Economic, Political, Social?
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Basically an old lady, Grandmother Majauszkiene, gives them a short history of Packingtown and what they will have to contend with. Jurgis and Ona listen and are horrified.
The old grandmother tells them that all the families who had lived in their house had suffered from some kind of bad luck. Someone always gets consumption, which makes the family worry about Dede Antanas and his persistent cough. All of the families have lost a child working in the yards since “in those days there had been no law about the age of children—the packers had worked all but the babies.” Grandmother Majauszkiene also tells them most of the families had not been able to keep up with the rent because of the interest payments. This shocks the family because they did not realize they are supposed to pay interest.