Diana is involved in the labor movement, and is considered to be "a known radical". She explains Lyddie's roommates' aversion to her as the result of a system that "makes the slave fear freedom". Even though Diana is fighting for better working conditions for all of them, the girls at the boarding house are wary of her activities, and would prefer that Lyddie not get involved in what could be an "awkward situation". Opportunities for girls like Amelia, Prudence, and Betsy are few and far-between, and though conditions at the mill are exhausting and dehumanizing to say the least, the girls see few other options open to them, and are unwilling to risk losing the the source of the meager incomes they earn tending the looms for the Company.
It is true that Diana is an active member of the Female Labor Reform Association, and although she would like to educate Lyddie into its objectives, she does not attempt to influence her with force or high-pressure tactics. Instead, she is a truly caring woman; her first concern is to help Lyddie adjust to her new environment, and to enable her to contact her loved ones and let them know where she is (Chapter 9).