Ona Lukoszaite And Juggie Chapter Summaries

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Around the turn of the twentieth century, Ona Lukoszaite and Jurgis Rudkus, two Lithuanian immigrants who have recently arrived in Chicago, are being married. They hold their veselija, or wedding feast, according to Lithuanian custom. The celebration takes place in a hall near the Chicago stockyards in an area of the city known as Packingtown because it is the center of the meat-packing industry. The highlight of the celebration is the acziavimas: the guests, linking their hands, form a rotating circle while the musicians play; the bride stands in the middle and each male guest takes a turn dancing with her. Many unscrupulous guests take advantage of the families of the newlyweds at these celebrations, however, filling themselves with food…show more content…
The pace of work in the slaughterhouse is demanding, but Jurgis doesn’t mind; he even enjoys it. He is surprised to find that everyone else hates their jobs and their bosses. Grandmother Majauszkiene, a wizened old Lithuanian neighbor, explains to the family that houses such as the one they have taken are a swindle. She and her son were lucky enough to make the payments long enough to own the house but most people are never able to do so. She explains that the houses are more than fifteen years old and that they were built with the cheapest, shoddiest materials. Ona and Jurgis’s veselija has put them over a hundred dollars in debt. Illness strikes the family frequently due to the unsanitary conditions of Packingtown, but no one can take a day off work to recover. Winter brings bitter cold and impassable snow drifts. The companies don’t provide adequate heating at work. There is a wave of death in Packingtown as the bad weather and disease claims the weakened, the hungry, and the old, including Dede Antanas. Tamoszius, a musician, begins to court Marija. His fiddle-playing brings a note of cheer into the family’s life. He is also a popular guest at various celebrations because he is a musician. He invites Marija to most of them; if the hosts are his friends, he invites the entire
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