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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.
Jurgis spends his Christmas in a hospital, and it is “the pleasantest Christmas he had had in America.” After a two-week stay, the hospital kicks him out to the street so that they can give his bed to someone that is worse off than he is. Jurgis has very little money left because he spent most of it at a saloon before being injured.