Jurgis In The Jungle Essay

1005 words - 4 pages

In The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair, Jurgis is the most complex character throughout the novel. He demonstrates many characteristics that sets him aside from the other characters and also utilizes the title of villain. He is not necessarily an evil man by nature, but does portray an evil life by existence.

In the beginning, Jurgis was a man of great muscles and strength. “…and he was young, and a giant besides. There was too much health in him. He could not even imagine how it would feel to be beaten.”(23) He was a country boy, meaning he was use to lifting things and from that became strong, which was a physical feature Packingtown seemed to like, leaving Jurgis excited knowing he could easily become employed as he and his family arrived in Chicago.

Besides strength, Jurgis was a curious man who yearned to learn the American culture, the language, and get ahead to live the life other than a poor Lithuanian immigrant. He loved his family, especially his wife, Ona, and worked hard to ensure all their basic needs were provided. He learned quickly, while working for the Beef Trust, that he had to work independently and not rely upon others to get the job done. An accident left Jurgis with a broken ankle and shortly afterward unemployed. The beginning of Jurgis’ violent episodes of anger and violence was introduced when “…little Stanislovas spent most of the day dancing about in horrible agony, till Jurgis flew into a passion of nervous rage and swore like a madman, declaring he would kill him if he did not stop.”(131) Another example of his violence was when Ona admitted to him that her supervisor, Phil Conner, had threatened her and her family’s employment if she would not be his mistress. Jurgis flew into such a rage that he attacked Conner. “He ran like one possessed, blindly, furiously, looking neither to the right nor left...He put up his hands to protect his face, but Jurgis, lunging with all the power of his arms and body, struck him fairly between the eyes and knocked him backwards…half a dozen men had seized him by the legs and shoulders pulling at him…he had bent down and sunk his teeth into the man’s cheek; and when they tore him away he was dripping with blood, and the little ribbons of skin were hanging in his mouth.”(166-168) This was the time in his life when hatred and villainous actions had consumed him, realizing it was an every man for himself kind of world that he was living. His anger was becoming him and he was now becoming his anger.

After the death of his wife, newborn child, and his oldest son, he disappeared, leaving not only the wickedness of Chicago behind but his remaining family as well. He quickly learned the lifestyle and ways of a hobo in order to barely survive. He went to the country and lived off of what...

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