What did Lyddie's mom think of the Stevens' lifestyle in Lyddie?

Expert Answers

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

Lyddie’s mom considered the Stevens family heathens because they were Quakers.

Lyddie lives with her mother, her brother, and her little sister on a farm.  Her father left and never returned.  Lyddie’s mother is unstable, leaving Lyddie to have to take care of everyone. After the incident with the bear, Lyddie's mother and Rachel go to live with Lyddie’s uncle, leaving Charles and Lyddie to take care of the farm.

When Charles goes to sell the pig, he tells Lyddie that she should ask Quaker Stevens for help if she needs it.  Lyddie knows what her mother would say about that.

Their mother didn't approve of heathens or abolitionists, and since she considered their Quaker neighbors a bit of both, she forbade the children to have anything to do with the Stevenses. (Ch. 1)

Lyddie is more concerned about being independent.  She does not want to have to rely on anyone or “be beholden to the neighbors for anything so trivial as her own comfort.”  She feels she can take care of herself, and the farm.  The Stevens do allow Lyddie and Charles to use their bull to breed with their cow, without their mother’s knowledge.  She does not seem to ask questions.

Lyddie does not care about the Stevens family’s “radical ideas.”  Common sense and practicality rule her.  She is a survivor, whereas her mother is a dreamer.  Lyddie does not want to be a beggar, or rely on anyone else.  Pretty soon she will need to be self-sufficient, as paying off the family’s debts will fall to her.

Distrust toward Quakers was a common thing in the pre-Civil War days.  People did not like others who were different, and the Quakers avoided violence, dressed differently, and did not approve of slavery.  Even though many Northerners were abolitionists, clearly Lyddie's mother was not one of them.  Lyddie will find that she seems to be one, when she helps Ezekial.



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