The most obvious comparison between Lyddie and Ezekial is that both have experienced slavery. Ezekial, a black man, is a victim of the institution of slavery in the South. Lyddie, a poor white girl in Vermont, is a slave because of financial circumstances. Her father has accrued much debt, and she has been hired out at the tavern to help pay it off. Lyddie does not think of herself in terms of slavery at first, but after talking with Ezekial, she realizes there are many parallels between his situation and hers. She was forced to leave her home to work at the tavern against her will. In her inability to determine her own destiny, she is very much a slave.
Both Lyddie and Ezekial long for freedom, for themselves and for those they love. Ezekial runs away from the plantation, leaving his wife and children behind, in hopes of reaching Canada where he can live as a free man and have his family join him. When Lyddie is let go at the tavern, she resolves "to go to Lowell and make real money to pay off the debt so (she) can go home". By becoming financially independent, Lyddie determines to regain possession of the family farm so that she and her siblings can make their own choices, and be reunited once again.
The main differences between Ezekial and Lyddie are surfaceful - he is black, she is white; he is older, and possesses the wisdom gained from many years of living, while she is still in her teens. Their situations as individuals who do not have the right of self-determination are similar, however, as are their characters. Both exhibit a proud dignity and an honest nature - Lyddie works tirelessly to a fault so that she will be beholden to no one, and Ezekial scrupulously pays back what he owes, returning to Lyddie the money she gives him, with interest, after the loan has long been forgotten by its giver. Also, both Ezekial and Lyddie have an insatiable thirst for knowledge, and value literacy for both the ideas and comfort it provides (Chapter 6).