What are some examples of symbolism in Chapters 12-14 of Lyddie?

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sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One symbolic image is money.  Through this point in the novel, Lyddie has been extremely focused on money.  If anything, her obsession with money is increasing during these chapters.  Lyddie has become a great worker, and she refuses to complain about the speed up or working conditions.  She refuses to sign the petition, because she doesn't want anything interfering with her ability to earn money.  In chapter 12, Lyddie receives a request from her mother to send more money.  In chapter 14, Lyddie reluctantly encloses a single dollar in her return letter to her mother.  The act is symbolic of Lyddie's negative character development.  Early in the novel she gave all of her money to Ezekial, a man she barely knew, because it was the right thing to do.  Now, Lyddie can barely spare a dollar for her own mother.  

The other symbolic image in these chapters is the image of slavery.  In chapter 6, Lyddie saw parallels between her life at the tavern and Ezekial's life as a slave.  Lyddie feels that she has gotten away from being a slave because she is being paid so well in Lowell, but the girls that Lyddie works with feel differently.  Betsy is the most vocal about their treatment, and she even sings a song lyric that is about factory girls being slaves.  Lyddie will eventually see that Betsy is right about how the factory owners see and treat the factory girls.  

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