Jurgis in The Jungle Essay

Jurgis in The Jungle Essay

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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 at...

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...ow of what was happening unlike when he first moved to America and could barely even speak the language; he was growing mentally, not physically. Jurgis found Socialism as his religion which is what really saved him from himself. It gave him new hope, new opportunity, and confidence in the “jungle” of a world he lived in.

The villainy effect Jurgis has on this novel enhances it in means of showing how so many men in this time period survived. In the beginning he wanted everything for his family, and by the end he cared only for himself. He gained an exclusive temper, living his life like a yo-yo having high times and low times. It really was survival for the fittest and if you were not fit enough you would not survive. Jurgis was a not a villain per say, but he lived a villainous lifestyle in the way he was beaten down by so many obstacles that were thrown at him.

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