The Jungle

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Phil Connor, Ona's despicable boss, is one of the clearest representations of the way capitalism corrupts industry, politics, and individual conscience alike. He threatens Ona in exchange for sexual favors. When he is attacked by Jurgis in retaliation, he uses his business clout to keep Jurgis out of a job. Finally, Connor's connections to the politician Mike Scully allow him to get away with these flagrantly illegal acts with impunity.

Phil Connor Quotes in The Jungle

The The Jungle quotes below are all either spoken by Phil Connor or refer to Phil Connor. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Dehumanizing Evils of Capitalism Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Dover Publications edition of The Jungle published in 2001.
Chapter 15 Quotes

It was all—it was their plot—Miss Henderson's plot. She hated me. And [Phil Connor]—he wanted me. He used to speak to me—out on the platform. Then he began to—to make love to me. He offered me money. He begged me—he said he loved me. Then he threatened me. He knew all about us, he knew we would starve. He knew your boss—he knew Marija's. He would hound us to death, he said—then he said if I would—if I —we would all of us be sure of work—always. Then one day he caught hold of me—he would not let go—he—he—

Related Characters: Ona Lukoszaite (speaker), Jurgis Rudkus, Ona Lukoszaite, Marija Berczynskas, Phil Connor, Miss Henderson
Page Number: 125
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Jurgis learns some unpleasant truths about his family. His wife, Ona, has been sleeping with her boss, Phil Connor, a powerful businessman. Connor knows that Ona is married, but he forces her to spend time with him by claiming that he can ensure that Ona's entire family will remain employed, and threatening to have them all fired if she rejects him. Connor is extremely abusive to Ona, but she feels that she has no choice: she'll take care of her family by any means necessary, even it means betraying her husband and sacrificing her own bodily autonomy and dignity.

The passage illustrates the full extent of the immigrants' misery. The factory owns the workers' labor, 16 hours a day. For women like Ona, businessmen like Connor control their sexuality, too. Terrified of poverty, people like Ona are forced to bargain with their bodies--they know of no other way to survive.

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Phil Connor Character Timeline in The Jungle

The timeline below shows where the character Phil Connor appears in The Jungle. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 15
The Dehumanizing Evils of Capitalism Theme Icon
The Immigrant Experience and Disillusionment Theme Icon
The Horrors of the Meatpacking Industry Theme Icon
Family, Masculinity, and Individualism Theme Icon
...She has another episode of wailing and convulsions. Finally, Ona confesses that her boss, Phil Connor, threatened to drive the family out of work if she did not sleep with him.... (full context)
The Dehumanizing Evils of Capitalism Theme Icon
Family, Masculinity, and Individualism Theme Icon
...is overcome with rage. He goes straight to Ona's factory, where he viciously assaults Phil Connor. A number of workers pull Jurgis away, and the police are summoned to cart him... (full context)
Chapter 16
The Dehumanizing Evils of Capitalism Theme Icon
Family, Masculinity, and Individualism Theme Icon
...is taken to jail. In his cell, he begins to regret his furious attack on Connor. He prays for deliverance but understands that his situation is hopeless. He imagines how his... (full context)
Chapter 17
The Dehumanizing Evils of Capitalism Theme Icon
The Immigrant Experience and Disillusionment Theme Icon
The Horrors of the Meatpacking Industry Theme Icon
Family, Masculinity, and Individualism Theme Icon
...amputation after a cut became infected. Stanislovas was fired by his boss, a crony of Connor's, and has been selling papers downtown; his mother has been reduced to begging for food.... (full context)
Chapter 25
The Dehumanizing Evils of Capitalism Theme Icon
The Immigrant Experience and Disillusionment Theme Icon
...him to circumvent the criminal justice system in the same way as crooks like Phil Connor did. In the meantime, Jack Duane is caught breaking into a safe. A crooked policeman... (full context)
Chapter 26
The Dehumanizing Evils of Capitalism Theme Icon
The Immigrant Experience and Disillusionment Theme Icon
After looting a bar with some policemen, Jurgis comes upon Phil Connor. He again attacks Connor and is sent back to jail. When he asks "Bush" Harper... (full context)
Chapter 27
The Dehumanizing Evils of Capitalism Theme Icon
The Immigrant Experience and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Family, Masculinity, and Individualism Theme Icon
...nearly impossible, and he has now been abandoned by Scully because of his attack on Connor. Moreover, his involvement with graft makes him a target, and the more comfortable lifestyle he... (full context)
The Dehumanizing Evils of Capitalism Theme Icon
The Immigrant Experience and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Family, Masculinity, and Individualism Theme Icon
...hard times, people should sell anything they can, and suggests that Jurgis overreacted to Phil Connor's abuse of Ona—it would not have been an indignity if Ona supported the family as... (full context)