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fanuzzir
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Chapters 7-15: Sausage and more

These are the chapters that inspired a nation to pass serious legislation governing food purity and preparation. Could you tell? These is much more than policy being promoted here: there is family drama and personal striving. No wonder Sinclair insisted he had been aiming for the hearts of his readers, not their stomachs.
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atlantic1018
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***SPOILER*** SICKNESS PREVAILS; NATURE SEAMS THE ENDS OF DESPAIR

Although the family is getting physicially sickened and impoverished in every way possible, they continue to work. They must live to eat and eat to live, work to eat,work to live.

Nature will save those that are outcasts of society and misplaced in a world where inevitable ideals consume innocent families; the weak are forced to turn to the weaker and to consume them. It is merely a struggle between the strongest and fittest. It is in Darwin's words, "the survival of the fittest."

Tamoszius, a fiddle-playing and devout musician, brings joy to a world of complete and absolute devastation. One must look on the "bright side," but when the "bright side" is no longer and when one sits in a prison cell, the only place he/she can look is to a greater force, be it religion or government, one must turn their hearts and souls to a greater force.

Jurgis's misinterpreted American Dream is once again misinterpreted by fellow Lithuanians; one can only wish for so much. Immigrants face the treachery of America during this time period: their American Dream is crushed when they see the harshness of their bosses and perhaps their fellow workers.

America, for the poor immigrants, is a sanctuary; they look upon it with such zeal that they are caught up in their fascinations. Unless they have real connections (which the Rudkus family once believed to have but where misled) these immigrants are doomed to demise and a slow but sure death. Sinclair carefully crafts the work of a genius; he is sympathetic towards the workers because he feels devoted to portray the evils of the old American government. "New America" is also flawed with traditional and Conservative ideals; any extreme is too much. Moderation is good, but even I have a problem with that. Some consider Liberalism a mental disorder, but Liberals epitomize the fight for help and for the relief of workers.
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atlantic1018
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Re: ***SPOILER*** THE HOUSE AND THE CAN

The fate of the family now lies within the house that they have purchased. The house is the epitome of the meat can. Beautiful on the outside, unexpected on the inside. The can and the house are veils to rotten insides. They foreshadow the rottenness of the AMerican Dream which appears to be such a beautifully crafted scheme to impose the cruelest punishments upon those who least expect it.
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vivico1
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Re: Chapters 7-15: Sausage and more/SPOILER CHPTRS 7-9


fanuzzir wrote:
These are the chapters that inspired a nation to pass serious legislation governing food purity and preparation. Could you tell? These is much more than policy being promoted here: there is family drama and personal striving. No wonder Sinclair insisted he had been aiming for the hearts of his readers, not their stomachs.


Fanuzzir,
You are so right here, in just these three chapters I have read of this section already! There is a lot of human drama going on. Did Sinclair ever write a love story? WOW there are some here. In chptr 7, the way he describes Jurgis and his all consuming need to be Ona's hero, how he loves her is so wonderful. You have the starting of their new life together, and the ending of someone else's life. Both with some hardships but still, one with hopes, the other with release at least.

I sit here at home bundled up in front of a fire with a good book,it being such a cold day and severe weather predicted for this weekend, with warnings of power outages, and read of these people with no heat ALL the time. Winter, so cold, so painful and so thoroughly described. Is it (winter) not like the stockyards and town itself? Ready to take the life of the weakest, always bringing fear and misery. Jurgis is becoming as disillusioned as the older ones who know. He is hardening to all but his beloved Ona, who can make the mighty man weep.

Then you have Marija! Ahh, a new love affair and so wonderfully told, you see it all. Hope, love, tenderness, a respite for a moment only to be smashed with the loss of her job! OOOOO, that mad me so mad! I love when Sinclair describes these relationships, he does it so well.

