Analysis of Novel "Lyddie" by Katherine Paterson

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The novel Lyddie by Katherine Paterson addresses the difficult lives of the young women who work in factories in the nineteenth century. Lyddie, one of those girls, is given upon the duties of a mother when her mother thinks the world’s coming to the end. When her mother and sisters suddenly leave for their uncle’s farm, she and her brother discover their motive of life. They are given jobs to earn money. The bad working conditions at Cutler Tavern forced Lyddie to move to Lowell.

The working conditions and long hours have started a petition among the girls.

Lyddie should sign the petition because of the mistreatment of Lyddie, oppressive conditions, and dangerous health hazards present at the factory. One supporting reason why Lyddie should agree to this petition is that of the harassment issues Lyddie faces at work. In chapter 16, the book states, ”He stopped her and made her wait until everyone had left-just when she felt she must lit down and faint, he stopped her and put his fat white hands heavily on either sleeve, dragging his weight on her arms,” (Paterson- 129).

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Analyzing this piece of evidence, Lyddie was being abused by Mr.Marsden. The petition would protect Lyddie’s rights as well as make a safer environment. Another part that confirms the thesis statement states, “ She ran down the aisle between the looms toward the voice and saw in the shadows of Brigid, eyes white with fear, and Mr.Marsden’s back. His hands clamped on Brigid’s arms,” (160).

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Lyddie’s fellow friend is being assaulted just like Lyddie was. Mr.Marsden uses his position to mistreat and exploit young workers that are in fear of losing their job. The petition would take away those benefit overseers and another mill staff seems to possess.

Hence Lyddie should sign the petition, so people like Mr.Marsden think twice before touching Lyddie. Secondly, she should agree to the petition because of the oppressive conditions, treating Lyddie like a slave. To support this, the book states, ”’We’re working longer hours, tending more machines, all of which have been speeded by demon pace, so the corporation can make a packet of money. Our real wages have gone down more than they’ve gone up. Merciful heaven! Why waste our time on a paper petition? Why not a good old-fashioned turnout?’” (92). Subsequently, Lyddie is working so many machines at such a hasty speed with barely enough time and money for herself struggling to hold back the horses on a downhill run. The petition emphasizes ten hour days with increased wages. To add on, the book mentions, ”Was she thinking of Triphena when it happened? Or was she overtired? It was late on Friday- the hardest time of the week. Was she careless when she replaced the shuttle in the right-hand box and had there been a know in the weft thread? She would never know. She remembered rethreading the shuttle and putting it back on the race, yanking the lever into its slot...Before she could think she was on the floor, blood pouring through the hair near her right temple… the shuttle, the blasted shuttle,” (139).

As can be seen in the quote, Lyddie is injured by the dangerous shuttle because of her tiredness from working 13 hour days. The petition supports better factory working conditions. In summary, Lyddie should accept the petition to improve the working conditions of the factory and have enough time to stay in touch with fellow co-workers and relatives. The last but not least reason why Lyddie should be in favor of signing the petition is the injurious health risks that may last forever and affect Lyddie’s working ability to work in the future. For instance, the novel states, ”No-one seemed to mind the deafening din. How could they stand it? She had thought a single stage coach downhill run was unbearably noisy. A single stagecoach! A factory was a hundred stagecoaches all inside one’s skull, banging their wheels against the bone,”(63). Considering this piece of evidence, it can be inferred that the loud noise is a health risk, causing deafness, a long-term lasting disability. The petition acknowledges a ten-hour shift and is able to minimize the intensity and effect of the noise on the operatives. To also support this claim, the book says,” If she were sick, really sick… Lyddie kept the knowledge of the night cough tight inside herself, but the fear grew like a rumor. She began to lie awake listening for the awful sound until finally, she knew she must send the child away-anywhere just so she was not breathing this poison air,” (139). After examining the quote, Rachel, Lyddie’s sister is getting ill from the “poison air”, which can cause life-long lung-damaging effects. The petition enforces ten hour days and better working conditions. It has been shown that if Lyddie signs the petition.

The exposure to loud noise and polluted air would be minimized. In short, Lyddie should sign the petition due to the exploitation of Lyddie, brutal conditions, and hazardous health issues. While there are many reasons why Lyddie should sign the petition, some people may argue that Lyddie could get blacklisted if she signs the petition. What these people don’t take into account, however, is the fact the harsh conditions and perilous health risks will scar her ability to work in the future. The book states,”’ When I started in the spinning room, I could do a thirteen hour day and spare. But in those days, I had a hundred thirty spindles to tend. Now I’ve twice that speed that would make a devil curse. I am worn out, Amelia. We’re all worn out,’” (91). Lyddie could be greatly affected in the future with health complications, not being able to have a better future. If she signs the petition, she can be safer and be able to have time to educate herself and plan her future well. Lyddie needs to take care of her life and health conditions, and signing the petition is a firm commence to secure the journey of a brighter future.

Updated: Apr 09, 2021
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Analysis of Novel "Lyddie" by Katherine Paterson. (2021, Apr 09). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/analysis-of-novel-lyddie-by-katherine-paterson-essay

Analysis of Novel "Lyddie" by Katherine Paterson essay
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