Should Lyddie have agreed to go to the mass meeting at Woburn on Independence Day in Lyddie?  

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Lyddie did not attend the meeting because she did not want to get in trouble.

When Lyddie hears about the mass meeting of the “ten-hour movement” on Independence Day, she says she will be busy.  Lyddie does not want to make trouble.  She refused to sign the petition at first,...

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Lyddie did not attend the meeting because she did not want to get in trouble.

When Lyddie hears about the mass meeting of the “ten-hour movement” on Independence Day, she says she will be busy.  Lyddie does not want to make trouble.  She refused to sign the petition at first, because she believed that it was wrong of the factory girls to organize.

She liked Diana, really she did, yet she found herself avoiding her friend as though radicalism were something catching, like diptheria. She knew Mr. Marsden was beginning to keep track of the girls who stopped by Diana's looms. She could see him watching and taking mental note. (Ch. 13)

Lyddie decides for Diana’s sake to sign the petition.  She wants to make a present of it.  When she tells the movement leader that she wants to sign the petition, she is told that it was already submitted and failed, even with four thousand names.

While it may be easy to judge Lyddie, we have to remember that she was in a tough situation.  Her baby sister died, and her little sister was in bad shape.  She felt that her money was the only thing keeping her family afloat.  Her mother wrote to her and asked for money.  Even if Lyddie had signed the petition, it would not have done any good.  The petition still failed.

Being a factory worker is hard work.  The conditions are terrible.  Lyddie works long hours, and she makes less and less per piece even as the amount of work and hours increase.  She makes $2.50 and $1.75 of it goes to room and board.  Clearly the factory takes advantage of its workers.  This is why Lyddie worries about being punished for signing the petition and refuses to sign it.  She knows that the factory owners are watching her.

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