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Ona's boss, Miss. Henderson didn't like her. In fact, she was jealous that Ona was happily married, as she herself was a kept woman. Anyway, the girl's from the women's department were occasionally sent downtown to act as prostitutes. Ona comments that she wouldn't stay at the job for even a day if it weren't for fear of starvation. This scene foreshadows Jurgis' loss of his job and the situation the family faces after the birth of their baby.