Jokubas offers to help Dede Antanas and Jonas get jobs through his friend, a special policeman at Durham's meatpacking plant. Jurgis goes to Brown's slaughterhouse and is able to get a job almost instantly. He rushes home overjoyed.
Jokubas takes the family on a tour of the stockyards. They climb up to a gallery and gaze in wonder at the vast "sea of pens" stretching out before them. They observe miles of railroad tracks upon which thousands of animals are carted in everyday to be slaughtered.
The family sees the incredible scale of the meat industry, which reaches across America. The scene is awe-inspiring, but there is also something unnerving about the scale of killing.
They join other visitors for a tour of a Durham slaughterhouse. They enter a building where a "river of hogs" are sent up a chute, chained, methodically killed by workers, and lifted by a machine into a vat of boiling water. The sight combined with the squealing of the hogs makes the visitors uneasy. The hogs are processed by hundreds of men, each performing one task. The animals are processed completely and all parts of them—entrails, waste, skin, bones—are used in some way. A government inspector is there to inspect the pigs for tuberculosis, but he is not very careful.
Visitors witness the brutality of the meatpacking industry. The animals, which are heartlessly slaughtered and processed, are symbols for the workers who are also used cold-heartedly by the owners of the plant. In the meatpacking industry, labor is divided with one man for every small task, making the workers dispensable. The lazy government inspector shows the high level of corruption in the industry.
Next, they visit the building where cattle are killed and observe men working at incredible speed in pools of blood to kill and process rows of cattle. In nearby buildings, animal parts are processed into everything from soap and lard to hairpins and violin strings. Jurgis is amazed by the astonishing scale of the industry, and is thrilled to be a part of it. But Jokubas is more skeptical.
In the same way that the animals are used for every bit of bone and flesh, the workers are used for every bit of strength. Jurgis is amazed by the inhuman speed at which the workers perform their tasks and by the massive scale of the industry, but Jokubas, who has been around longer, is aware of the dark side of the meatpacking plant—that workers work as they do because they have no choice.