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The fertilizer plant is the worst factory in all of Packingtown. Some men would rather starve than work there, but Jurgis is ashamed that his wife makes all of their income. One summer day, after an intense heat spell, the foreman of the fertilizer plant comes out and gives Jurgis a job. He goes to work shoveling fertilizer into carts. The dust in the place is so thick that Jurgis cannot see anything around him. He is given a sponge to cover his mouth so that he does not breathe in the fertilizer dust, but it cakes in his ears and eyes and nose. His skin is soon covered with it and he gets a headache. After a half-an-hour, Jurgis vomits “until it seems as if his inwards must be torn into shreds.” The boss tells him that a man will get used to the fertilizer shed if he puts his mind to it.