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It takes a while for Jurgis to come to his senses as he's sitting in his jail cell.
Soon, he realizes that he has really messed things up now. Ona will definitely be fired, and how will she support herself and Antanas?
Jurgis doesn't mind prison so much – it's not like his job is anything better – but he blames himself for the life that he has dragged Ona into.
He starts to imagine that Connor won't stop with firing Ona; out of revenge, he'll probably go after Elzbieta and Marija's jobs, too.
Without Jurgis, the family will become homeless. They will have to beg for loans from the Szedvilas family, Jadvyga, and even poor Tamoszius Kuszleika. But it won't be enough.
The next morning, Jurgis is taken to his arraignment along with a bunch of other prisoners – brawlers and drunkards, mostly.
Jurgis hears gossip that they are going to be tried by a certain Judge Callahan, who is known to hate foreigners. So Jurgis is sure that he is ruined.
Jurgis doesn't understand the bail system, but he definitely doesn't have three hundred dollars, so he's taken to jail to wait for his official trial a week later.
Jurgis spends the entire week fretting and worrying.
He passes Christmas in jail, wracked with guilt and regret.
What makes all of this worse is that he realizes that he is warmer and better fed in jail than he would be at home; he wishes his family could be in jail with him.
Jurgis becomes so outraged at this thought that he finally realizes that he has been wronged by society. He is filled with a sense of injustice and rebellion.
The narrator quotes two passages from poet and playwright Oscar Wilde's "The Ballad of Reading Gaol" (1897). This is a poem Wilde wrote after spending some time in jail for the "crime" of being in a gay relationship. It is a beautiful meditation on prison, guilt, and human law. (By the way, "gaol" is pronounced "jail" – the irrationality of the English language strikes again.)