What are some advantages and disadvantages/hardships in pages 122-182 of Katherine Paterson's Lyddie?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In the second half of Lyddie, the main character experiences several hardships, although some good things happen as well. 

First, Lyddie is suddenly given the responsibility of caring for her younger sister Rachel, whom she really hasn't seen for about four years. What's more, the family farm is about to be sold by her uncle, meaning that she is too late to pay off the debts and obtain the farm for herself. On page 122, she writes her brother Charlie explaining the situation. 

Next, Lyddie becomes very ill and almost dies. She contracts a serious fever, probably from Brigid, whose mother is ill and whose germs she has been exposed to via the "kiss of death" procedure at the factory. As we learn on page 131, her illness lasts over two weeks. 

On page 139, Rachel develops a cough due to her work in the factory that worries Lyddie. She realizes this could be life-threatening, so she allows Rachel to go to live with Charlie, which causes her severe loneliness (p. 148). That loneliness is compounded when Diana leaves the factory (p. 153). 

On page 161, Rachel protects Brigid from an unwanted advance by the factory overseer, and the overseer retaliates by having her fired (p. 168). 

Despite all these hardships, Lyddie experiences some pleasant times as well. Having Rachel with her is a joy, especially since Rachel nurses her continually during her sickness. Brigid also sticks by her and nurses her back to health (p. 130). Diana brings Lyddie a gift of a book by Dickens (p. 132). Rachel gets a job as a doffer and is able to stay with Lyddie in the boarding house for a time, becoming the "pet" of the girls (p. 138). Although it is hard for Lyddie to let them go, Charlie and Rachel get adopted by the Phinneys into a fine situation (p. 142). Finally, Lyddie receives a marriage proposal from Luke Stevens, her former neighbor, who has actually purchased her old family farm, making it possible for her to return there if she wants (p. 147). Although Lyddie does not take him up on his offer, she keeps the possibility open as something she might consider after she has finished college at Oberlin (p. 181). 

(Page numbers are from the 1991 Puffin Books edition.)

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial