Jurgis Rudkus: Character Analysis

Jurgis Rudkus: Character Analysis
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The Jungle is a novel written by Upton Sinclair. It brings out a dramatic view of immigrants and other people when they were exposed to brutal conditions while in Chicago stockyards back in the nineteenth century. At these times, they were struggling to get a share in the American Dream so as to achieve multicultural diversity together. It portrays the lives of the immigrants in the US in Chicago and other developing countries. In this novel, Upton emphasizes more on the violations of health and very low sanitary conditions in the American industry for packing meat. The writer talks more about poverty levels, inefficient social support, poor living, and working conditions. Lack of hope among many health workers also is explained. Corruption among those in power has also been brought to the forefront. Corruption in government and business was brought up.

The main character of this novel is called Jurgis Rudkus. He is an immigrant who, like his colleagues, is trying to survive in Chicago. Together with his accomplices, Rudkus lives with his family next to the Meatpacking District in which most of the inhabitants are not so proficient in the English language. In the course of his struggles, he undergoes the following changes:
            After marrying his wife and made a wedding, Rudkus and his family settled near the place where they keep stock and pack meat. Many people who came here have low knowledge of English. Rudkus was lucky to take a job at Brown’s slaughterhouse. In his mind, Rudkus thought to get more freedom. The working conditions were unfavorable. They worked hard to earn a living. They even ended up in debt and some instances coned. They decided to live in a slum house this was with the intention of keeping money to buy a better house. However, they were unfortunate when their money was taken and then chased from that place. Rudkus worked to assist his family, relatives especially his sick father but due to the strain, they all were forced to work. Therefore, Rudkus had a good heart to help thou there were limitations that hindered him.

                    After coming out of jail, Rudkus finds that his family has evicted from their home and were staying with relatives. These show the high level of poverty they were experiencing. He finds Ona in labor for the second child due to a lack of money to take her to the doctor Ona died while giving birth. The cause of the death was excessive bleeding that could have been intervened in the hospital. At her death, she was only eighteen years. Rudkus first child drowned in a muddy street, this shows the low level of development in the area. The life of Rudkus was hopeless with the loss of his wife and his child. He decided to leave the city and ends up drinking. He began a job in the rural U.S but was unfortunate as he realized after harvesting was over farmers turned their workers away. He decided to return to Chicago and succeeded in his laboring jobs.

On the other hand, Rudkus also experienced physical changes in his life. These affected his well-being as a person and also that of his family. The means of survival led to their physical deterioration. Accidents at work affected the lives of Rudkus and his family. He encountered an injury at work that made him retrenched which made him shift to work at Durham’s fertilizer plant. As a person who was wholly dependent on his energy, he could not do much after getting injured. This really interfered with the rate of his prosperity.

                At the same time, Rudkus also underwent moral changes. These are events that showed the portrayal of the moral standards of the family. Ona’s boss (Connor) raped her and made her job dependent after giving in to his sexual favors. These showed a high level of immorality that was due to the substitution of employment. As expressed by Onas. ‘I tried –I tried not to do it. I only did it –to save us…Rudkus’ was angry with this that made him retaliate. He attacked Connor hence ended up being taken to prison.’ After coming from the US as a hobo on his return to Chicago, he became a con-man who didn’t have direction with life. Nevertheless, he was employed by a few socialists where he rebuilt his morality and supported his wife’s family.

In conclusion, The Jungle is a very interesting novel that gives a clear depiction of the living conditions and challenges faced by the immigrants in Chicago. As demonstrated by Jurgis Rudkus, these immigrants faced a lot of challenges in this society. With their illiteracy, they could not get any good job to do. As a protagonist of the novel, Rudkus underwent several challenges that eventually made him be who he was. Had it not been for such changes, his life would have definitely taken a different direction.