Lyddie feels nauseous and exhausted after her first full day in the weaving room.
Lyddie tries her best to do well as a factory worker, but it is difficult and dangerous work. After her first full day in the weaving room, Lyddie is barely coherent. She can’t even bear the smell of food, and her mind is not working.
She longed only to get to the room, take off her boots, massage her abused feet, and lay down her aching head. … Lyddie dragged herself from the table and up the stairs. (Ch. 10)
The weaving room is very noisy, so Lyddie can’t stand the sound of supper talk and clinking dishes. She also can barely eat. Betsy teases her about thinking she is a “strapping country farm girl who could do anything.” However, she also helps her massage her sore feet and reads to her from Oliver Twist.
Lyddie suffers because she wore boots that were too new, and she is not used to the loud noises. Of course, as time goes on she will learn how to survive the factory, and even get pretty good at it. She also develops an interest in books.
Betsy did not give any explanation of the novel she was reading, simply commenced to read aloud where she had broken off reading to herself. Even though Lyddie's head was still choked with lint and battered with noise, she struggled to get the sense of the story. (Ch. 10)
The story of Oliver transports Lyddie from her current misery. Even though she is too sick and exhausted to stay awake, she finds herself wanting to hear the story. She begs Betsy to keep reading until her voice is hoarse. Lyddie has discovered that she can take refuge in literature.
Factory work was dangerous and difficult. Girls like Lyddie had to be tough, intelligent, and strong. Although Lyddie has already been through many hardships, the factory serves as both a challenge and a source of pride. She is determined to do well, and pay off her debts.