To Jurgis this man’s whole presence reeked of the crime he had committed; the touch of his body was madness to him—it set every nerve of him a-tremble, it aroused all the demon in his soul.
After Jurgis learns that Phil Connor raped Ona, he seeks him out and attacks him. Just seeing the man fills Jurgis with rage, and he believes he is justified in seeking revenge for the crime Connor committed. However, Jurgis soon finds that no one will believe a working man such as himself, and that people with power, like Connor, remain in control.
Connor, the boss of the loading gang! The man who had seduced his wife—who had sent him to prison, and wrecked his home, and ruined his life! He stood there, staring, with the light shining full upon him.
When Jurgis runs into Phil Connor on the street, he immediately becomes filled with anger at the sight of him again. To Jurgis, Connor embodies the evils of capitalism. Rich and powerful, society allows Connor to get away with the crimes he commits. Jurgis feels surprised Connor even dares to show his face to anyone in the light, as he should be ashamed of his actions.
Why, he’s one of Scully’s biggest men—he’s a member of the War-Whoop League, and they talked of sending him to the legislature! Phil Connor! Great heavens!
When Harper comes to speak to Jurgis in jail, Jurgis asks for bail money and tells Harper that the man he attacked was Phil Connor. Harper exclaims that he cannot help Jurgis, as Connor is close to Mike Scully. Jurgis knew that Connor worked as a foreman but did not realize just how important Connor was. Even though Jurgis also associates with Scully, the group seems willing to sacrifice him to keep Connor happy.