How is Lyddie independent throughout her life? What are the events that show she is independent?

Lyddie shows her independence when she stays on the farm with Charlie after their mother and sisters move to her aunt and uncle's home, when she takes on responsibility at the tavern, when she goes to Lowell by herself, when she throws herself into her job at the mill, and when she decides to pursue a college education.

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When Katherine Paterson's novel Lyddiebegins, the title character is only thirteen years old, but she is mature far beyond her years, and she shows in many ways that she is an independent young woman who can take care of herself.

Lyddie's mother decides to move the family to...

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When Katherine Paterson's novel Lyddie begins, the title character is only thirteen years old, but she is mature far beyond her years, and she shows in many ways that she is an independent young woman who can take care of herself.

Lyddie's mother decides to move the family to her sister and brother-in-law's farm after a bear invades the cabin. Lyddie, however, decides that she will not go. She will remain on the farm and keep it going so that her father has a home to return to. This may seem like an unexpected decision from someone so young, but Lyddie has already had the primary responsibility for the farm and her family for quite some time. Her mother is often incapable of handling daily tasks, so Lyddie takes over. She cooks and sews, does farm chores, cares for her younger siblings, and provides support for her mother. Lyddie is more than ready to remain on the farm, and with her brother Charlie to help her, she manages to make it through the winter without asking for help except for the use of the Stevens family's bull.

Lyddie shows her independence again when she goes to work at the tavern. She takes direction from Mistress Cutler and Triphena, but as soon as she learns her job, she begins taking on more and more responsibility. She proves that she can be trusted to do her work and do it right without anyone standing over her to supervise. Lyddie even takes charge of maintaining the kitchen fire.

After Lyddie loses her job at the tavern, she sets out for Lowell, Massachusetts, on her own. She has decided to go work in the mills to earn money to pay off the debt on the farm. Again, Lyddie makes her decision by herself and determines that she will carry it out. She does accept some help from Triphena (who insists upon it, telling Lyddie that she does not want the girl's dead body on her conscience), but Lyddie declares that the five dollars will be a loan, and she pays it back promptly.

In Lowell, Lyddie must often rely on others for help, at least at first, as Mrs. Bedlow gets Lyddie the job at the mill, her roommates help her adjust, and Diana trains her at the looms. But Lyddie quickly reasserts her independence, avoiding much socialization, declining to join the labor movement, and throwing herself completely into her books and her work. Only when she is ill or when Rachel comes to live with her does Lyddie accept much help from others. She mostly tries to get by on her own.

After Lyddie loses her job in Lowell, she once again sets out on her own. She visits Diana in Boston and then goes back to her family's farm (which now belongs to Mr. Stevens). When Lyddie sees Luke Stevens again, she decides that she might just be able to love him, but there is something she must do first. Lyddie wants to remain independent so she can pursue her dream of a college education.

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Lyddie is independent because she takes charge and doesn’t let others tell her what to do.

Lyddie shows independence when she saves her family from the bear, when she gets her own job after being fired from the pub, and when she protects Brigid from Mr. Marsden.

Lyddie’s independence showed through in every challenge she faced.  The first time we see Lyddie challenged is when the bear attacks.  Lyddie and her family are in their house when the bear comes in.  Lyddie takes charge immediately and orders everyone into the loft.

They obeyed her, even Mama, though Lyddie could hear her sucking in her breath. Behind Lyddie's back, the ladder creaked, as two by two, first Charles and Agnes, then Mama and Rachel, climbed up into the loft. Lyddie glared straight into the bear's eyes, daring him to step forward into the cabin. (Ch. 1)

This incident demonstrates how Lyddie is able to think quickly and react even when no one else can.  Her mother should have been the one to protect the family, but she was incapable of doing so and Lyddie stepped up.  Not only was no one harmed, but the bear left because Lyddie did not back down.

When Lyddie is hired out to the tavern owner Mrs. Cutler, she is horrified.  She doesn't want to be anyone's slave.  When Lyddie is fired from this same job, she does not give up.  She takes control of her own life and goes to get a job in a factory.

"I'm going to be a factory girl, Triphena."
"You what?"
"I'm free. She's set me free. I can do anything I want. I can go to Lowell and make real money to pay off the debt so I can go home." (Ch. 6)

Lyddie still wants to work to pay off the family debts and hopefully get the family back together again someday, so she takes the factory job.  Since it was her own choice, she feels more independent.  She is a hard worker and demonstrates her worth to the factory, which gives her more and more work.

Part of Lyddie's job is to train Brigid, an Irish girl who comes to the factory knowing nothing. Lyddie is annoyed at first to have a trainee slowing her down, but she comes to be very protective of Brigid, teaching her to read and looking out for her.  When Brigid is attacked by Mr. Marsden, Lyddie intervenes.  She is fired for doing so.

Even though Lyddie has lost her job, she makes sure to continue protecting Brigid.  She writes a letter to Mr. Marsden's wife which she tells Brigid to mail if anything happens.

"It can't be helped. It's done. But they must not dismiss you. I've already written a letter to Mr. Marsden. I told him if he dismissed you or bothered you in any way I would tell his wife exactly what happened in the weaving room. Now here is the letter addressed to her. If there is any problem you must mail it at once." (Ch. 22)

Lyddie's reaction to being fired, again, demonstrates her independence and reliance.  Lyddie insists on helping Brigid and making sure that Brigid is okay.  Lyddie knows that she will be all right herself because she never lets anyone get her down.

 

 

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