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The Jungle | Chapter Summaries

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Timeline of Events

  • Summer 1900

    After Jurgis and his family move to Chicago and find work, they buy a house.

    Chapter 5
  • November 1900

    Jurgis and Ona are married; their reception leaves them terribly in debt.

    Chapter 1
  • January 1902

    Jurgis hurts his ankle and loses his job; he slips into depression.

    Chapter 11
  • Spring 1902

    Jurgis begins working at the fertilizer plant; he starts drinking.

    Chapter 13
  • December 1902

    Jurgis learns Ona is a prostitute; he attacks Connor and is sent to jail.

    Chapter 15
  • 30 days later

    Jurgis is released; the family loses their house; Ona dies in childbirth.

    Chapter 18
  • Spring 1903

    Jurgis works in the steel mill but becomes a tramp after baby Antanas drowns.

    Chapter 20
  • January 1904

    Back in Chicago, Jurgis experiences various setbacks, then becomes Jack Duane's partner in crime.

    Chapter 25
  • Summer 1905

    Workers at the beef plants strike; Jurgis is made foreman before attacking Connor again.

    Chapter 26
  • Autumn 1905

    Jurgis is reunited with Marija and the rest of his family; he discovers socialism.

    Chapter 27

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Chapter 1 The novel opens with scenes of an immigrant wedding reception in the Chicago meatpacking district during the early 1900s... Read More
Chapter 2 The novel flashes back to when Jurgis and his family were still in Lithuania. Jurgis had been a hard-working farm boy, s... Read More
Chapter 3 As the delicatessen owner, Jokubas has enough connections in town to find work for Jonas and old Antanas. Jurgis lines u... Read More
Chapter 4 Jonas happily begins his new job at the meatpacking plant. His job is to use a heavy broom to sweep the "smoking entrail... Read More
Chapter 5 The family spends every waking moment planning its move into the new house. They have only three days from when they sig... Read More
Chapter 6 Because they are so in love, Jurgis and Ona are eager to get married even though they don't have any money for the recep... Read More
Chapter 7 Jurgis and Ona's wedding reception has left them $100 in debt. As a result, Jurgis begins his disillusionment with Ameri... Read More
Chapter 8 Despite the brutal winter, Marija finds happiness when she falls in love with Tamoszius Kuszleika, the fiddle player fro... Read More
Chapter 9 One of the immediate benefits of joining the union is that a man arranges for Jurgis to get his American citizenship. He... Read More
Chapter 10 Spring arrives but the family is barely scraping by. Marija has given up hope of getting married because she knows she c... Read More
Chapter 11 Marija finds a job as a beef trimmer in a canning factory. She is able to begin saving again, and once again begins drea... Read More
Chapter 12 After three weeks, Jurgis attempts to return to work, but the pain in his ankle is excruciating. He finally calls a doct... Read More
Chapter 13 Jurgis continues to search for work, knocking on every door in Packingtown, twice. When he realizes he has no other opti... Read More
Chapter 14 This chapter summarizes many of the disgusting meat-packing practices that were commonplace at the time of the novel's p... Read More
Chapter 15 Ona's fits of hysteria continue, and Jurgis begins to wonder what is causing them. When he looks at her, he no longer se... Read More
Chapter 16 Jurgis lies in his jail cell and considers the actions that put him here. At first, he feels proud to have gotten the be... Read More
Chapter 17 The next morning, Jurgis meets his cellmate, a "cracksman" named Jack Duane. Jurgis is immediately enamored with Duane b... Read More
Chapter 18 Released from prison, Jurgis has only the clothes on his back. It is raining and the streets are full of slush, but Jurg... Read More
Chapter 19 Jurgis rushes down the street to the house of Madame Haupt, the Dutch midwife. He bounds up the stairs and bangs breathl... Read More
Chapter 20 After a few days drinking his sorrows away, Jurgis returns home, mournful that he has spent his family's money while the... Read More
Chapter 21 Once again desperate and destitute, Jurgis returns to prowling the streets in search of any work. The children bring him... Read More
Chapter 22 Devastated and furious over little Antanas's death, Jurgis turns away from his family without a word and walks away. He ... Read More
Chapter 23 Hoping to beat the rush of homeless men returning to the city in search of winter work, Jurgis returns to Chicago in the... Read More
Chapter 24 While begging one evening, Jurgis has a chance encounter with Frederick Jones, the son of the factory owner Jurgis once ... Read More
Chapter 25 Jurgis takes the $100 into a saloon and asks for change. The bartender agrees to change the large bill if Jurgis buys a ... Read More
Chapter 26 For his work in the vote rigging scandal, Jurgis saves $300. He keeps his job at the hog-killing factory, however, out o... Read More
Chapter 27 Once again Jurgis is homeless, begging on the streets without a chance of finding a job. He survives by saving his penni... Read More
Chapter 28 During a lunch with Marija, Jurgis learns that she has become hopelessly addicted to morphine—as most of the prostitutes... Read More
Chapters 29–31 Jurgis's reality comes crashing back when the speaker finishes and others take their turn. No one captures his imagina... Read More
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