Two titular characters of The Jungle—Ona and Jurgis—are introduced in these opening paragraphs. The two are attending their own wedding reception in the backroom of a saloon in Chicago. It is a time of ecstasy for the young Ona, as the narrator makes clear:
It was almost too much for her—you could see the pain of too great emotion in her face, and all the tremor of her form.
To have the honor and good fortune to marry a man like Jurgis—strong, steadfast, and capable as he was—was to be one of the highest points in young Ona’s life. These paragraphs, in one sense, set the tone for the remainder of the wedding celebration, which Sinclair details throughout the remainder of the chapter. Ona and Jurgis’s marriage is a joyous affair, but even so, the reader is reminded of the difficulties of inner-city urban life, as friends and other party-goers fail to present adequate donations to help cover the costs of the ceremony.
From a literary point of view, the mood of the opening...
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