Fanuzzir, you said in one post to someone, you feared there was not one joke to be had in this book but I have to say, tho not a joke, I did find something rather humorous. Its when Jurgis now decides unions may be a good thing and he has signed naturalization papers and the union is explaining the American political situation to him. Its sad of course but sounds so true in the telling, you have to laugh at how it is explained: Democracy is made up of elected officials from two rival sets of grafters. ROFL!! (roll on floor laughing) and the one who wins is the one who bought the most votes! lol lol. Oh I loved this explanation! And Jonas offering the leader to vote 3 times for $4 hehehe, which is ACCEPTED!!! Ya got to love this scene! I love America, wouldnt want to live anywhere else and I do believe in the process but oh how true this rings in so many ways lol. Hey, with what Jurgis has been through, it made sense to him...unfortunately really.

Reading now about the things they threw into the food products and sold is, in one way an eye opener, in another way,not so much. After all, we know what is in hotdogs and we still eat them. We even find insects and an occassional human part, that hits the news but we soon forget.

Well on to chapter 10.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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fanuzzir
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Re: ***SPOILER*** THE HOUSE AND THE CAN

Excellent connection. The job, the house, the kids, the car--all these things that are part of the American dream are the trap that the immigrant system uses to exploit workers. There's no true capitalism in this world, if you regard it as two informed parties. Making his laboring force naive immigrants lets Sinclair disavow the chance that capitalism might actually work.
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vivico1
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Re: Chapters 7-15: Sausage and more/ SPOILER chptrs 10-15 the house.


fanuzzir wrote:
These are the chapters that inspired a nation to pass serious legislation governing food purity and preparation. Could you tell? These is much more than policy being promoted here: there is family drama and personal striving. No wonder Sinclair insisted he had been aiming for the hearts of his readers, not their stomachs.


There is so much talk in these chapters of the bitterness and harshness of winter, much more even than the stiffling heat of summer, that I really am seeing Winter as much as a metaphor for the packinghouse and how it is ran, as the plight of the hogs were to me for the plight of the immigrants. Winter was terrifying,something to get through to live, something to live through and hope for the respite of spring. Fighting the elements was as numbing and dangerous as fighting the stockyards and its taskmasters.

Fanuzzir? I have a question. From the moment they "purchased" the house, it has been a constant battle to have the income to keep it. They worried about all the "extra" costs from the moment they found out and had to put more to work for it too. What is confusing to me in these chapters is, how did they manage to keep the house at all? You have members of the family dying, some getting sick. Jonas runs off or is assumed to have and worst of all Jurgis, the big bread winner, is laid up for months unable to work. Heck even Marija loses her job and finally gets one for less money and sometimes when things are slack, they may only get a half hour's wages for hanging around all day!

By chapter 15,there is a real fear of starving to death here. They are just trying to stay alive at this point and things have become so miserable and depressing, our hero Jurgis has taken to drink to escape and now we are getting the first talk about what Ona has been doing to try to help out. I just feel like saying, Sinclair, you are stretching them so thin, how are they still in the house! And yes, you are starting to get some good visual ideas of why legislation governing food purity was past.

I understand what the house symbolizes in the story, but I do get stuck with that point of, how are they still in it at all? Got some other ideas for another post, different topic.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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vivico1
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Re: Chapters 7-15: Sausage and more SPOILER chptrs 10-15 the beasts

Aside for the things I said on my other posts on these chapters, there were a couple of things that really caught my eye. Jurgis is becoming an embittered man who hasn't much left in him for any of the affection you read till now for his Ona or the newer heartfilling feelings for his newborn son. He has lost his confidence because of what he sees and fights daily.

Very early on, I talked about a place I worked where the workers always talked about the company's unspoken motto (ours for them) of "use them up, wear them out, get them out". And this was one of the nations biggest corporations,still is. Anyway,in chapter 12, I about froze at the nearness of the same terms and feelings. "The pecular bitterness of all this was that Jurgis saw so plainly the meaning of it. In the beginning he was fresh and strong....now he was second-hand, a damaged article...they did not want him. They had got the best of out of him, they had worn him out....and now they had thrown him away!" I was lucky tho, when I was used up, not physically as he was, but mentally, psychologically, and thrown away, I at least had the benefits there to help me out that our union had wagered for us that got me through. And I went through two long strikes of no pay to get those too. He had no such help from their "unions". It was a harder time too, to even get one going that had any teeth at all.

