Chains chapter 17 summary

Chains chapter 17 summary DEFAULT

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Hiram starts conducting more frequently. He realizes that the woman who sneakily gave him the gingerbread was Emma. He feels he is beginning to understand something, but also finds Conduction difficult, as each time it leaves him filled with sadness. He is beginning to no longer feel free, and one day decides to leave the Underground. He walks to the docks and stands near the sailors, who seem the freest of anyone in the city. He hopes one of them will approach him and offer him work, but they don’t. He keeps wandering around until it gets dark, when he realizes he has no plan or resources. Resigning himself to life in the Underground, Hiram heads home, but is struck on the head by a white man and passes out.

Hiram’s fascination with the sailors is significant, as their way of life is defined by a form of freedom that involves moving across bodies of water. As has been made clear thus far, water, movement, and freedom are connected in a powerful way for Hiram, as well as for enslaved people more generally. This is in part because one of the most significant forms of rebellion by enslaved people involved jumping from slave ships into the water. 

Hiram wakes up chained, blindfolded, and gagged in the back of a moving cart. He is sure that he has been caught by some of the Hounds who live up North and kidnap black people on the street in order to sell them into slavery. He can hear men laughing and a girl next to him crying. After driving or a while, they stop and Hiram is made to sit against a tree, still blindfolded, while the white men eat by a campfire. However, suddenly shots ring out, and Hiram is freed from his chains by Micajah Bland. Two other men stand with him. Hiram is overcome with a sudden, uncontrollable fury, and kicks the corpses of the dead white man until he is too exhausted to kick anymore. 

The uncontrollable rage Hiram feels toward the white man who kidnapped him comes as no surprise. Having experienced freedom, Hiram knows exactly how much he has to lose by being captured and re-enslaved. The terrible reality was that this was a fairly common occurrence for free black people in both the North and South. Kidnapping black people, even those who were “officially” free, was a highly lucrative business.

Hiram now realizes that the voice inside him that told him to flee the Underground has always been within him. It is a desire for freedom, but a selfish one. Now it is overtaken by a commitment to family. Led by Bland, they walk toward a woman who checks that Hiram is ok. She asks him what kind of agent lets himself be seized by hounds like that. After the woman walks away, one of the men Hiram doesn’t know asks if he knows who she was, and then tells him it was Moses.

The horror of slavery is so intense than no one could be blamed for wanting to preserve their own freedom at all costs after having escaped it. Indeed, this is what makes the work of the formerly enslaved Underground Railroad agents so admirable. Having successfully escaped slavery themselves, they had the courage and selflessness to go back to rescue others. 

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Moses has other nicknames, including The General, The Night, and the Vanisher. She is the “living master of Conduction.” As they drive back toward Philadelphia, Bland tells Hiram that by shooting the men who kidnapped him, they will “send a message” to others who do the same thing. Suddenly, Hiram admits to Bland that he was in love with Sophia, and that he often thinks she should have become the Underground agent instead of him. He cries, saying that Sophia deserved better. Bland says that the pain Hiram feels now is the pain of a whole world of black people whose lives have been torn apart by slavery. Hiram thanks Bland for saving him, but Bland says there’s no need—the Underground gives his life meaning.

Bland is the only white person in the novel who appears in a truly admirable light. This reflects the reality that in this period of time, the vast majority white people were either complicit with or actively perpetrating slavery and racism. Even many abolitionists, like Corrine, had slightly suspicious motivations and methods even while they helped advance the cause of freedom. For a white person to act in the genuinely noble and altruistic manner of Bland was extremely rare.

The next morning, Raymond notes that although he trusts Bland deeply, he doesn’t approve of his vengeful murders of the white men who kidnapped Hiram. He believes that Bland owes Hiram an apology. Raymond then admits that he knows where Sophia is: Lockless. Corrine persuaded Howell to take Sophia back. The Underground has not gone to rescue her yet because of its “rules,” but that they are not going to leave her there. In fact, they have already determined a method for getting her out.

One of the most important aspects of the novel’s depiction of the Underground Railroad is its emphasis on the fact that the Railroad was not a coherent, consistent organization, but rather something of a mess of conflicting ideologies, methods, and positions.

