What dilemma does Lyddie face in Lyddie?

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Lyddie wrestles with several dilemmas in the novel. When visiting the farm, she meets Ezekiel. He is a runaway slave who is heading north to freedom. Lyddie faces a dilemma. Should she give the calf money she has been saving to Ezekiel? Or should she keep it to use for...

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Lyddie wrestles with several dilemmas in the novel. When visiting the farm, she meets Ezekiel. He is a runaway slave who is heading north to freedom. Lyddie faces a dilemma. Should she give the calf money she has been saving to Ezekiel? Or should she keep it to use for the debts on the farm? Lyddie quickly decides to give Ezekiel the money.

Lyddie wrestles with the dilemma of whether to sign the petition. The petition is regarding the poor working conditions of the factory girls. Lyddie delays for so long that she misses her opportunity to sign.

There are two dilemmas that Lyddie faces in regards to her younger sister, Rachel. Young Rachel comes to stay with Lyddie. Rachel begs her sister for the chance to become a doffer in the factory. Lyddie is torn because she wants her sister to attend school instead. Eventually Lyddie lets Rachel get a job at the factory.

Later, Charlie comes to see Lyddie. He tells her that Mr. and Mrs. Phinney (his employers) are willing to take Rachel in. He assures her that they will treat Rachel like a daughter. Lyddie is once more faced with a dilemma. She does not want Rachel to leave, but she knows it is for the best. In the end, she lets Charlie take Rachel back with him.

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Lyddie faces many dilemmas throughout the story. I will try to pick a couple that are pivotal decisions for Lyddie.

One dilemma that Lyddie faces is going to work in the mills in the first place. She is stepping way out of her comfort zone and heading toward a completely unknown situation. She is a small town farm girl. The very notion of a big city and factory work is completely foreign to her. Despite the choice being scary, Lyddie chooses to go.  

Another dilemma that Lyddie has is to whether or not she should sign the petition for better working conditions. On the one hand, Lyddie knows that the girls are being worked ridiculously hard. Signing the petition might bring positive changes for the working girls. On the other hand, by signing the petition Lyddie risks being blacklisted from the mills completely. That means she won't be able to find work. No work, no paycheck; therefore, she won't attain the financial independence she so desperately craves.

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