Working Conditions In Katherine Patterson's Lyddie

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In Katherine Patterson's novel Lyddie, the main character is facing a difficult decision to sign a petition to decrease the number of working hours and decrease the dangerous working conditions. On on hand, she thinks she should sign because of how it is affecting her and her friends, but on the other hand, she could get blacklisted for doing so. Lyddie is working in a mill with harsh working conditions. The air is polluted, humid, and on top of all that, the hours they spend in the crowded room with the looms is over fourteen hours each day. She traveled from her home at the farm, then to a tavern where after being fired, realized the best place to go was to Lowell, Massachusetts. She earns money to support her family and pay off the debt to her farm. Lyddie should not sign the petition because then it will…show more content…
Lyddie refuses to accept that she is living in the conditions of a slave, and must focus on her work so she can get enough money for her farm. The author states,“She wasn’t a slave. She was a free woman of the state of Vermont, earning her own way in the world… she, Lyddie, was far less a slave than most any girl she knew of” (94). Working in the mills are all most girls do and convince themselves that they are working against their will and all the dangerous things in the factory. When Lyddie and her roommates get into a fight, Betsy sings this song to Lyddie. ¨Oh! isn't it a pity such a pretty girl as I Should be sent to the factory to pine away and die? Oh! I cannot be a slave, I will not be a slave, for I am so fond of liberty That I cannot be a slave¨ (92). Lyddie is irritated about the song and refuses to accept she is working like a slave. This could make workers want to sign the petition so they do not have to work for so long and be treated like a
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