Lyddie Questions and Answers
by Katherine Paterson

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What word or phrase could be used to describe Judah?

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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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A good word to describe Judah would be "indifferent." It's not so much that he's an actively wicked person; it's just that he doesn't show much empathy for what Lyddie and her family are going through. He doesn't see them as relatives to be helped but as a large burden to be cast off. To be fair to Uncle Judah, caring for Lyddie's mother would not have been easy, and so one can understand his decision to have her committed to an asylum. But at the same time, we get the impression that he's cynically taking the opportunity to sever all connections with relations to whom he has no blood ties. Uncle Judah's only related to Lyddie and her family by marriage and so he doesn't have a particularly deep connection to them. That would explain why he shows himself so indifferent to their predicament.

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Ron Michael Miraflores eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Judah is Lyddie's and Rachel's uncle. He is the husband of their mother's sister. Judah is mentioned early in the story, but only in passing. However, Uncle Judah is featured more prominently later on, when he drops off Rachel at the boarding house where Lyddie is staying.

In that particular scene, we see the true nature of Judah. He informs Lyddie that the farm must be sold to pay for Lyddie's mother's mental hospital costs. Judah is insistent, despite Lyddie's efforts to dissuade him.

The best word to describe Uncle Judah is "inconsiderate." However, he is not inconsiderate in the sense that he is selfish and thoughtless; he is inconsiderate in that he seems to only have accepted Lyddie and Rachel as family members because of his wife. He is also inconsiderate in that he doesn't show sympathy toward the sisters' plight.

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