The first chapter of Lyddie opens with an ominous use of foreshadowing . The narrator starts by telling the reader that "The bear had been their undoing. Though at the time they had all laughed." This sets up the chapter and the rest of the book by letting the reader...
The first chapter of Lyddie opens with an ominous use of foreshadowing. The narrator starts by telling the reader that "The bear had been their undoing. Though at the time they had all laughed." This sets up the chapter and the rest of the book by letting the reader know that bad things are about to happen to the unsuspecting characters. We are then introduced to Lyddie and her young siblings, Charles, Rachel, and Agnes. We are also told that the year is 1843.
While Lyddie is preparing a pot of oatmeal, a large bear comes into their home. Lyddie gets her siblings and her mom up into the loft for safety. The hungry bear comes in and tries some of the oatmeal, but it is too hot, and the bear leaves after trashing the house.
We also learn a lot about the family dynamics in this chapter. Lyddie seems to be a clear leader. She takes control of the situation as soon as she spots the bear. It is she who directs the rest of the family to keep them safe. We can see that the mother is not the type to take action. She is the most scared during this situation and, in fact, has to be shushed along with the younger girls by Lyddie when they cry out in fear. It is Lyddie who has to comfort her mother during this episode.
Lyddie's mother is apparently a very superstitious woman and takes this as a sign that the end of times is near. Their mother decides to leave the house and takes her youngest daughters with her. Charles and Lyddie stay behind. We learn that their father had left several years ago. While the children hold out hope that he will return, their mother thinks he is gone for good. It was apparently his departure that led to her mental decline.
Charles and Lyddie stay on the farm through the winter. It is tough times for them, but they are resourceful enough to make it through. That spring, they receive a letter from their mother. It informs them that Lyddie has been hired out to work at the Cutler Tavern and Charles is to be sent to work at the mill. Their mother has sold off the farm to repay a debt. The children are devastated to hear this. However, they do end the chapter laughing at their mother's poor spelling in the letter.