In Lyddie by Katherine Paterson, what happens when Lyddie goes to sign the petition? What is her reaction?

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sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Lyddie goes to sign the petition for better working conditions in Chapter Nineteen.  By the time this chapter rolls around, Lyddie is already feeling fairly depressed.  In the previous chapter, Charlie tells her that their family farm has been sold.  He also tells Lyddie that the Phinneys want to take care of both Charlie and Rachel.  The result is that Lyddie is left feeling utterly alone.  Without her family and the farm, she feels lost.  She feels as if her work no longer has a purpose.  If Lyddie signs the petition, it offers her a goal and some purpose again.   

When Lyddie goes to sign the petition, she is told that she is too late.  The petition has been sent in.  Lyddie's reaction is utter devastation.  She feels that all of her efforts have been too late.  She wasn't able to sign the petition in time, she wasn't able to earn enough money to buy the farm back in time, and she wasn't able to provide enough care for Rachel in time.  Lyddie's general feelings of being lost and purposeless only increase after discovering that she is too late to sign the petition.