The other thing that hit me, was just how badly they were losing the fight and what they were doing to each other because of it, which often happens given such circumstances. Jurgis is so completely out of it by chapter 15 with no way to fight back that when he finds out what the man had done with Ona, this man becomes the whole horrendous machine that was killing everything in them. He IS the packinghouse, but one Jurgis can fight and get his pain and frustrations out on.

"To Jurgis this man's whole presence reeked of the crime he had committed," (not just the crime to Ona but the whole business's crime to all of them)" the touch of his body was madness to him-it set every nerve of him a tremble, it aroused all the demon in his soul. It had worked its will upon Ona, this great beast.." He is definately seeing before him more than the man who violated his wife but the IT, the great beast that was the stockyards with all its bosses and conditions that were tearing from within him everything good and he knew it. So he tore into this man with the fury he could not show to the place he was trapped in, to keep his family alive. Yes, Sinclair was definately aiming at the hearts of his readers.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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Choisya
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Re: Chapters 7-15: Sausage and more SPOILER chptrs 10-15 the beasts

Super insightful post Vivico - thanks a lot.

'I was lucky tho, when I was used up, not physically as he was, but mentally, psychologically, and thrown away, I at least had the benefits there to help me out that our union had wagered for us that got me through. And I went through two long strikes of no pay to get those too. He had no such help from their unions.' I was very pleased to hear this about you Vivico. It is so good to know that the fights of the Jurgis' (and Sinclairs) have had some good effects on Americans today because yes, the 'beasts' are still there and, if anything, more powerful. Which industry were you in Vivico? (The American saying which some employers have adopted over here, post-Thatcher and Milton Friedman, is 'treat 'em mean to keep 'em keen, which means the same thing as 'use them up' etc. :smileysad: ).




vivico1 wrote:
Aside for the things I said on my other posts on these chapters, there were a couple of things that really caught my eye. Jurgis is becoming an embittered man who hasn't much left in him for any of the affection you read till now for his Ona or the newer heartfilling feelings for his newborn son. He has lost his confidence because of what he sees and fights daily.

Very early on, I talked about a place I worked where the workers always talked about the company's unspoken motto (ours for them) of "use them up, wear them out, get them out". And this was one of the nations biggest corporations,still is. Anyway,in chapter 12, I about froze at the nearness of the same terms and feelings. "The pecular bitterness of all this was that Jurgis saw so plainly the meaning of it. In the beginning he was fresh and strong....now he was second-hand, a damaged article...they did not want him. They had got the best of out of him, they had worn him out....and now they had thrown him away!" I was lucky tho, when I was used up, not physically as he was, but mentally, psychologically, and thrown away, I at least had the benefits there to help me out that our union had wagered for us that got me through. And I went through two long strikes of no pay to get those too. He had no such help from their "unions". It was a harder time too, to even get one going that had any teeth at all.

The other thing that hit me, was just how badly they were losing the fight and what they were doing to each other because of it, which often happens given such circumstances. Jurgis is so completely out of it by chapter 15 with no way to fight back that when he finds out what the man had done with Ona, this man becomes the whole horrendous machine that was killing everything in them. He IS the packinghouse, but one Jurgis can fight and get his pain and frustrations out on.

"To Jurgis this man's whole presence reeked of the crime he had committed," (not just the crime to Ona but the whole business's crime to all of them)" the touch of his body was madness to him-it set every nerve of him a tremble, it aroused all the demon in his soul. It had worked its will upon Ona, this great beast.." He is definately seeing before him more than the man who violated his wife but the IT, the great beast that was the stockyards with all its bosses and conditions that were tearing from within him everything good and he knew it. So he tore into this man with the fury he could not show to the place he was trapped in, to keep his family alive. Yes, Sinclair was definately aiming at the hearts of his readers.


