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Katherine Paterson's Novel: Should Lyddie Sign The Petition

  • Subject: Literature
  • Category: Books
  • Essay Topic: Lyddie
  • Page: 1
  • Words: 529
  • Published: 03 December 2021
  • Downloads: 795
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Katherine Paterson's Novel: Should Lyddie Sign The Petition Essay

In the historical fiction novel “Lyddie” by Katherine Paterson, the main character has to decide on whether to sign a petition or not. Lyddie Worthen is a poor girl who originates from Vermont, is working VERY hard to pay a debt that her mother owes. But since the working conditions are horrible, a woman named Diana Goss made a petition for all the girls in the factory to sign. It will go against the factory stating why they are mad and disgusted by the factory. Lyddie should NOT sign the petition because it will affect her in a negative way.

Lyddie should not sign the petition because she needs to pay her farm’s debt. At this point, Lyddie is working very hard to earn money. She was persistent in her work to be able to pay her debts. In page 88 of “Lyddie” it says “So it was that when The Concord Corporation once again speeded up machinery . She didn’t complain she needed the money”. This means she copes with all the challenges thrown at her at her to reach her goal. This quote supports the idea of Lyddie not signing the petition because she needs the money. Not signing will result in a good pay for her.

Lyddie should not sign the petition because if she does, she’ll get blacklisted. At this point of the novel, the girls are willing to sign the petition, but they are scared of being dismissed and blacklisted. Page 91 and 92 of “Lyddie” states “ “I’ve half a mind to sign the blooming petition” said Betsy “I’m thinking of you . What will you do with no job? You’d be blacklisted. No other corporation would hire you said Lyddie”. This quote means that the consequence of signing the petition is you’ll get fired and blacklisted, meaning you can’t get another job anywhere. This supports the idea of Lyddie not signing the petition because Lyddie would be risking her whole future just by signing. If Lyddie doesn’t sign the petition and avoid it, she will save herself a lot of headaches.

Lyddie should not sign the petition because it will negatively affect how much money she gets. Some people believe Lyddie should sign the petition because she needs to liberate herself from the factory’s horrible wage conditions. However she has no choice because page 100 in the novel states, “Lyddie herself was far too busy to help anyone. She could not fall behind in her production or else her pay would drop”. THis quote shows that Lyddie cannot be distracted by signing some petition that will ruin her. This supports my claim of Lydde NOT signing the petition because then she’ll have no way to earn money. Therefore, Lyddie can do the right smart thing by not signing the petition.

Some may say Lyddie should sign the petition because the factory is in a negative state, having awful working conditions. In chapter 10 of Lyddie it states, “Now that she thought of it, she could hardly breathe, the air was so laden with moisture and debris… She coughed, trying to free her throat and lungs for breath.” This describes how terrible the working conditions are, specifically the air quality; containing moisture and debris, as Lyddie is not able to breathe affecting her health. In chapter 14 of Lyddie it states, “The drawing room was a welcome change for Betsy, but the move came too late to help. The coughing persisted. She began to spend days in their bedroom, then the house infirmary, until, finally, when blood showed up in her phlegm, Mrs. Bedlow demanded that she be removed to the hospital.” In which, this describes how Betsy’s cough had worsened after going to the drawing room. If Lyddie does not sign the petition, more and more of the workers may get sick.

Another reason Lyddie should sign the petition is because she and the rest of those working in the mill are being underpaid for how much work they put in. In chapter 12 of Lyddie it states, “ Time is more precious than money, Lyddie girl. If only I had two more free hours of an evening-what I couldn’t do.”  Explaining that they are working for too long and that they wish for less work time. Also in chapter 12 it states, “We’re working longer hours, tending more machines, all of which have been speeded to demon pace, so the corporation can make a packet of money. Our real wages have gone down more often than they’ve gone up.” Which describes that they are tending to more machines equaling to more work time with decreasing pay. If Lyddie were to sign the petition, it would help to having higher pay, and more free time.

After analyzing both sides of the argument, we can conclude that Lyddie should not sign the petition because it will affect her negatively. She also shouldn’t sign it because she needs money, she’ll get blacklisted, and because it will ruin her. Her choice of not signing the petition will be the best for her because she’ll work peacefully and get money to achieve her goal of paying her debt.

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Katherine Paterson’s Novel: Should Lyddie Sign the Petition. (2021, December 03). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 9, 2023, from
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