividly expressive.

impropriety improper action or behavior.

tacit not expressed or declared openly, but implied or understood.

skylarking playing about boisterously.

impunity freedom or exemption from punishment, penalty, or harm.

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