What did Mama think of the Stevenses in "Lyddie"?

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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Mama does not approve of the Stevenses.  Since they are Quakers, she considers them to be both "heathens" and "abolitionists", and she "forbids the children to have anything to do with (them)".  

In reality, the Stevenses are a kind, thoughtful family who selflessly help the Worthens in one way or another time and time again.  Even when Mama is with them, Charles sneaks the cow down to their place to mate with the Stevenses' bull, because he knows that "they could never have managed without the cash money (the) calves brought in".  When Lyddie and Charles must leave the farm, Quaker Stevens, knowing that they need the money, pays a generous price to buy their calf, even though by rights it is half his already.  And when Uncle Judah determines to sell the farm, Quaker Stevens arranges to buy it himself, so that one day the children might get it back.

Mrs. Worthen herself is an unstable character, "somewhat queer in the head".  It is obvious from the beginning of the book that Lyddie is far more capable than she is, when the young girl keeps the children and her mother safe from the bear.  Mattie Worthen is part of a fanatic religious sect. She views misfortune as a sign of the devil's work, and abandons the children to be with her sister and "her end-of-the-world-shouting husband", so as "to be with the faithful when the end comes" (Chapter 1).

Mattie Worthen hires out Lyddie and Charlie to pay the debt on the family farm.  She eventually dies in an insane asylum in Battleboro, Vermont.

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