Lyddie’s chapter 21 is an important chapter in the book because it is a turning point for Lyddie. In the previous chapter, Lyddie has been helping new girls get accustomed to the factory life. She also stuck up for Brigid by dumping a bucket of water on her boss, Mr. Marsden. Mr. Marsden gets Lyddie fired by saying that she has a problem with moral turpitude. This basically means that she is immoral, but since Lyddie does not know what the word means she cannot defend herself. This is a turning point for Lyddie because when she is fired she makes it a point to better educate herself. Since she was not granted a certificate of honorable discharge, she cannot get another job at a mill.
Chapter 21 is an important chapter in Lyddie. It is often pointed to as the climactic chapter, because its events steer Lyddie onto a completely new life path.
In the previous chapter, Lyddie stood up to Mr. Marsden's unwanted advances toward Brigid. Lyddie had successfully fended him off herself, so she knew what Mr. Marsden wanted from Brigid. Brigid was likely not capable of standing up to Mr. Marsden, so Lyddie did it for her by dropping a bucket of water on him.
Chapter 21 deals with the repercussions of Lyddie's actions. Mr. Marsden has accused Lyddie of being a troublemaker and someone who has problems with "moral turpitude." Lyddie denies being a troublemaker, but she can't defend herself against the morality charge, because she simply doesn't know what it means. Regardless, Lyddie is discharged from the factory. Not only that, her discharge is a dishonorable discharge. That means that Lyddie will be unable to find work in any other factory as well.
I've always found it a bit odd that this chapter is so climactic, because it is such a downer. But because of this chapter, the course of Lyddie's life is completely changed. Essentially she has lost everything now, and in the following chapters she pulls herself together once again and vows to further improve herself by going to college.
We have seen in the previous chapters that Lyddie has struggled so much to make things in her life better. She has found out that her mother has died while in the asylum. In chapter 21, Lyddie has settled into factory life. She has more responsibilities and now watches over the new employees. She helps Brigid, when Mr. Marsden tries to harass her by pouring water onto him. He gets her fired and she can't defend herself because she is not aware of what the words mean.
Lyddie still has to look after her sister and herself. Since she was fired she can't get another factory job, because she didn't get an honorable discharge. Lyddie is starting to realize that she needs to have more education if things are going to change in her life. This chapter is huge for Lyddie. She learns just how little she knows and she learns that the only way to make a difference, is to get an education. Lyddie has lost so much up to this point in the book. She has lost the farm, her father, her mother and now her job. She has worked hard to get where she is, just to have it all taken away from her. We really see the strength that Lyddie has inside of her. She is determined to make a difference in her life and the life of her sister.