How have Lyddie's feelings about the petition changed in Lyddie?

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Lyddie changes her mind and decides to sign the petition, but it is too late.

Lyddie takes her job as a factory worker very seriously.  She values her work because she wants to make enough money to pay off her family’s debts so that she can get the farm back.  This is why she is so against the petition at first. She does not want to risk getting fired.

The petition for a ten-hour day has been circulating among the factory workers.  Lyddie’s friend Diana is one of the organizers.  She has been at the factory for fifteen years, and acts as a mother or big sister to all of the girls.

Lyddie’s friend Amelia explains why she wants to sign the petition.

"Wouldn't I just? When I started in the spinning room, I could do a thirteen‐hour day and to spare. But in those days I had a hundred thirty spindles to tend. Now I've twice that many at a speed that would make the devil curse. I'm worn out, Amelia. We're all worn out." (Ch. 12)

 Lyddie explains to Betsy and Amelia that she can’t sign the petition because she needs the money.  In her mind she keeps telling herself that she isn’t a slave.  She has to work at the factory, and she works hard, but she does it by choice.

Lyddie gets hurt one day working in the factory.  She gets hit in the head with a shuttle from the loom.  Diana helps her, taking her to a doctor friend of hers.  Lyddie has to miss work until she is strong enough, and she is grateful to Diana.  Lyddie gets a package, delivered by Luke Stevens, which includes $50.  He is paying her back her loan. 

She told no one about the money. She wanted to tell Diana. Diana, she knew, would rejoice with her, but she decided to wait. She was so close now to having the money she needed, and when she did, she would surprise Diana by signing the petition. (Ch. 15)

Lyddie now no longer needs the job so badly.  She decides to sign the petition, to help Diana.  Unfortunately, when she shows up at the meeting she learns that the petition has already been submitted and failed.  Diana appreciates the thought.

Lyddie was never against the idea of the petition.  She just feared for their jobs.  She knew that anyone who signed the petition would be fired, and she cared about money more than anything else.  She saw girls getting sick and hurt around her, and even heard about deaths, but what mattered was the money.  As soon as she had it, she was ready to sign.


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