What happens in chapters 5 and 6 of Lyddie?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
In Chapter 5, Lyddie continues to struggle with work in the tavern, so when Mistress Cutler takes a trip to Massachusetts to sell the maple sugar, Triphena makes a suggestion to Lyddie:  go visit your family!  Lyddie agrees and sets off on her way. 
First, she goes to visit Charlie at the mill, but he is at school at the time.  This makes Lyddie feel torn about this new family who takes care of Charlie.  Thinking about another family for Charlie disgusts Lyddie.  Lyddie finally reaches her parents' old farm and is surprised to find a runaway slave hiding out inside by the fireplace. 
Chapter 6 recounts Lyddie's encounter (and learning experience) with the runaway slave.  Lyddie soon learns his name is Ezekiel Abernathy, and that he is running from slavery to freedom.  It isn't long before Lyddie is connecting her own journey to freedom to Ezekiel's journey to freedom.  In a gesture of true compassion, Lyddie gives Ezekiel all of the money she has from the sale of their calf from the farm.
Lyddie returns to the tavern to find she no longer has a job.  (Mistress Cutler believes she has left her post without permission while she went to Boston.)  With nothing left for her at the tavern, and with Charlie "safely" stowed with another family, Lyddie decides to set off for Lowell to become a factory girl.  And, in so doing, she becomes a living symbol of the Industrial Revolution in full swing.
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In chapter 5, Mistress Cutler goes to Boston to sell maple sugar, and Lyddie decides to go home to see her family. She stops at the mill to see Charlie and finds out that he is at school. That upsets her, and she resents the family that has taken Charlie in. When she arrives at her family's farm, there is a strange man inside the house. He is the first black person Lyddie has ever seen.

In chapter 6, Lyddie learns that the stranger's name is Ezekial Abernathy and that he is a runaway slave. He tells her his story, and she realizes that they are alike in their desire for freedom. As she is leaving, she impulsively gives him the calf money she has been saving. After she returns to the tavern, Lyddie has to face new challenges when she is fired. She decides to go to the town of Lowell to get a job in a factory. 

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team