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-Jurgis and Ona were not allowed to marry in Lithuania and because Ona's father dies
- They come to America having little money.
- Discover the wages are higher but so are the prices for things.
- Working at a horrible job at the meat packers. This in itself provides many obstacles like long hours, little pay, unhealthy work environment....
- Buying a house that has problems, being swindled by real estate people.
- The winters are very hard in Chicago, and often the snow is so deep that the family has a difficult time getting to work.