Questions for LYDDIE

by Katherine Paterson

Chapters 1 - 6, pp. 1-45

1. List or make a timeline of the sequence of events that left Lyddie and Charlie alone on the farm. Start your list with the earliest event and work forward in time.
2.  What are the reasons Lyddie is reluctant to turn to the Stevens family for help? Give at least three reasons. Try to include reasons which are specifically mentioned in the text as well as reasons that are logical conclusions from other information about Lyddie and her family. 
3.  What does Triphena mean to be saying about the differences between Lyddie and Willie when she tells the story of the frog in the butter churn? (pp. 27 - 28) Does she mean to be praising Lyddie or criticizing her?
4. Lyddie’s meeting with Ezekial changes her ideas about many things, including money, friendship, and freedom. In your opinion, what about her experience with the runaway slave most accounts for her change of heart? Write in complete sentences and paragraphs, and use examples from the text to support your points. 
Chapters 7-12, pp. 46-93

1.  At 13, Lyddie is in many ways still a child, and in others rapidly growing into an adult. List as many descriptive words and phrases as you can in which the author is suggesting one aspect or the other of Lyddie’s age.
2.  Before Lyddie even begins work in the mill, she must make many adjustments to her new life in Lowell. What were some of the biggest changes for her as she moved from "farm girl" to "mill girl"?
3.  Discovering Dickens’s novel Oliver Twist is a major turning point in Lyddie’s life. Why is it important to her at first when Betsy begins reading to her, and how does it become important to her later on?
4. Lyddie takes courage from her goal of bringing her family together. Amelia, Betsy and Prudence also have families of their own. Diana Goss, however, says she considers "the mill as my family." In your opinion, how do their family ties – or lack of them – influence their opinions about the efforts to improve working conditions, including their attitudes about signing the 10-hour petition? 
Chapters 13-18, pp. 94-147

1.  The economic pinch at the mills is well underway when Lyddie arrives, but changes begin in earnest after her first summer. list some of the signs of the corporations’ push for lower costs and greater profits.
2.  Lyddie’s single-minded focus on earning as much money as she can is in sharp contrast to the broader concerns of others around her. Describe two such contrasting examples of other people’s interests, kindness, and/or generosity.
3.  Once Rachel joins her, Lyddie begins to see some things differently. Compare her kind care of Rachel with her changed treatment of Brigid after Rachel’s arrival.
4. On pp. 96-97, Lyddie tries to write Charlie "to show him how well she was doing," but "the black stain ruined it." We can look at "the black stain" as a symbol of Lyddie’s negative side. In your opinion, what aspects of Lyddie’s character make up this blot on her growth? (Hint: some are obvious before she writes the letter’ others become apparent only afterwards. Symbols can both recall what has gone before and prepare for what comes later. Don’t limit your answer to the time before Lyddie’s letter.)
Chapters 19 to end, pp. 148-182

1.  Why does Lyddie finally change her mind about signing the petition?
2. Mr. Marsden tries to use both his position and his education to gain advantage over the girls. How does Lyddie turn the tables on him? How does her action demonstrate how much she has grown beyond focusing on herself and her family?
3.  Throughout her life, Lyddie has always been taking care of others’ needs first. One by one, however, all those others drop away until she has only herself to care for. Describe two ways in which the author shows Lyddie coming to value herself.
4. In the end, Lyddie makes a monumental decision about the direction of her life. In your opinion, will she succeed in her endeavor? Why, or why not? What do you think she will make of her life?
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