Essay Question: Included in the Midterm Exam is a three-part essay question. The excerpt from…

Essay Question: Included in the Midterm Exam is a three-part essay question. The excerpt from…

Essay Question:

Included in the Midterm Exam is a three-part essay question. The excerpt from Chapter 14 of The Jungle will provide the basis for answering that question. The Jungle excerpt can be found in the Pearson Reader selection under Unit 6–The Progressive Era. Do not use other sources–just the excerpt I have provided you from The Jungle, Chapter 14. You may use the lecture notes and textbook in a supporting role, if necessary..

You should be able to answer this question successfully in 1 – 2 double spaced pages. Don’t worry about losing your double spacing once you paste your answer into the answer box. I am just using the “double spacing” as a length reference.

Here is your essay question:

Part 1: List one way that the meat packing industry in Chicago abused its workers. Provide one direct, multi-sentence quote from The Jungle, the lecture notes, or the textbook to support your answer.

Part 2: List one way did the meat packing industry in Chicago defiled the meat they were in charge of? Provide one direct, multi-sentence quote from The Jungle, the lecture notes, or the textbook to support your answer.

Part 3: What protections do we have in place today to keep similar abuses from occurring to our workers or the products they produce?

Of course, correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation are expected.


Material for the essay,

“The Jungle,” Chapter 14

The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with

almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or

re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included

with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org

Title: The Jungle

Author: Upton Sinclair

Release Date: March 11, 2006 [EBook #140]

Produced by David Meltzer, Christy Phillips, Scott Coulter,

Leroy Smith and David Widger

THE JUNGLE

by Upton Sinclair, (1906)

Chapter 14

With one member trimming beef in a cannery, and another working in a

sausage factory, the family had a first-hand knowledge of the great

majority of Packingtown swindles. For it was the custom, as they found,

whenever meat was so spoiled that it could not be used for anything

else, either to can it or else to chop it up into sausage. With what had

been told them by Jonas, who had worked in the pickle rooms, they could

now study the whole of the spoiled-meat industry on the inside, and read

a new and grim meaning into that old Packingtown jest–that they use

everything of the pig except the squeal.

Jonas had told them how the meat that was taken out of pickle would

often be found sour, and how they would rub it up with soda to take away

the smell, and sell it to be eaten on free-lunch counters; also of all

the miracles of chemistry which they performed, giving to any sort of

meat, fresh or salted, whole or chopped, any color and any flavor and

any odor they chose. In the pickling of hams they had an ingenious

apparatus, by which they saved time and increased the capacity of the

plant–a machine consisting of a hollow needle attached to a pump; by

plunging this needle into the meat and working with his foot, a man

could fill a ham with pickle in a few seconds. And yet, in spite of

this, there would be hams found spoiled, some of them with an odor so

bad that a man could hardly bear to be in the room with them. To pump

into these the packers had a second and much stronger pickle which

destroyed the odor–a process known to the workers as “giving them

thirty per cent.” Also, after the hams had been smoked, there would be

found some that had gone to the bad. Formerly these had been sold as

“Number Three Grade,” but later on some ingenious person had hit upon

a new device, and now they would extract the bone, about which the bad

part generally lay, and insert in the hole a white-hot iron. After this

invention there was no longer Number One, Two, and Three Grade–there

was only Number One Grade. The packers were always originating such

schemes–they had what they called “boneless hams,” which were all the

odds and ends of pork stuffed into casings; and “California hams,” which

were the shoulders, with big knuckle joints, and nearly all the meat cut

out; and fancy “skinned hams,” which were made of the oldest hogs, whose

skins were so heavy and coarse that no one would buy them–that is,

until they had been cooked and chopped fine and labeled “head cheese!”

It was only when the whole ham was spoiled that it came into the

department of Elzbieta. Cut up by the two-thousand-revolutions-a-minute

flyers, and mixed with half a ton of other meat, no odor that ever was

in a ham could make any difference. There was never the least attention

paid to what was cut up for sausage; there would come all the way back

from Europe old sausage that had been rejected, and that was moldy and

white–it would be dosed with borax and glycerine, and dumped into the

hoppers, and made over again for home consumption. There would be meat

that had tumbled out on the floor, in the dirt and sawdust, where the

workers had tramped and spit uncounted billions of consumption germs.