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vivico1
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Re: Chapters 7-15: Sausage and more/the story

Choisya,
I love our talks about the things we havetaked about. But also, I know you have read the book through and without going into things to come, tell me what you think about the characters in the book,at this point, chapters 7-15 and the feelings they invoke in you. Fanuzzi asked somewhere on this thread about not only are these the chapters that brought about legislative change, but also there were great family dramas unfolding. Our views on socialism vs democracy aside, discuss these chapters with me please? I find this such a facinating book, for many reasons and I would love to hear your thoughts about what is happening at this stage. Rather than us being at our political rally :smileywink:, and since no one else has yet, talk to me about these chapters as i read on some more ok? I would love to hear your thoughts on the story. :smileyhappy: thanks

p.s. if for any reason, you find no posts from me for any length of time, we are right at the start of what they think will be one of our most major ice storms. It has just started here in Oklahoma and already this morning we have had fatalities :smileysad: , if i am not here, the biggest concern they have for all of us, are power outages. They are saying with the amount of ice they are predicting, hanging on powerlines and transformers, they will happen, we just dont know where in Oklahoma that they will or how long it will take to get power back. The last ice storm of this magnitude we had was in 2002 and there were broken trees and powerlines and things from the weight of it all, that some towns were without power for weeks. I lucked out to not be in those parts but I am right in the line of fire for this one. I intend to just stay home, inside, they sure are trying to keep people off the roads they are already so bad, but if i lose power, I am not sure what i will do.I will try to hang in here during the day and see if the power gets back on to heat my home, but after that, I may have to find some way to get out on the ice and out of my home to someplace safer.This is pretty scary and all the programs are off tv but the weather and road conditions. Keep good thoughts for us here. As I live alone, its just me and my two cats to worry about, but I do have friends in my church, that all check in on each other by phone to make sure everyone is ok. This is suppose to last till monday. The temps are below freezing for the highs and will be for a week, so it will be quite hard to stay with no heat. How Jurgis and their family did it and live, is beyond me. I know that by monday, we will be getting a death count of people who did succumb to the temperatures, mostly elderly with no family to look in on them and think they can make it on their own without calling for the police or fire department or SOMEONE to come get them out. I hope the homeless have all gathered to the shelters. So for now, I am here, and reading, to keep my mind off it and just trying to stay safe and warm. :smileyhappy:
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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Choisya
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Re: Vivico : Ona (Spoiler)

I am very sorry to hear that you are expecting 'ice storms' Vivico and hope that you and your family will keep safe and warm.

You set me a task because it is difficult for me to comment on any part of the novel without seeing the political implications. Which is, of course, what Upton Sinclair intended:smileyhappy: I am assuming you have now read beyond Chapter 15:-

I find Ona a sad character and somewhat stereotypical - male writers always assuming that if things do not work out, women will turn to prostitution. Ona is her husband's opposite: She is 'blue-eyed and fair, while Jurgis had great black eyes with beetling brows.' She has some education: he has none. She is tiny 'small for her age, a mere child'; Jurgis is huge, with 'mighty shoulders' and 'giant hands.' The implication is that Jurgis is her protector, that she cannot manage alone, like Marija, a much stronger character (until...). Life in Chicago is brutal and takes its toll on Ona both mentally and physically. Mentally because she is tricked into taking a lover which gives her 'fearful nervousness' and 'fits of aimless weeping', another stereotypical portrayal of a woman. When Jurgis confronts her she says 'He would have ruined us....I only did it to save us' - a classic cry, worthy of a Victorian fallen woman! The scene where Jurgis confronts her is also worthy of a Victorian melodrama. Ona dies in childbirth at the age of 18, four years after their meeting, two years after their marriage, having lived less than three years in America.:smileysad:

Is she an heroic character who does her best for her family or was she a passive victim of the capitalist system. Did Sinclair see her as representing the fate which will befall all immigrant forces in industrial America if they do not fight back? (Oops politics again!!) She dies in agony because they cannot afford medical help - another pointer by Sinclair to the lack of such help available to the poor (and another pointer to America today).

