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What happens in Chapter 4 of the book Lyddie?

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sh123 | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 6, 2008 at 2:33 PM via web

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What happens in Chapter 4 of the book Lyddie?

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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 7, 2008 at 1:53 PM (Answer #1)

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Lyddie's responsibilities at the tavern are grueling, but her work ethic wins her the friendship and respect of Triphena, the cook.  As summer turns to fall, Lyddie finds that her memories of her family are fading - it is only her brother Charlie she still misses.  One day in winter, Charlie comes to visit.  Lyddie is happy to see him, but is worried that he seems so small and frail.  Their conversation in awkward, and when he leaves, she is lonelier than she was before.  In March, when sugaring time comes, there is talk among the tavern guests of runaway slaves from the South being caught nearby and turned in for a hundred dollars reward.  Lyddie has never seen a black person, and wonders what she would do if she saw a fugitive slave.  With a hundred dollars she could pay off her father's debt and she and Charlie could go home.

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Noelle Thompson | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted January 16, 2015 at 7:42 PM (Answer #2)

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No doubt, Lyddie is struggling with her work at the tavern.  Luckily, Lyddie makes friends with the cook at the tavern named Triphena.  A natural born storyteller, Triphena tells Lyddie a very significant fable about two frogs who fall into a pail of milk.  The sides are too high for the two frogs to escape.  One frog, who sits there and accepts his fate, simply drowns in the milk.  The other frog, who does NOT accept his fate, in fact, he kicks and kicks and kicks in order to escape, is found perched on a little pat of (self-created) butter the next morning.  Triphena is trying to help encourage Lyddie to be that second frog, saying, "Some folks are natural born kickers."

Although Lyddie enjoys Triphena's fable, she still has a hard time with work and misses her family, especially her little brother, Charlie.  Charlie is able visit her for a little while, and Lyddie begins to lose some of the memories of the rest of her family (her mom, dad, and sisters). Lyddie is especially concerned that her little brother seems weak and hasn't grown much.

At the end of the chapter, Lyddie is surprised to learn how much money (one hundred dollars!) is offered to the lucky finders of runaway slaves from the South who travel to the North to find freedom.  Lyddie has never seen a runaway slaves, and she ponders what she would do if she saw one.  That amount of money would allow both Lyddie and Charlie to go home!  (However, it is important for the reader to realize that those runaway slaves are "natural born kickers," too.  A few more of those latter frogs.)

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