Our story begins with the union of Ona Lukoszaite and Jurgis Rudkus, two Lithuanian immigrants that moved to Chicago. The wedding seemed to be going good until many of the guests begin taking advantage of the couple. The people leave the wedding without contributing money; they just eat all the food and drink. The bar men also claim that the guests had more alcohol than they really did so the costs of the wedding began to add up to much more than Ona and Jurgis had bargained for. Jurgis promises to make money by getting a job and working hard.
The family takes a tour of their new home, Packingtown. Jurgis becomes puzzled by the suffering of animals that happens every day. He is also disgusted to learn that the health inspector lets some carcasses go unchecked for diseases. Jurgis begins his new job and at first is very happy to at least be earning money. Many good things happen for the family at this point, Jonas gets a job, and Marija also gets a job. Jurgis wants the children to go to school and forbids them to work. Dede Antanas cannot find a job because of his old age. The family soon sees an ad for a home with four rooms at a decent price. The down payment was only three hundred dollars and the monthly fee was twelve. Ona and the other women were convinced by the salesman that they must move fast to get the house if they really want it. The whole family goes to look at the house and is somewhat disappointed because it did not match the descriptions. The house is put down as a rental which upsets Jurgis because then it will be easier for the people to evict them if the monthly payments are not made.
Even though the family was upset that the house was a scam, they happily settled in and purchased new things for the house. Jurgis is fine with working in the slaughterhouse, but is confused when he learns that everyone else despises the work and the bosses. Jurgis is asked to join a union and declines. A man tells Antanas that he will give him a job for...
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