I felt that Upton Sinclair had a low regard for women and I know that his own marriage was an unhappy and sexless one. He seems better at describing men and their feelings and their more active approach to the difficulties they are faced with.





vivico1 wrote:
Choisya,
I love our talks about the things we havetaked about. But also, I know you have read the book through and without going into things to come, tell me what you think about the characters in the book,at this point, chapters 7-15 and the feelings they invoke in you. Fanuzzi asked somewhere on this thread about not only are these the chapters that brought about legislative change, but also there were great family dramas unfolding. Our views on socialism vs democracy aside, discuss these chapters with me please? I find this such a facinating book, for many reasons and I would love to hear your thoughts about what is happening at this stage. Rather than us being at our political rally :smileywink:, and since no one else has yet, talk to me about these chapters as i read on some more ok? I would love to hear your thoughts on the story. :smileyhappy: thanks

p.s. if for any reason, you find no posts from me for any length of time, we are right at the start of what they think will be one of our most major ice storms. It has just started here in Oklahoma and already this morning we have had fatalities :smileysad: , if i am not here, the biggest concern they have for all of us, are power outages. They are saying with the amount of ice they are predicting, hanging on powerlines and transformers, they will happen, we just dont know where in Oklahoma that they will or how long it will take to get power back. The last ice storm of this magnitude we had was in 2002 and there were broken trees and powerlines and things from the weight of it all, that some towns were without power for weeks. I lucked out to not be in those parts but I am right in the line of fire for this one. I intend to just stay home, inside, they sure are trying to keep people off the roads they are already so bad, but if i lose power, I am not sure what i will do.I will try to hang in here during the day and see if the power gets back on to heat my home, but after that, I may have to find some way to get out on the ice and out of my home to someplace safer.This is pretty scary and all the programs are off tv but the weather and road conditions. Keep good thoughts for us here. As I live alone, its just me and my two cats to worry about, but I do have friends in my church, that all check in on each other by phone to make sure everyone is ok. This is suppose to last till monday. The temps are below freezing for the highs and will be for a week, so it will be quite hard to stay with no heat. How Jurgis and their family did it and live, is beyond me. I know that by monday, we will be getting a death count of people who did succumb to the temperatures, mostly elderly with no family to look in on them and think they can make it on their own without calling for the police or fire department or SOMEONE to come get them out. I hope the homeless have all gathered to the shelters. So for now, I am here, and reading, to keep my mind off it and just trying to stay safe and warm. :smileyhappy:


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vivico1
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Re: Vivico : Ona (Spoiler) and SPOILER FOR CHAPTERS BEYOND 15!

geessh, i got to get better at looking at your message subject header, rather than just opening your response to me! I am at chapter 18 just now and ONA HASNT DIED!! YET!!! :smileysad: This is so the problem with bookclubs vs the old format. This wasnt your fault either,I SHOULD have read the header not opened it but its also why i said, sticking to just chapters 7-15 please.

I didnt mean Choisya, that you cant look at the political implications of the situation or characters lol, haven't I discussed them as they appear in the book too? I just meant, as long as its in context with the story, not the sidelines we got off on of just talking politics and not the book. :smileywink:

I think the stereotype of all male writers thinking women will turn to prostitution if things dont turn out right, it not quite true. It wouldnt fly today. Or for the last several decades for that matter, but maybe for the time period that he is writing. But even if this is so, I dont know thats it so much a slam at women being weaker as another slam at the system of the time, where women are not allowed to be more at work, or much more educated either. When they do go to colleges of the time,its more for a liberal arts vein of study than something that would displace a man's job. So even in this, maybe its that when a slight woman with few options sees those she loves starving and dying, the only strength she has is to use what she does have that the weakness in men will gladly pay for. That weakness in men, is always present. That she was forced to it, again goes to the horrific conditions she had to face AND the inequality of men vs women by the system.

Also, her fearful nervousness and aimless weeping. I dont see this as a stereotype of just weak hysterical women. I saw it from the first as the despair and fear of a woman for what she is going through, which who knows what Conner does to her, but worse, she loves Jurgis and what agony it must be to do such a thing constantly worrying what it will do to the two of them, to him, hes big but so soft hearted towards her, or had been. When he confronts her and pushes, she as much as says so, just dont ask, it will destroy us. This isnt necessarily a stereotype of emotional woman as it is a portrait of the emotional toll of what being brought down to things like this by a corrupt system can do to a person.

DANG I didn't know she dies or how!! I would tell you whats happening where I am at but since others may read this and then I will spoil chapters 16-18, I will just say, thats where i am.

