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The main problem that occured in Lithuania was the death of Ona's father and the condition in which he left the family fortune. Ona's family had been extremely wealthy, in fact, her father disapproved of the fact that she wanted to marry Jurgis because he had no money.
After the father's death, the family has nothing. Thus, Jurgis believes the best thing they can do is move to America and start over. They are accompanied by five other adults and six children One of the women they traveled with had been beaten on a farm where she worked.