Ideas for Reports and Papers
Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 284
1. Compare and contrast the plot and characters of Lyddie with Charles Dickens's Oliver Twist. Why does Dickens's book capture Lyddie Worthen's imagination?
2. Read the brief section in Charles Dickens's American Notes for General Circulation which describes Dickens's visit to a factory in Lowell. Compare Dickens's view of the factories with those presented in Lyddie. You might also research one of the books listed in the sources at the end of Lyddie, such as David Macaulay's Mill or Lucy Larcom's A New England Girlhood, and discuss how Paterson makes use of it.
3. Katherine Paterson's novels are generally realistic books, but often share similarities with folktales or myths. For example, Park's Quest retells Arthurian legends and Jacob Have I Loved makes use of the Biblical tale of Jacob and Esau. Discuss a folktale or myth which seems similar to Lyddie. Does Lyddie contain any particular folk-motifs (i.e. a mentor, fairy godmother, or wise woman; a heroic quest or ordeal; a monster)? Can this book be viewed as a version of "Cinderella"?
4. Explore the novel's references to slavery. For example, what does Diana Goss mean when she says that it is "the nature of slavery to make the slave fear freedom"? Consider, too, why Paterson includes the subplot about the escaped slave, Ezekial Abernathy, and the song, "I Will Not Be a Slave," which Betsy sings.
5. At the end of the novel, it is not clear whether or not Lyddie will ever return to Vermont or if she will accept Luke Stevens' marriage proposal. Write an additional chapter which clears up the loose ends. Discuss your reasons for ending the novel as you do. Why does Paterson not make it clearer what will happen to Lyddie?