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Jurgis takes a job building tunnels under the city streets of Chicago. One night, as Jurgis is leaving the tunnel, one of the rail freight cars gets away and comes barreling down the tunnel. It hits Jurgis on the shoulder, breaking his arm and knocking him out cold. He loses his job.
Jurgis spends his Christmas in a hospital, and it is “the pleasantest Christmas he had had in America.” Jurgos loved being pampered, his only complaint was that "they used to feed him upon tinned meat, which no man who had ever worked in Packingtown would feed to his dog."