The Jungle Chapter 12
After Jurgis has been in bed for three weeks, he limps back to Brown's to get back to work, though he is far from healed. He discovers that his boss has kept his job for him and goes back to work happily. Unfortunately, the pain in his foot is horrendous and by the end of the day, he is weeping in pain. Finally they call an unaffiliated doctor who tells Jurgis that he has a twisted tendon in his ankle and will have to be in bed for two months. If he tries to go back to work before then, there is a good chance that he'll become lame for the rest of his life. So the family has to make due without Jurgis's wages. Ona and Stanislovas struggle through the snow and Stanislovas' mania about the snowdrifts returns. Jurgis has to beat him every morning to get him to head out to work. Jurgis discovers Ona's bankbook and sees that they have three dollars left to them in the world. Around this time, Jonas disappears. He'd recently been very unhappy living in the house, where he paid good board but never had enough to eat. He'd been working at Durham's for two years now, yoked to a half-ton truck in the cellars. The family believes that Jonas has deserted them, though there is an equally good chance that he'd been killed and the bosses are covering it up. In any case, Jonas' disappearance cuts the family's income by a third and they decide that two more of the children have to leave school and go to work. Vilimas, eleven, and his brother Nikalojus, ten, become newspaper boys and start bringing home forty cents a day. Spring arrives and Ona grows more ill. In April, the doctor tells Jurgis that he can go back to work, but when he shows up at Brown's, the boss tells him that he could not keep the job for him. So, Jurgis takes his place outside the gates with the hungry mob looking for a job-but this time he is no longer strong and fresh, and is thin and haggard. Jurgis searches for a job for weeks but there is not a job to be found in the yards. Jurgis sees the bitter cycle of the yards.
As Jurgis comes to know the men who are also looking for work, he found they often have the exact same story as he. They are overworked and underfed and finally, when a disease descended, as it must, they lost their jobs.