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by Upton Sinclair
Ona Lukoszaite Timeline and Summary
Ona Lukoszaite agrees to travel with Jurgis Rudkus to America to start a new life with him. They are accompanied by Ona's stepmother, Teta Elzbieta, her cousin, Marija Berczynskas, her six half-brothers and -sisters, her step-uncle, Jonas, and her future father-in-law, Antanas Rudkus. Jurgis finds a job and marries Ona. They buy a house together and settle down. Ona stays in the house to look after things until they realize that their monthly payments are higher than they expected. Ona gets a job sewing hams into packaging. Ona becomes pregnant. Ona bears Jurgis a son, Antanas. Ona goes back to work at Brown's packing plant right after giving birth. She loses her health and develops a bad cough. Jurgis is too distracted by his own workplace injury and bitterness to notice. Jurgis also does not know that Ona is approached one night be one of the bosses at her factory. He threatens to get Jurgis and Marija fired from their jobs in Packingtown if she does not do what he says. This boss, Connor, rapes Ona right in the hallway of the factory. Connor also bullies Ona into going to a brothel in the city to work as a prostitute after working hours. Ona doesn't tell Jurgis what is happening to her because she is afraid he will murder Connor and ruin all of their lives. Ona becomes pregnant with her second child. She believes that Connor will stop bothering her once she becomes too pregnant to be attractive as a prostitute. Jurgis finds out where Ona has been going at night. He runs off to attack Connor. Jurgis goes to jail for thirty days. Ona gets too sick to get out of bed. Without Jurgis and Ona's salaries, the family misses their house payments. Ona and the rest of the family move back to the crowded apartment where they stayed when they first arrived in Chicago. Ona goes into premature labor. She is in so much pain that she just wants to die. Jurgis gets out of jail just as Ona is screaming in pain, in the middle of this deadly childbirth. Jurgis brings back a midwife for Ona, but it is too late to save either her or the baby. Ona regains consciousness to look at Jurgis just once before she passes away.