Cruel Conditions In Katherine Paterson's Lyddie

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“Oh! I cannot be a slave; I won’t be a slave…”(100) In Katherine Paterson’s novel, Lyddie, the main character works in a mill that has harsh and cruel conditions. Lyddie is a thirteen-year-old girl who has all of the responsibility of taking care of her family: her mother, brother, and two sisters. Then one day, a bear barges through their cabin, making their mother believe that the world is coming to an end leaving Lyddie and her brother, Charlie, to live alone. During the wintertime, Charlie and Lyddie receive a letter from their mother saying that she is sending them away. Lyddie must go to Cutler’s Tavern to work in the kitchen; meanwhile Charlie must go to Barker’s mill to work. Lyddie is treated like a slave there, where she has to work …show more content…

Although she ends up having to work six days a week for fourteen hours a day in a dirty factory. In the mill, the air is contaminated and humid, leaving the workers there struggling to breath. Adding on, the girls working in the factory are underpaid even though they are forced to work with multiple machines at a extremely fast pace all at once. Lyddie debates if she should sign the petition or not. She should sign the petition, in order to make a huge change for her and other girls working in the factory. One reason why Lyddie should sign the petition is that she and the workers in the mill experience sickness very easily when working at the factory, just as there are other girls whose lives are harmed very easily. Constantly Lyddie’s friends caught a sickness leaving the to cough, the coughing lasts for a very long amount of time making it extremely troublesome for the girls. “She had begun coughing, a dry, painful, cough through the night that kept both Betsy and Amelia awake, …show more content…

The place is extremely unsanitary leaving the girls to become sick very easily, whereas their health goes into harm. “Now that she thought of it, she could hardly breathe, the air was so laden with moisture and debris.”(75) Every time Lyddie comes to work at the mill it comes extremely difficult for her to breathe, it shows that she works in a terrible condition for her to work in. Besides the hazardous atmosphere she has to breathe in, there are machines making extremely loud noises. “No one seemed to mind the deafening din. How could they stand it?” (62) The noise could be considered a health a hazard. It is so loud that Lyddie could barely hear anything besides the noises. That kind of noises will cause the workers to have a highly chance of getting headaches and cause damages to their ears. In addition, the workers have to work in a room where there are barely any light making it difficult for them to see. “How could she say she could see hardly anything in the morning gloom of the huge, barn like room, the very air a soap of dust and lint?”(63) This shows that the place is very unsanitary for the works to work in, and also they have to work in a place where there is barely any light. Lyddie should sign the petition due to the reason where the environment is an unfit place to work

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