As a beggar, Jurgis sees that the powerless are utterly subjugated by the powerful. He is persecuted by policemen and spurned by anyone better off than he. One day, however, he asks a drunk young man for help. The young man reveals himself to be wildly rich; he hands Jurgis a hundred-dollar bill and brings Jurgis to his sumptuous apartment for dinner.
Jurgis's state of destitution makes him feel utterly abandoned by and isolated from the rest of society. However, his random encounter with the wealthy man shows that the spheres of poverty and wealth aren't as rigidly demarcated as they seem.
Jurgis is astonished by the young man's expansive house. His host turns out to be Freddie Jones, the son of a packing magnate who owned a factory that once employed Jurgis. Jones's butler, Hamilton, clearly disapproves of to Jurgis's presence, but Jurgis is treated to a decadent meal nonetheless.
The stunningly ostentatious lifestyle of industrialists like the Jones family is built on the miserable labor of tens of thousands, or even millions, including Jurgis. Jurgis's bizarre face-to-face encounter with the decadence of his employers highlights a fundamental absurdity of capitalism. This drunk, feckless young man and his disapproving butler are the people who's fortunes are built upon Jurgis's work and the misfortune that stemmed from that work.
Jurgis eats ravenously and talks with Freddie. After some time, Freddie falls asleep, and Hamilton demands that Jurgis leave. The butler tries to search Jurgis on the way out, but Jurgis promises to fight back if the butler dares touch him.
Even as an invited guest, Jurgis is treated by the butler as an interloper in the Jones household, as if he is not as worthy as this drunk young man—but Jurgis still has the dignity to stand up for himself enough to refuse a demeaning search.