Stephanie’s Outline

Stephanie Rogers

Professor Dimock

Global Cities: New York San Francisco and Chicago


Trace what becomes “lost” or utterly unrecognizable for McTeague and Jurgis in their respective urban settings by looking at the key deaths of their spouses and their son/best friend turned enemy.



  • Begin with the story of the wedding, the untranslatable custom
  • Something that is untranslatable seems to lose inherent meaning, not accepted in the new space
  • This can happen with customs and cultures but it can also happen with people.
  • How do McTeague and Jurgis become unrecognizable by the end of the book? What becomes lost for them?
  • Connect one sentence on similarities
    • Both men have ambition or desire a similar, but slightly different kind of American Dream
    • The cities they live in are unfavorable for these goals
  • Zone in on the death scenes of their loved ones
    • as the indicator for what they have lost literally and
    • how they are different emotionally/psychologically/characteristically
      • Kind of non-people so slightly difficult task
    • How desires and inherent characteristics are unwelcome in both urban settings
  • Focus in on vocal noise (song/words), setting from urban to either dessert/farm


Body #1


  • Trina loses ability to give gifts, loses ability to invest, stuck in state to wait for money
  • 2 deaths, one unseen when Mac leaves room
  • Impatience to watch the death, to save, to remain
  • Death alone hiccupping pool of blood —- alone forgotten, in the beginning prized, fought over
  • Children finding body — loss of innocence
  • Cat acting strange, excited very eager — eagerness indicative of the same eagerness once held by Trina, symbolism of black cat looming
  • Trajectory of their relationship, loss of each other foreshadowed by the loss of materials
  • Only the picture frame of marriage remained
  • MArriage was untranslatable, began with the lottery and success, unable to thrive in the demise after McTeague is exposed   
  • Trina’s inability earlier to shout into the night parallel to the end of scene before the children scream.
  • Loss of voice in face of death


Body #2

  • Death of Ona
  • Lack of interaction by Ona
  • Replaced by distraction of midwife
  • While she has accent, are there accents lost? Loss of home. Loss in the arch of the storytelling. Americanized for the purpose of the reader or so not as a reminder of their departure.
  • Her trajectory from mother who jurgis did not want to work to death


Body #3


  • Marcus’ death
  • Dessert replaces urban setting
  • Nontypical speech of the pair. MArcus is no longer boisterous and talkative
  • Loss of the object through which they communcated — Trina — stifles Marcus’ voice
  • Voice and songbird twittering and death
  • No noise or sound. Lost in dessert
  • Escape the urban setting because no longer an available space for McTeague   
  • Nature in the dry, lifeless abyss. Wildlife dying. Bird death.
  • Contrast with long walks, walk in dessert, long chase. Without water, together, similar tasks unite but without no longer


Body #4

  • Death of his son
  • Symbolism of drowning in the streets
  • Voyage subsequently to farmlands, differentiate from city
  • Accept for the fall, not for the winter
  • Abandon family, the community,
  • Create new commercialized community made by economic need, brothel



  • To lose something is to be replaced by something else
  • Case of wedding — community replaced by individualism
  • Generosity replaced by greed
  • Together, community, partnership replaced by solitude
  • Relationship replaced by another relationship
  • Individualism to thrive
  • What do voice and translocation of place have to do so deeply with loss? Loss of voice. Loss of home. Loss of self. Loss of extension of self.




Stephanie:   Original and fascinating!  How characters evolve into something utterly alien is a great way to think about the naturalist novel.   In the case of McTeague and The Jungle, the two most extreme examples are Trina and Ona.  Since this is a 5-page paper, I think you should concentrate on these two, tracing the path to unrecognizability in each case, but also making a distinction between them.   Trina becomes more and more interesting and vivid as a character as she is consumed by her obsession, and in that sense gains something even as she loses her former self.  Ona, on the other hand, suffers total loss.  As you point out, by the time she dies she has become marginal and forgettable, completely overshadowed by the outsize presence of Madame Haupt.  I can’t wait to see this unexpected dialogue between these two characters.        — wd



I am really taken by the sophistication of your argument and the analysis you outlined over the ways in which emotions and people become abstract to Jurgis and McTeague. I’m inclined to agree with Prof. Dimock when she suggests you have probably too much to work with in the span of a 5 page paper. Ona and Trina are an attractive pair for comparison because they are directly comparable as wives of the main protagonists. Marcus and the canary aren’t exactly the counterparts of Jurgis’s father or son. I really like that you noticed the change in setting preferred by both Jurgis and McTeague when they leave their respective cities and are transported to more natural terrain. I’d be excited to see how you connect these changes in setting to your central analysis of how the characters perceive loss. I’d be happy to help if you would like someone to bounce ideas off of.

– Artem

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