What are some quotes that describe Lyddie?

In Katherine Paterson's Lyddie, Lyddie believes that she is ugly and “plain as sod,” but others do not seem to agree. Ezekial says she is “beautiful” and “lovely as the earth.” Lyddie is also a stubborn hard-worker who does not want to be beholden to anyone.

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When Katherine Paterson's novel Lyddie begins, the title character is thirteen years old, and she is positive that she is ugly. She is, however, a balanced, steady, determined girl who actually stares down a bear and holds the animal back with the force of her gaze long enough for...

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When Katherine Paterson's novel Lyddie begins, the title character is thirteen years old, and she is positive that she is ugly. She is, however, a balanced, steady, determined girl who actually stares down a bear and holds the animal back with the force of her gaze long enough for her family to climb to safety in the loft. Lyddie then jokes, “Lucky I'm so ugly. A pretty girl couldn't a scared that old rascal.” Her sister Rachel immediately replies, “You ain't ugly!” But Lyddie believes she is.

Lyddie and her brother Charlie remain on the farm when their mother and sisters go to stay with Aunt Clarissa and Uncle Judah. Lyddie is bound and determined that she will ask for no more help than absolutely necessary, for “she was not going to be beholden to the neighbors for anything so trivial as her own comfort.” Lyddie holds herself to that declaration even though she must ask Mr. Stevens for the use of his bull so they can have a new calf that year. She is a stubborn young woman, for the Stevens family would have helped her and Charlie make it through a difficult winter without making them feel dependent.

We get another peek at Lyddie's appearance as the girl arrives at her new job at the tavern. She has “no bonnet” and her “hair and braids” are “dusty from the road. Her brown homespun dress is too tight and hangs “unevenly to just above her ankles in a ragged hem.” Lyddie is barefoot, for her boots are too small, and she has slung them over her shoulder. The mistress of the tavern tells Lyddie to go away from her “respectable tavern,” and she is shocked to hear that the girl is actually her new employee. Triphena comments that Lyddie is “so plain” that the guests won't bother her, and Lyddie admits that she has always known she was “no beauty.” Yet she is determined to prove that she is an excellent worker.

Lyddie, however, does not see herself very clearly. When she meets Ezekial Abernathy and gets to know him a bit, she knows that she could never turn him in even though he is a runaway slave. She tells him this, and he thanks her, adding, “A compliment as beautiful as the giver.” Lyddie replies that it is so dark in the cabin that he cannot see that she is “plain as sod.” Ezekial counters, “Or lovely as the earth.”

We get another hint that Lyddie is not nearly as plain as she thinks she is when Mr. Marsden tries to seduce her. Lyddie, of course, will have none of that and stomps on his foot. Later she tells Diana about the incident and wonders if she has mistaken his actions. “You know I'm not the kind of girl men look at that way,” she remarks. “I'm plain as plowed sod.” Diana raises an eyebrow, suggesting that she is surprised by Lyddie's comment, but she says nothing else because Rachel and Brigid arrive. Apparently, in Diana's opinion, Lyddie is not plain at all.

Finally, we see Lyddie throw herself into her work so much in Lowell that she becomes almost a machine herself. She is so intent on earning enough money to pay off the debt on the farm that she works tirelessly, handling every speed up without complaint. Lyddie's whole focus is work, and once again her stubbornness shows.

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Lyddie is the main character in the story.  She is a very strong and independent individual.  Her personality is characterized by both of these strengths—her physical strength and her strength of personality.

Physically, Lyddie is strong but not big.  She is thirteen years old when the book begins, just starting to be a woman.  She is poor, and her clothing reflects that.

Lyddie was aware … that she had no bonnet and that her hair and braids were dusty from the road. She crossed her arms, trying to cover her worn brown homespun with the gunnysack. The dress was tight across her newly budding chest, and it hung unevenly to just above her ankles in a ragged hem. (Ch. 3)

Since Lyddie is young and small, people sometimes underestimate her. She doesn't have money.  What she does have is perseverance.  When something gets her down, she works harder and she is dedicated to her dream of getting her family back together on the farm.

She must earn all the money to pay what they owed so she could gather her family together back on the farm while she still had family left to gather. The idea of living alone and orphaned and without brother or sister … (Ch. 12)

Lyddie’s family has been separated since her father left when she was nine years old.  Her mother was never right after her youngest sister was born, and her father could not make the farm work.  Lyddie became the adult in the household.  She took care of everyone.  Even after her family was separated, she wanted nothing more than to bring everyone back together again.

Lyddie is extremely successful at the factory.  She becomes very proficient, adding more and more machines.  She does get hurt once, and gets sick once, but in general she does very well.

"One of our best girls,"

Mr. Marsden said, beaming. "One of our very best." (Ch. 12)

Lyddie can accomplish anything she sets her mind to.  She is dedicated, hard-working, and goal-oriented.  She also values family over almost anything.  Even though Lyddie cannot get her family together, she did everything she could to make it happen.

 

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