Thank you for your concern for the weather here. The roads are bad, lots of accidents and two deaths but the freezing rain is slowing down, so we should be ok with power through this night. The second bigger wave they say is going to hit tomorrow and tomorrow evening. Its good staying at home reading weather tho.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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Choisya
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Re: Vivico : Ona (Spoiler) and SPOILER FOR CHAPTERS BEYOND 15!

sorry Vivico - I just assumed you had now read past Chapter 15 because you were all holed up!

You are as big a softie as Jurgis, treating the ladies so well:smileyhappy: Yes, it is a sign more of that time than of ours, thank goodness although I still think that Sinclair is treating her more like a Victorian fallen woman than a 1920s Flapper:smileyhappy:

I'll catch up with you tomorrow - watching a play in a mo.






vivico1 wrote:
geessh, i got to get better at looking at your message subject header, rather than just opening your response to me! I am at chapter 18 just now and ONA HASNT DIED!! YET!!! :smileysad: This is so the problem with bookclubs vs the old format. This wasnt your fault either,I SHOULD have read the header not opened it but its also why i said, sticking to just chapters 7-15 please.

I didnt mean Choisya, that you cant look at the political implications of the situation or characters lol, haven't I discussed them as they appear in the book too? I just meant, as long as its in context with the story, not the sidelines we got off on of just talking politics and not the book. :smileywink:

I think the stereotype of all male writers thinking women will turn to prostitution if things dont turn out right, it not quite true. It wouldnt fly today. Or for the last several decades for that matter, but maybe for the time period that he is writing. But even if this is so, I dont know thats it so much a slam at women being weaker as another slam at the system of the time, where women are not allowed to be more at work, or much more educated either. When they do go to colleges of the time,its more for a liberal arts vein of study than something that would displace a man's job. So even in this, maybe its that when a slight woman with few options sees those she loves starving and dying, the only strength she has is to use what she does have that the weakness in men will gladly pay for. That weakness in men, is always present. That she was forced to it, again goes to the horrific conditions she had to face AND the inequality of men vs women by the system.

Also, her fearful nervousness and aimless weeping. I dont see this as a stereotype of just weak hysterical women. I saw it from the first as the despair and fear of a woman for what she is going through, which who knows what Conner does to her, but worse, she loves Jurgis and what agony it must be to do such a thing constantly worrying what it will do to the two of them, to him, hes big but so soft hearted towards her, or had been. When he confronts her and pushes, she as much as says so, just dont ask, it will destroy us. This isnt necessarily a stereotype of emotional woman as it is a portrait of the emotional toll of what being brought down to things like this by a corrupt system can do to a person.

DANG I didn't know she dies or how!! I would tell you whats happening where I am at but since others may read this and then I will spoil chapters 16-18, I will just say, thats where i am.

Thank you for your concern for the weather here. The roads are bad, lots of accidents and two deaths but the freezing rain is slowing down, so we should be ok with power through this night. The second bigger wave they say is going to hit tomorrow and tomorrow evening. Its good staying at home reading weather tho.


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vivico1
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Re: Vivico : Ona (Spoiler) and SPOILER FOR CHAPTERS BEYOND 15!

LOL, my Choisya, either Victorian or Flapper huh? lol. There is a place in between for women. Surely you dont think me a modern day Victorian prime and proper lady of Christian values who is nothing more than a house frau? lol

Its like in the 60s. There were more than the Donna Reeds and the Hippies, in the world lol. I dont know if you know what I mean by Donna Reeds, if you got that show there... a "typical" housewife who was always home cooking and cleaning, defering to her husband, and ALWAYS in a dress with a string of modest pearls around her neck lol. That was the housewife portrayed on tv. Then there was Haight Ashbury, where the girls were far far from this, free love, acid rock and drugs were the way of it. In all actuality, there is what is the more common American woman, middle class, mostly married, with smaller families, working, often a professional person and often making the decisions for the family rather than the husband. But along with her, are the women, who chose to stay home and not work and be a housewife and stay at home mom, which should never be belittled. Its a bigger task than i was willing to take on.

