In The Jungle, why does Jurgis finally give up and leave Packingtown to take up life as a tramp?

Expert Answers
dneshan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the first 21 chapters of "The Jungle", Jurgis goes through more trauma than any person should ever have to deal with.  He and his family move to Chicago thinking that they will live a much better life than the one that they were living.  However, their lives in America prove to be anything but better.  Jurgis and his wife are forced to work in meat packing factories in horrendous conditions and walk a long distance in all types of weather seven days a week to get to their jobs. Jurgis wife, Ona, seems to have been raped. Jurgis and Ona have a son, Antanas, but when pregnant with their second child, Ona dies in child birth.  Then, after trying his hardest to live as a single father, Antanas dies by drowning in a puddle outside of their apartment building.  Therfore, at this point in his life, Jurgis has had enough of the life that he is living and decides to leave Packingtown.