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The character of Lyddie, as the embodiment of the feminine aspect of the Industrial revolution, has just reached a turning point in her life: she leaves her farm in Vermont and the poverty there for a different kind of poverty, the poverty of the textile factories of Lowell, Massachusetts. Lyddie will forever be the true image of the "Lowell Factory Girl."
First we will discuss chapter seven. At the end of the previous chapter, Lyddie was fired from her job, so she decides to make money for her family by moving to Lowell, Massachusetts and working in industry. After being given money to take a carriage to Lowell, Lyddie sets off on her journey. Unfortunately, the carriage soon gets stuck. It is Lyddie's keen mind that helps the carriage driver "unstick" the carriage (as the male riders are completely cluless). This exemplifies the description of Lyddie as "a little chip of Vermont granite." Lyddie is quite strong and smart! This impresses the driver who wants to introduce Lyddie to his sister, Mrs. Bedlow.
Further, in chapter eight, Lyddie actually meets and befriends Mrs. Bedlow. Mrs. Bedlow owns a boarding house in Lowell, and Lyddie finds a room there and roommates who work at the same factory where Lyddie gets a job. Mrs. Bedlow further helps Lyddie by offering friendship and clothes to help in her quest for employment. Sure enough, Lyddie does get a job at the Concord Corporation textile factory. Mrs. Bedlow also introduces Lyddie to her roommates who will work with her. Their names are Amelia, Prudence, and Betsy. Betsy will later become an important character in inspiring Lyddie to read Charles Dickens' novel, Oliver Twist, therefore giving Lyddie a reason to live.
It is here, at the end of chapter eight, that the young reader must prepare for meeting the realities of the Industrial Revolution for the female worker. There are no labor unions (yet) for employee protection or workers rights. There are no laws against a child laboring for hours and hours under harsh condition. In fact, anyone found berating or speaking against the conditions in the factories are simply fired and then blacklisted. That way, they can never work again.
I'll be glad to give you a summary, but there's nothing better than reading the book for yourself! As a teacher, I want to make sure you don't rely solely on what other people tell you. That said.....
In chapter 7, Lyddie decides to go to Lowell, Mass., to find a job in a factory. Triphena gives her money so she can travel in a coach. When the coach gets stuck, Lyddie leads the other passengers (male, mind you) in setting it right. The coachman is impressed with Lyddie's ability to lead and takes her to his sister, Mrs. Bedlow, who runs a boardinghouse in Lowell.
In chapter 8, Mrs. Bedlow, who likes Lyddie, gives her money to buy new clothes and helps her get a job at a factory owned by the Concord Corporation. Lyddie has three roommates at the boardinghouse who all work at the same factory. Their names are Amelia, Prudence, and Betsy.
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