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Chapter 1 introduces the reader to Lyddie and her plight through much of the novel. Lyddie is fiercely independent and brave. The bear incident alone is enough to prove that to readers. Unfortunately for Lyddie and Charlie, Lyddie's mom doesn't have Lyddie's determination and fortitude. She leaves Lyddie and Charlie to take care of the farm on their own. Surprisingly, the two of them manage quite well. It doesn't matter though, because by the end of chapter 1, Lyddie's mom has sold the farm to pay off debts (a reoccurring theme in the novel) and has sold Lyddie and Charlie as indentured servants.
Chapter 2 is far less exciting than chapter 1, but it is necessary to explain how Lyddie and Charlie finish up on the farm and get to their new jobs. Chapter 2 begins with Lyddie and Charlie completing preparations before leaving the farm and house to the new owners. Part of those plans are to sell the calf and keep the money. They sell the calf to Farmer Stevens who also invites them to dinner. The next main event of the chapter is Lyddie and Charlie travelling to their new jobs. Lyddie has been sold off as a tavern worker and Charlie has been sold off to work at the mill. Luke Stevens offers to drive them in his wagon, and chapter 2 ends just before Lyddie enters the tavern.
Lyddie is the story of a farm girl whose family falls apart. When her parents are gone, the children are unable to make ends meet. Lyddie goes to the city of Lowell to become a factory girl. Lyddie is a work of historical fiction.
In chapter two, Lyddie and Charlie complete the necessary household chores for leaving the cabin and prepare to go on to their new lives. They had found out that they had been sold as indentured servants to a tavern and a mill, and their property was to be let to help pay off the remainder of the debt. They gather the animals together and stop at the Stevens' farm in hopes of selling the calf, which they decide really is theirs, not their mother's. Farmer Stevens buys the calf and invites them to supper, then his son, Luke, drives them in his wagon to drop off the remaining animals. They drop Charlie off at the mill, but Lyddie doesn't want Luke to drive her all the way to the tavern because she thinks it might not look right. At the end of the chapter, she has just arrived and is preparing to go in.
Lyddie and Charles, having been sold into indentured servitude to pay their family's debts, prepare to leave their farm. Lyddie decides that they are entitled to keep the money from the sale of their calf for themselves. Quaker Stevens, their neighbor, generously offers them $25 for the calf, even though it is technically half his, since he owns the bull which is its father. Stevens genuinely wants to help the children, but Lyddie holds back, not wanting to be beholden; it is Charles who graciously accepts his much needed assistance. Luke Stevens, whom Lyddie remembers as being one of the bigger boys in their one-room schoolhouse, takes Lyddie and Charles to town in his wagon. They leave Charles at the mill where he will work, and Luke then drops Lyddie at her place of employment, the tavern.
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