Lyddie begins to think of herself as a slave after being sent to work in the tavern.
Lyddie is not happy about being sent to work at the tavern. One day she was on the farm with her brother Charlie, and the next day she was sold into servitude to pay the family’s debts. Lyddie blames her mother. Since her youngest daughter was born, her mother was depressed and mentally unstable.
Lyddie compares herself to a slave because she has no choice but to work in the tavern.
Once I walk in that gate, I ain't free anymore, she thought. No matter how handsome the house, once I enter I'm a servant girl‐no more than a black slave. She had been queen of the cabin and the straggly fields and sugar bush up there on the hill. But now someone else would call thetune. (Ch. 3)
Lyddie is strong-willed and independent. She never wanted to be beholden to anyone. Now she has to work for someone else, and has no say in what happens to her. It makes Lyddie angry and depressed. She wonders how her mother could do something like this to her.
Although her family was poor, Lyddie feels like she could have taken care of herself.
It didn't matter that plenty of poor people put out their children for hire to save having to feed them. She and Charlie could have fed themselves‐just one good harvest‐‐one good sugaring‐‐that was all they needed. And they could have stayed together. (Ch. 3)
Being separated from her family also bothers Lyddie. Her mother had taken her sisters, but at least she still had Charlie. Having a job that is not of her choosing makes Lyddie feel trapped, and she misses her family.
At the Tavern, Lyddie is given a new dress and boots. She prefers her old homespun dress. To Lyddie, the dress is just another badge of slavery. Her old clothes are simple, but they are hers. Lyddie takes great pride in her independence.