There would be meat stored in great piles in rooms; and the water from

leaky roofs would drip over it, and thousands of rats would race about

on it. It was too dark in these storage places to see well, but a man

could run his hand over these piles of meat and sweep off handfuls of

the dried dung of rats. These rats were nuisances, and the packers would

put poisoned bread out for them; they would die, and then rats, bread,

and meat would go into the hoppers together. This is no fairy story and

no joke; the meat would be shoveled into carts, and the man who did

the shoveling would not trouble to lift out a rat even when he saw

one–there were things that went into the sausage in comparison with

which a poisoned rat was a tidbit. There was no place for the men

to wash their hands before they ate their dinner, and so they made a

practice of washing them in the water that was to be ladled into the

sausage. There were the butt-ends of smoked meat, and the scraps of

corned beef, and all the odds and ends of the waste of the plants, that

would be dumped into old barrels in the cellar and left there. Under the

system of rigid economy which the packers enforced, there were some jobs

that it only paid to do once in a long time, and among these was the

cleaning out of the waste barrels. Every spring they did it; and in

the barrels would be dirt and rust and old nails and stale water–and

cartload after cartload of it would be taken up and dumped into the

hoppers with fresh meat, and sent out to the public’s breakfast. Some of

it they would make into “smoked” sausage–but as the smoking took

time, and was therefore expensive, they would call upon their chemistry

department, and preserve it with borax and color it with gelatine to

make it brown. All of their sausage came out of the same bowl, but when

they came to wrap it they would stamp some of it “special,” and for this

they would charge two cents more a pound.

Such were the new surroundings in which Elzbieta was placed, and such

was the work she was compelled to do. It was stupefying, brutalizing

work; it left her no time to think, no strength for anything. She was

part of the machine she tended, and every faculty that was not needed

for the machine was doomed to be crushed out of existence. There was

only one mercy about the cruel grind–that it gave her the gift of

insensibility. Little by little she sank into a torpor–she fell silent.

She would meet Jurgis and Ona in the evening, and the three would walk

home together, often without saying a word. Ona, too, was falling into a

habit of silence–Ona, who had once gone about singing like a bird. She

was sick and miserable, and often she would barely have strength enough

to drag herself home. And there they would eat what they had to eat, and

afterward, because there was only their misery to talk of, they would

crawl into bed and fall into a stupor and never stir until it was time

to get up again, and dress by candlelight, and go back to the machines.

They were so numbed that they did not even suffer much from hunger, now;

only the children continued to fret when the food ran short.

Yet the soul of Ona was not dead–the souls of none of them were dead,

but only sleeping; and now and then they would waken, and these were

cruel times. The gates of memory would roll open–old joys would stretch

out their arms to them, old hopes and dreams would call to them, and

they would stir beneath the burden that lay upon them, and feel its

forever immeasurable weight. They could not even cry out beneath it; but

anguish would seize them, more dreadful than the agony of death. It was

a thing scarcely to be spoken–a thing never spoken by all the world,

that will not know its own defeat.

They were beaten; they had lost the game, they were swept aside. It

was not less tragic because it was so sordid, because it had to do with

wages and grocery bills and rents. They had dreamed of freedom; of a

chance to look about them and learn something; to be decent and clean,

to see their child grow up to be strong. And now it was all gone–it

would never be! They had played the game and they had lost. Six years

more of toil they had to face before they could expect the least

respite, the cessation of the payments upon the house; and how cruelly

certain it was that they could never stand six years of such a life as

they were living! They were lost, they were going down–and there was

no deliverance for them, no hope; for all the help it gave them the vast

city in which they lived might have been an ocean waste, a wilderness, a

desert, a tomb. So often this mood would come to Ona, in the nighttime,

when something wakened her; she would lie, afraid of the beating of her

own heart, fronting the blood-red eyes of the old primeval terror of

life. Once she cried aloud, and woke Jurgis, who was tired and cross.

After that she learned to weep silently–their moods so seldom came

together now! It was as if their hopes were buried in separate graves.

Jurgis, being a man, had troubles of his own. There was another specter

following him. He had never spoken of it, nor would he allow any one

else to speak of it–he had never acknowledged its existence to himself.

Yet the battle with it took all the manhood that he had–and once or

twice, alas, a little more. Jurgis had discovered drink.

He was working in the steaming pit of hell; day after day, week after

week–until now, there was not an organ of his body that did its work

without pain, until the sound of ocean breakers echoed in his head day

and night, and the buildings swayed and danced before him as he went

down the street. And from all the unending horror of this there was a

respite, a deliverance–he could drink! He could forget the pain, he

could slip off the burden; he would see clearly again, he would be

master of his brain, of his thoughts, of his will. His dead self would

stir in him, and he would find himself laughing and cracking jokes with

his companions–he would be a man again, and master of his life.

It was not an easy thing for Jurgis to take more than two or three

drinks. With the first drink he could eat a meal, and he could persuade

himself that that was economy; with the second he could eat another

meal–but there would come a time when he could eat no more, and then

to pay for a drink was an unthinkable extravagance, a defiance of the

agelong instincts of his hunger-haunted class. One day, however, he took

the plunge, and drank up all that he had in his pockets, and went home

half “piped,” as the men phrase it. He was happier than he had been in a

year; and yet, because he knew that the happiness would not last, he was

savage, too with those who would wreck it, and with the world, and with

his life; and then again, beneath this, he was sick with the shame of

himself. Afterward, when he saw the despair of his family, and reckoned

up the money he had spent, the tears came into his eyes, and he began

the long battle with the specter.