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Forge tells the story of Curzon Smith, a runaway slave who enlists in the Colonial Army during the American Revolution. A sequel to Anderson’s previous book,Chains, Forge begins in earnest after Curzon has been abandoned by Isabel, a fellow slave who has freed him from captivity at the end of the previous novel. Isabel has left in search of her lost sister, Ruth – an action Curzon has tried to prevent in order to keep her safe.

Curzon comes across a skirmish on the outskirts of Valley Forge. There, he intercedes as a young boy, Ebenezer Woodruff (Eben) draws down against a redcoat. Eben kills the soldier, and invites Curzon to meet him and his uncle Caleb at camp, to be properly thanked. Curzon follows but is beset by Trumbull, a conveyancer and Curzon’s former employer, who Curzon had stolen from when Trumbull refused to pay Curzon for his work. Caleb thanks Curzon for saving his nephew and bows to him. Curzon is moved by this. He signs up for a full tour, until the end of the war.

The following chapters describe life at Valley Forge – the laborious construction of the huts, which will be the army’s shelter, the terrible cold, and the lack of food, provisions, and resources. This, however, does not deter the good spirits of Curzon and his company. Curzon and his friends band together and survive the elements.

Bigotry and intolerance are a presence in the camp. Curzon runs afoul of John Burns – a scheming, flattering bigot – who spreads stories about him in an effort to sow discord. At a party thrown by the local militia leader, Curzon is mistaken for a slave. This leads to a temporary falling out between himself and Eben, whose privilege and ignorance makes him unable to understand Curzon and his fellow black men and women’s collective plight. Eben and Burns begin stealing food from the neighboring farms, but their alliance soon dissolves when Eben realizes Burns has no intention of sharing the food with his fellow soldiers. He and Curzon cook a pumpkin together, and Eben apologizes for his callousness.

Curzon and his friends continue the construction of their shelter hut – a process that requires the chopping down of trees and hauling of lumber. One day, Caleb mistakenly cleaves his ankle with his axe. The injury claims his life in the night. Burns is made the new sergeant, and a new captain is commissioned to lead their unit. Burns and two goons attack Curzon and steal his boots. The men in his company agree to share their boots between them to spare Curzon frostbite.

A blizzard hits the already flagging camp, and brings with it members of the Continental Congress from York. Among them is Bellingham, the man who formerly owned Curzon. Bellingham seems genuinely excited to discover Curzon is alive. He invites him to Washington’s headquarters to discuss life in the camp – Curzon thinks for a moment that he’ll be able to get justice for his abuse and stolen boots. But the next day, it’s clear that Bellingham has no interest or intention in such things. He attempts to take possession of Curzon yet again, insisting that he “owns” him. Curzon flees but is captured and court-martialed. He is returned to Bellingham, and made to work for Bellingham at Moore Hall – an estate where the congressmen are lodged. There, Curzon is horrified to discover Isabel, captured as well, serving as Bellingham’s maid.

Curzon spends the last third of the novel serving in Bellingham’s house while plotting his escape. He’s overseen and spied on by Gideon – a fellow slave, but one who appears loyal to Bellingham. Gideon overhears Curzon’s intention to flee with Isabel, and tells Bellingham, who threatens to take out any punishment due to Curzon on Isabel. Bellingham has also affixed a heavy iron collar to Isabel’s neck, the key for which he wears around his own. Gideon then falls ill and is rushed back to York for treatment.

Curzon and Bellingham visit the Valley Forge camp, where Curzon is immediately recognized by Eben. He shares with Curzon his plans to help him escape. Curzon tells this to Isabel, but she refuses, telling him that she’d intended to flee with Gideon, who would help her find her sister. Curzon, distrustful of Gideon, urges her to stay with him. Gideon returns, no longer dressed in fancy clothes, but rather dressed as a field hand. He and Isabel leave in the night. Curzon is heartbroken at her departure.

Curzon awakes in the middle of the night to discover that Isabel has returned. She tells Curzon that Gideon has been a spy for the British the entire time, and that her “ghosts” had compelled her to return to him. Curzon tells her the story of how he came to have his name – that it was his father’s spelling of coração, the Portuguese word for “heart.” The two finally kiss.

