Summary and Analysis Chapter 24



One evening, when begging in the theater district, Jurgis encounters a drunken man who invites him back to his house. Along the way, the drunk gives Jurgis a $100 bill to pay the cab fare; Jurgis pockets the bill. The man is Freddie Jones, the son of the packer for whom Jurgis has worked. Freddie provides Jurgis with a feast of food and drink. After Freddie falls asleep, the butler kicks Jurgis out, but Jurgis still has the $100 bill.


Instead of his usual summary narrative, Sinclair dramatizes most of this chapter. For the first time, it appears that chance benefits Jurgis. Not only is Jurgis seemingly fated to meet Freddie Jones, but Freddie forgets that he gives Jurgis a $100 bill. Just as the dramatized scene is now out of place in the novel, the entire meeting seems out of place; however, if chance is responsible for all the misfortune in Jurgis' life, then it can likewise be responsible for this one seeming piece of luck.

This encounter enables Sinclair to dramatize how the upper class lives, comparing it to the miserable existence Jurgis has had in America. Not only does this chance meeting serve as contrast of the opulent versus the indigent, it serves as an opportunity to see how Jurgis responds to his newfound wealth. Without a doubt, Jurgis pockets the bill, but what he does next is extremely telling.


subjugate to bring under control or subjection; conquer.

benignant kindly or gracious, sometimes in a patronizing way.

automaton a person or animal acting in an automatic or mechanical way.

tesselated paved in a mosaic pattern of small, square blocks.

portiere a curtain, usually heavy, hung in a doorway.

livery an identifying uniform such as was formerly worn by feudal retainers or is now worn by servants or those in some particular group or trade.

insouciance state of calm; the quality or state of being untroubled and carefree.

Back to Top