I myself had a mom who, when she could, prefered to be a stay at home mom, born in the 1920s but also one with a lot of smarts, who when we needed it, would go out and work. Very often as a manager of a restaurant or a hotel. Those were what she loved to do. I looked forward to college from the time I was small. The company I have spoke of working for, was only a sideline to pay my OWN way through College, where I earned my degree in Psychology and am a member of The American Psychological honors society.

I did not marry, chosing career first. I am about to turn 50 next month , booooo lol. I became disabled tho at 30 which put a stop to my career in Psychology. I am a softy yes about some things, I admit it and enjoy it :smileywink: but also will stand my ground unto death on other things. I own my own home and a few acres of land, all paid for already and glad of that. Now I spend much of my time reading, sometimes writing, and trying to get out in the world as much as possible.

Also, I search for ways to serve people in my social group, in my town, but also internationally, in ways that I am able. LOL, be it then or now, I would neither fall under the title of Victorian or Flapper, and I dont think Ona did either. She didnt live long enough to be much of either unfortunately but I do not see her as a "stereotypical weak woman" of some Victorian personification, who when all is nearly lost will always turn to prostitution.

I think it took guts for a very young woman forced into womanhood too soon and under horrendous work conditions,to do what she did to try to save them all,yes even if she was a fearful little thing. She had the wits to know that Conner could end it for her and also the definate understanding of what telling Jurgis would do, because in the end, thats exactly what he did do. She could have ran home right away and told Jurgis, "Jurgis! Conner is harrassing me to sleep with him or he will fire us all!" and leave it to him to take care of. A frighten little girl with a big burley man to take care of her could have, but she didnt. She did what she had to do but it ate at her insides till she nearly went mad because she did have a conscience.

Actually, I find it more of a stereotypical look at men and what they will do given the smallest amount of power and always thinking with the wrong head LOL. OK, now some guys in here should weigh in on that one surely! :smileywink: To be fair though, its also shows what a woman unhappy with herself and from dire situations herself may do to others, in the form of her forewoman. Here was a woman who would turn out other women and put them through the same hell, to get a buck more.

What is the book on the study of what good people did to their fellow prisoners in the concentration camps to just stay alive or get a bit more? I have the book, its a well known look at it and I cant think of it right now, I will have to look for it. Even those prisoners with a little power could be cruel under such circumstances. Was it a Victor Frankl book? Heck, i will have to look now and find it. It would be worth a read again too.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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Choisya
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Re:

[ Edited ]

Message Edited by Choisya on 01-22-200706:37 PM

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vivico1
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Re: Vivico : Ona (Spoiler) and SPOILER FOR CHAPTERS BEYOND 15!

Interesting that you should think I was a guy. I know you cant tell either way from my nickname on here, it was my intent, when using it anywhere on line but what made you think i was a guy in particular?

Choisya wrote:
Thanks Vivico and for the potted biog too - I admire your guts. To be honest I thought you were a bloke, not a house frau.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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Choisya
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Re: Vivico : Ona (Spoiler) and SPOILER FOR CHAPTERS BEYOND 15!

Can't think why now. There were mostly guys here I think.



vivico1 wrote:
Interesting that you should think I was a guy. I know you cant tell either way from my nickname on here, it was my intent, when using it anywhere on line but what made you think i was a guy in particular?

Choisya wrote:
Thanks Vivico and for the potted biog too - I admire your guts. To be honest I thought you were a bloke, not a house frau.


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fanuzzir
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Re: Chapters 7-15: Sausage and more/SPOILER CHPTRS 7-9



vivico1 wrote:

fanuzzir wrote:


Fanuzzir, you said in one post to someone, you feared there was not one joke to be had in this book but I have to say, tho not a joke, I did find something rather humorous. Its when Jurgis now decides unions may be a good thing and he has signed naturalization papers and the union is explaining the American political situation to him. Its sad of course but sounds so true in the telling, you have to laugh at how it is explained: Democracy is made up of elected officials from two rival sets of grafters. ROFL!! (roll on floor laughing) and the one who wins is the one who bought the most votes! lol lol. Oh I loved this explanation! And Jonas offering the leader to vote 3 times for $4 hehehe, which is ACCEPTED!!! Ya got to love this scene! I love America, wouldnt want to live anywhere else

