In The Jungle, what changes do we see in the family's life as they shift from a rural, farming life to an urban, industrial one?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that one of the most intense changes in the family is how much money plays a role in their state of being.  Life in Lithuania did not feature the dominating presence of money and material wealth that it plays in Packingtown.  The industrial life in America is one that is predicated upon wealth and the acquisition of more money.  The industrial life is one where money occupies central importance.  We can see this at the wedding where there is significant fear of losing jobs, a fear that is shared by nearly everyone at the wedding.  The need for money and continually acquiring it is one element that defines life in a stark manner between the rural life in Lithuania and the life in urban Packingtown.   This also highlights how fundamentally challenging Jurgis' predicament is in that it marks such a different change in the state of being from one world to another.  In such a shift in paradigm, it makes sense that some, like Jurgis, could never find happiness until embracing a form of life that called the methods and practices of the industrial state of being into existence.

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