It was a battle that had no end, that never could have one. But Jurgis

did not realize that very clearly; he was not given much time for

reflection. He simply knew that he was always fighting. Steeped in

misery and despair as he was, merely to walk down the street was to be

put upon the rack. There was surely a saloon on the corner–perhaps on

all four corners, and some in the middle of the block as well; and each

one stretched out a hand to him each one had a personality of its own,

allurements unlike any other. Going and coming–before sunrise and

after dark–there was warmth and a glow of light, and the steam of hot

food, and perhaps music, or a friendly face, and a word of good cheer.

Jurgis developed a fondness for having Ona on his arm whenever he went

out on the street, and he would hold her tightly, and walk fast. It was

pitiful to have Ona know of this–it drove him wild to think of it; the

thing was not fair, for Ona had never tasted drink, and so could not

understand. Sometimes, in desperate hours, he would find himself wishing

that she might learn what it was, so that he need not be ashamed in her

presence. They might drink together, and escape from the horror–escape

for a while, come what would.

So there came a time when nearly all the conscious life of Jurgis

consisted of a struggle with the craving for liquor. He would have ugly

moods, when he hated Ona and the whole family, because they stood in his

way. He was a fool to have married; he had tied himself down, had made

himself a slave. It was all because he was a married man that he was

compelled to stay in the yards; if it had not been for that he might

have gone off like Jonas, and to hell with the packers. There were few

single men in the fertilizer mill–and those few were working only for a

chance to escape. Meantime, too, they had something to think about while

they worked,–they had the memory of the last time they had been drunk,

and the hope of the time when they would be drunk again. As for Jurgis,

he was expected to bring home every penny; he could not even go with

the men at noontime–he was supposed to sit down and eat his dinner on a

pile of fertilizer dust.

This was not always his mood, of course; he still loved his family. But

just now was a time of trial. Poor little Antanas, for instance–who

had never failed to win him with a smile–little Antanas was not smiling

just now, being a mass of fiery red pimples. He had had all the diseases

that babies are heir to, in quick succession, scarlet fever, mumps, and

whooping cough in the first year, and now he was down with the measles.

There was no one to attend him but Kotrina; there was no doctor to

help him, because they were too poor, and children did not die of the

measles–at least not often. Now and then Kotrina would find time to sob

over his woes, but for the greater part of the time he had to be left

alone, barricaded upon the bed. The floor was full of drafts, and if he

caught cold he would die. At night he was tied down, lest he should kick

the covers off him, while the family lay in their stupor of exhaustion.

He would lie and scream for hours, almost in convulsions; and then, when

he was worn out, he would lie whimpering and wailing in his torment.

He was burning up with fever, and his eyes were running sores; in

the daytime he was a thing uncanny and impish to behold, a plaster of

pimples and sweat, a great purple lump of misery.

Yet all this was not really as cruel as it sounds, for, sick as he was,

little Antanas was the least unfortunate member of that family. He

was quite able to bear his sufferings–it was as if he had all these

complaints to show what a prodigy of health he was. He was the child of

his parents’ youth and joy; he grew up like the conjurer’s rosebush, and

all the world was his oyster. In general, he toddled around the kitchen

all day with a lean and hungry look–the portion of the family’s

allowance that fell to him was not enough, and he was unrestrainable in

his demand for more. Antanas was but little over a year old, and already

no one but his father could manage him.

It seemed as if he had taken all of his mother’s strength–had left

nothing for those that might come after him. Ona was with child again

now, and it was a dreadful thing to contemplate; even Jurgis, dumb and

despairing as he was, could not but understand that yet other agonies

were on the way, and shudder at the thought of them.

For Ona was visibly going to pieces. In the first place she was

developing a cough, like the one that had killed old Dede Antanas. She

had had a trace of it ever since that fatal morning when the greedy

streetcar corporation had turned her out into the rain; but now it was

beginning to grow serious, and to wake her up at night. Even worse than

that was the fearful nervousness from which she suffered; she would have

frightful headaches and fits of aimless weeping; and sometimes she would

come home at night shuddering and moaning, and would fling herself down

upon the bed and burst into tears. Several times she was quite beside

herself and hysterical; and then Jurgis would go half-mad with fright.

Elzbieta would explain to him that it could not be helped, that a woman

was subject to such things when she was pregnant; but he was hardly to

be persuaded, and would beg and plead to know what had happened. She

had never been like this before, he would argue–it was monstrous and

unthinkable. It was the life she had to live, the accursed work she had

to do, that was killing her by inches. She was not fitted for it–no

woman was fitted for it, no woman ought to be allowed to do such work;

if the world could not keep them alive any other way it ought to kill

them at once and be done with it. They ought not to marry, to have

children; no workingman ought to marry–if he, Jurgis, had known what a

woman was like, he would have had his eyes torn out first. So he would

carry on, becoming half hysterical himself, which was an unbearable

thing to see in a big man; Ona would pull herself together and fling

herself into his arms, begging him to stop, to be still, that she would

be better, it would be all right. So she would lie and sob out her

grief upon his shoulder, while he gazed at her, as helpless as a wounded

animal, the target of unseen enemies.

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