Why was Lyddie fired, according to the agent and the overseer, in Lyddie by Katherine Paterson? 

Expert Answers
litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Lyddie was supposedly fired for being immoral, when she was really fired for standing up for Brigid when Mr. Marsden tried to assault her.

Lyddie was fired from her job at the factory because she saw Mr. Marsden trying to assault Brigid.  She was not surprised that he would do this, since he had done the same thing to her.  When she was sick with a fever, he had tried to kiss her.  Clearly, he has a habit of taking advantage of the girls he oversees.

When Lyddie saw Mr. Marsden and Brigid, she had to act.

Lyddie snatched up the fire bucket. It was full of water, but she didn't notice the weight. "Please-no--" She ran down the aisle between the looms toward the voice and saw in the shadows Brigid, eyes white with fear, and Mr. Marsden's back. His hands were clamped on Brigid's arms. (Ch. 20) 

Lyddie hits Mr. Marsden with the bucket, which may have been a little extreme but was her best solution under the circumstances.  They run, and Lyddie laughs. Later she regrets laughing, because he must have heard her. 

Lyddie is sent to agent Graves.  She wonders what Mr. Marsden said about her, but is still surprised when she learns that he reported her for being a troublemaker. 

"It seems," he continued, "it seems you are a troublemaker in the weaving room." He was studying her closely now, as closely as he had studied his papers before. "A troublemaker," he repeated. 

"I, sir?" 

"Yes. Mr. Marsden fears you are having a bad influence on the other girls there." (Ch. 21) 

So Lyddie is fired for “moral turpitude,” but she has no idea what that means.  She later looks in a dictionary and finds out they called her immoral. She is upset about this, because of course Mr. Marsden is the immoral one.  There is nothing she can do about this though.  She has no recourse.  She was fired, and will never work in the factory again.