Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version | Barron's Booknotes
1. How does the relationship between Jurgis and Ona evolve and why?
2. Does Dede Antanas leave a lasting impression in the novel? Justify your answer.
3. How does the wedding feast fit in with the major theme of Sinclair's novel?
4. Compare and contrast the personalities of Jurgis the "conformist" and Jurgis the "rebel."
5. Discuss Jurgis' "political career" and the important people who figure in it.
6. Discuss the portrayal of women in Sinclair's novel.
7. Explore in depth the portrayal of Elzbieta.
8. What is the most powerful scene in the novel and why?
9. Describe Jurgis' life from the time he deserts the family until his return to Chicago.
10. Critically examine the interaction of Marija and Jurgis in the latter half of the book.
11. Is Ona a weak person? Discuss.
12. Examine how life in Packingtown shapes the oldest two of Elzbieta's children.
13. What do his stints in prison teach Jurgis?
14. How does work in the stockyards dehumanize people?
15. Describe the unsanitary conditions of manufacture in the packing houses.
16. Why does the Socialist rally into which Jurgis stumbles change his life?
17. Summarize the essential philosophical points in the discussion at the home of Chicago millionaire Fisher.