Equality in Lyddie by Kathrine Paterson Essay

Equality in Lyddie by Kathrine Paterson Essay

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Equality is perhaps one of the most controversial concepts that has plagued human society and communities as well as nations, since Earth’s earliest days. The idea that all are deserving of an equal amount of respect and acceptance, however appealing it may be, is quite impossible. There will always be factors (ie. economic situations, former methods of servitude, personality, etc.) that will affect the way in which humans treat one another, no matter the circumstance. It is a ridiculous idea to even attempt to comprehend that one’s feelings and thoughts and history as a person could ever be the equivalent to another’s. As a result, we are able to achieve a sense of individualism within ourselves and are able to clearly notice the differences between one another. One specific aspect of each and every person that is notably different as you begin to analyze people for who they are is the concept of values. Each and every person upholds contrasting values, which may range from education and gaining knowledge to simply being happy and making others happy. This is no different for fictional characters—or at least well-written fictional characters—and one I can specifically mention is Lyddie, from the novel of the same name, written by Katherine Paterson. During a time of sexism, poverty, and child labor as its main issues, Lyddie is a 12-year-old girl who is forced to undergo all of the mentioned, paired with her own personal matters. She works at a textile mill in Lowell, working in gruesome, repulsive working conditions, with the primary objective of freeing her and her family from debt. Throughout her time working at the mill, a petition is proposed to Lyddie and her “coworkers”, requesting of the owners of the mill to shorten work...


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... her family with such courage are actions that demands respect from those that know of her and her sufferings. However, I do not find that Lyddie fully understands what selflessness is, a misunderstanding which makes her decisions that surround her family and her safety extremely difficult to make. Selflessness is a quality nearly synonymous to bravery. To devote oneself to a cause with absolutely no regard to his own mental and physical safety is at times a blind decision, but also almost always indicates a specific type of courage. On the other hand, it may only emphasize how the glamorization of selflessness is capable of making one so very blind to the true form of unselfishness’s consequences—a lesson young Lyddie must learn if she desires to use her selflessness wisely throughout her life. Occasionally, one must be selfish in order to achieve selflessness.

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