Great post! And you're right; living in America is like eating a hot dog--you don't want to know what it took to make it.
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fanuzzir
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Re: Chapters 7-15: Sausage and more/ SPOILER chptrs 10-15 the house.



vivico1 wrote:


I have a question. From the moment they "purchased" the house, it has been a constant battle to have the income to keep it. They worried about all the "extra" costs from the moment they found out and had to put more to work for it too. What is confusing to me in these chapters is, how did they manage to keep the house at all? You have members of the family dying, some getting sick. Jonas runs off or is assumed to have and worst of all Jurgis, the big bread winner, is laid up for months unable to work. Heck even Marija loses her job and finally gets one for less money and sometimes when things are slack, they may only get a half hour's wages for hanging around all day!

By chapter 15,there is a real fear of starving to death here. They are just trying to stay alive at this point and things have become so miserable and depressing, our hero Jurgis has taken to drink to escape and now we are getting the first talk about what Ona has been doing to try to help out. I just feel like saying, Sinclair, you are stretching them so thin, how are they still in the house! And yes, you are starting to get some good visual ideas of why legislation governing food purity was past.

I understand what the house symbolizes in the story, but I do get stuck with that point of, how are they still in it at all? Got some other ideas for another post, different topic.




Excellent question! One answer: lenders actually like bad loans, the kind that people don't or can't pay--the interest is higher, and you get the property to boot when they eventually default. That's why exploitive lenders love bad credit risks. So Sinclair is actually being true in that a grocer would have a harder time bearing the bad credit(his profit margin is so thin) but the developer of housing at Packington could tolerate it because he has so many other properites (his risk is spread out so far).
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fanuzzir
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Re: Vivico : Ona (Spoiler)



Choisya wrote:
I am assuming you have now read beyond Chapter 15:-

I find Ona a sad character and somewhat stereotypical - male writers always assuming that if things do not work out, women will turn to prostitution. Ona is her husband's opposite: She is 'blue-eyed and fair, while Jurgis had great black eyes with beetling brows.' She has some education: he has none. She is tiny 'small for her age, a mere child'; Jurgis is huge, with 'mighty shoulders' and 'giant hands.' The implication is that Jurgis is her protector, that she cannot manage alone, like Marija, a much stronger character (until...). Life in Chicago is brutal and takes its toll on Ona both mentally and physically. Mentally because she is tricked into taking a lover which gives her 'fearful nervousness' and 'fits of aimless weeping', another stereotypical portrayal of a woman. When Jurgis confronts her she says 'He would have ruined us....I only did it to save us' - a classic cry, worthy of a Victorian fallen woman! The scene where Jurgis confronts her is also worthy of a Victorian melodrama. Ona dies in childbirth at the age of 18, four years after their meeting, two years after their marriage, having lived less than three years in America.:smileysad:

Is she an heroic character who does her best for her family or was she a passive victim of the capitalist system. Did Sinclair see her as representing the fate which will befall all immigrant forces in industrial America if they do not fight back? (Oops politics again!!) She dies in agony because they cannot afford medical help - another pointer by Sinclair to the lack of such help available to the poor (and another pointer to America today).

I felt that Upton Sinclair had a low regard for women and I know that his own marriage was an unhappy and sexless one. He seems better at describing men and their feelings and their more active approach to the difficulties they are faced with.

Let's keep in mind that prostitution was so rampant in industrialized American cities like New york and Chicago that it would have been improbable for Ona to have pursued any other trade. Sinclair's love of broad shoulders, by the way, does point out the male bias of the labor movement.
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JesseBC
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Re: ***SPOILER*** THE HOUSE AND THE CAN

That's interesting...I hadn't thought of the symbolism of the packed meat and the house as both nice-looking containers for the problems lying within. Very astute observation.

So...is anybody still here? Fan? Viv? Anybody?






atlantic1018 wrote:
The fate of the family now lies within the house that they have purchased. The house is the epitome of the meat can. Beautiful on the outside, unexpected on the inside. The can and the house are veils to rotten insides. They foreshadow the rottenness of the AMerican Dream which appears to be such a beautifully crafted scheme to impose the cruelest punishments upon those who least expect it.


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