In Chapter 16, Lyddie's aunt and uncle have brought her sister Rachel to her to care for. Lyddie uses two weeks' worth of her savings to buy Rachel clothing and a book. Brigid makes mistakes and seems emotional at work. Lyddie snaps at her, but when she hears Brigid's mother is sick, she grudgingly gives her some change to pay for a doctor. After that, Brigid is "pathetically grateful" and performs much better at work. Lyddie sees the supervisor, Mr. Marsden, eyeing her continually across the room.
Lyddie begins to feel feverish, and at the end of the workday, Mr. Marsden creates a pretense in order to keep Lyddie there alone with him after hours. He begins to make an unwanted sexual advance toward her, gripping her arms and pulling her toward him to kiss her. She is feeling ill, and without really knowing what she's doing, she stomps on his foot and escapes back to the boarding house.
Lyddie becomes quite ill--probably she has caught the illness Brigid's mother had from sucking on the same shuttle that Brigid sucks on at the factory. Lyddie's sickness is severe, and she almost dies. Mrs. Bedlow, Brigid, and Dr. Morris care for her. As Lyddie drifts in and out of consciousness, she realizes that Rachel is constantly by her side. Finally Lyddie's fever breaks, and Rachel is thrilled that Lyddie hasn't died. Lyddie says wryly, "We can stil hop [sic]."
Lyddie is the story of a young girl who must go to work in factories to help save the family farm. Lyddie's mother is unable to do anything, her father has died, and she must go and become the adult of the family. Her struggles are real and make you admire the young girl for the strength that she has.
By chapter 16, Lyddie is taking care of her sister, Rachel, and still working in a factory. She has become a valuable employee to Mr. Marsden. She spends more than two weeks wages and buys Rachel some new clothes and books. Work had become better for her and she helps Brigid pay a medical bill. Mr. Marsden wants her to stay late at work one night and he ends up putting his arm around her. Lyddie kicks him and runs home. She gets a fever and becomes ill. Rachel, Brigid, Diana and Mrs. Bedlow all take care of her.
Lyddie is such a strong girl. She manages to make money and take care of her younger sister, Rachel. We see the desire inside of Lyddie to make a better life for herself and her sister. She wants to save the family farm, but learns that her mother is in an asylum and the farm is going to be sold. Lyddie overcomes her sadness and moves forward with her life.
Chapter 16 of Lyddie—titled "Fever"—is not even quite five pages long, but it contains an enormous amount of information that moves the plot along.
At the beginning of the chapter, Lyddie is adjusting to having Rachel around. She uses her own savings to purchase clothes and other supplies for Rachel, spending two weeks of pay in the process.
When Lyddie gets to the mill, she continues to be frustrated with Brigid, whom she snaps at for being slow. When Brigid admits that she cannot focus because of her mother's poor health, Lyddie gives her the remaining money she withdrew to pay for a doctor. This makes things better at work for a while, although Lyddie is working harder than ever, taking care of her job and Rachel every minute of every day.
The climax of the chapter occurs when Mr. Marsden keeps Lyddie behind after the other girls have gone for the day. Lyddie is feeling unwell but realizes she is being assaulted when Mr. Marsden grabs her and tries to kiss her. In her fear and fever, she stomps hard on his foot and runs home.
Lyddie spends the rest of the chapter in bed, incredibly ill and barely conscious. Truly, it seems as though she might die. In the last paragraph of the chapter, we see Lyddie beginning to make a recovery, as she rises from sleep and speaks words of encouragement to Rachel.
Chapter 16 is titled "Fever," and it begins with Lyddie lamenting about having to spend so much money on Rachel. Lyddie knows it was a necessity, but earning and having money is a deeply powerful desire within Lyddie. The chapter moves forward for a quick scene in the factory. Brigid is working incredibly slow, and Lyddie's anger at that fact is boiling over. We find out that Brigid's mother is sick, and she has no money for a doctor. In frustration and anger, Lyddie gives Brigid her remaining money and tells the girl to get back to work. It works. Brigid begins working faster, and things at the factory go well for the remainder of the week. Unfortunately, two bad things happen near the end of the week. Lyddie is starting to get the illness, and Mr. Marsden makes a sexual pass at her. In order to get away from his wandering hands, she slams her foot down on his and escapes.
The rest of the chapter explains Lyddie's condition. She has a bad fever and is unable to go to work. She is so weakened by her condition that she is actually unable to feed herself, so several different women in the house take turns caring for Lyddie and spooning her some soup. The chapter ends with Lyddie being well enough to sit up in bed and tell Rachel that she is going to go back to work.
Lyddie gets so exhausted from work and the stress of worrying about Rachel that she gets very ill, but she recovers.
Lyddie has to get her money out of the bank because now she has her sister to take care of. Her little sister is very small and weak, and Lyddie knows that she will not be able to stay at the factory worker boarding house for long. Children are not allowed. Lyddie feels like she got the short end of the stick, with her aunt and uncle benefitting from the whole thing while she pays the price.
What could she do? Where could she turn for help? She couldn't keep Rachel here, and yet she, Lyddie, must live in a corporation house to keep her job. And without her job, what good could she do for any of them? (Ch. 15)
Lyddie has to buy her sister shoes, but she worries that she will lose her job and not be able to provide for her much longer. Her frustration bleeds into her work, where she loses patience with Brigid. However, when Brigid tells her that her mother is dying, Lyddie feels bad and gives her money for a doctor.
Trying to get Rachel to open up, Lyddie reads her poetry and makes some up for her. Unfortunately, Lyddie is so tired that she gets sick. The doctor tries to take advantage of her weakness and kiss her.
How hot the room seemed. Of course it was always hot and steamy, but somehow . . . Perhaps if she hadn't been burning up she could have kept her head, but she was so hot, so exhausted that Thursday in May, she wasn't prepared, she had no defenses. (Ch. 16)
Lyddie kicks him and leaves. She misses several days of work, and when she finally awakes she asks Rachel to help her get ready for work. Rachel is amazed that she’s not dead.
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