Spring arrives, and the army is ready to move. Moreover, the French have declared themselves as allies to America. The war is looking up, and Moore Hall is bustling with activity. Curzon intends to flee with Isabel when the army marches out of Valley Forge – he makes a wax impression of Bellingham’s key while he bathes, and he and Isabel melt down musket balls for the iron. Isabel forges letters drawing Bellingham away from the house, and the two steal as much food and money as they can find for their trip.

Bellingham returns armed, realizing that Curzon intends to flee, but seeing that Bellingham has no gunpowder on his lips or shirt, Curzon realizes that the man’s pistol is empty. The two fight, and Isabel knocks Bellingham unconscious with a shovel. They tie Bellingham up in the stable and flee with the army. 

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Chain Letter - Chapters 8 and 9 Summary & Analysis

Chapters 8 and 9 Summary

In Chapter 8, Tony is instructed to come in last at the track meet. He decides to ignore the Caretaker's commands, and prepares for the race as usual. Neil is on the sidelines with a cooler of Tony's favorite beverage during track meets: small cartons of lemonade available only at drive-through dairies. Neil worries before Tony takes his first sip of lemonade that perhaps the drink has been laced with something, and he takes a sip him self. He says the lemonade tastes sour, but Tony laughs at him and gulps it down. He wonders whether he senses an after taste, but dismisses the idea as having been elicited by mere suggestion.

Tony assumes his position on the track for the quarter mile race. He is confident that he will defeat the strongest runner there, an undefeated black student from another high...

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Chains is the freedom story about a young slave named Isabel who lives during the Revolutionary War. She and her little sister have been the beloved slaves of her mistress Miss Mary Finch, who had promised to free them in her will, but her brother denies the promise after her death. They're sold to British merchants in New York -- "Madam" Anne and Elihu Lockton. With Tory ties and cruel streaks, these new masters prove unbearable. Madam abuses both of the girl and keeps Ruth by her side at all times in order to separate the sisters. When Isabel meets a fells slave, Curzon, who is a part of the revolution, she agrees to act as a spy for his colonel on the Lockton's property. In exchange, Curzon promises his friendship and to help get the girls freed. One day Isabel learns that Lockton has a store of money on the property marked for the opposition of the patriots. She passes on the information, but it turns out to be a false clue, although the Loctkons remain under suspicion in their patriot-controlled state.

When Isabel catches wind of an assassination plot of George Washington, she begs Curzon to help free her in exchange for the valuable information. Lockton escapes to England, but his wife remains in the colonies. She sells Ruth without telling Isabel because the younger girl started to have seizures which scared her mistress. When Isabel complains, she is branded with the letter "I" on her cheek for insolence. Alone and depressed, Isabel is sent to work for Lockton's aunt, Lady Seymour. Right around this time the great fire of NYC 1776 occurs. Isabel rescues Lady Seymour from the flames, and the two move to the Lockton's estate where they live nearly inseparably since the girl won the old lady's favor.

The British troops march into Fort Washington and throw the patriots into prison. Isabel starts taking food to Curzon in prison where he's being grossly mistreated because he's a slave. In hopes of helping him, she agrees to once more act as a patriot spy in exchange for freedom. Unfortunately Madam soon catches on to her espionage and, outraged, reveals that she didn't sell Ruth after all. She's living at their Charleston estate but will be drowned in order to punish Isabel for her treachery. That threat and the newfound hope of reuniting with her sister inspire Isabel to escape. She snags a free pass from Lockton and walks down the street with immunity. Immediately she goes to the prison where she tricks the guards into believing the very ill Curzon has died. She takes his body via wheelbarrow to the dockyards where they steal a rowboat and row safely to New Jersey. The two of them decide to find Ruth and rescue her as well.

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Chains Questions and Answers

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Study Guide for Chains

Chains study guide contains a biography of Laurie Halse Anderson, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.

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Essays for Chains

Chains essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson.


Summary 17 chains chapter

Name: Chains Study Guide Questions Part 1 Chapter 1 1. What is the setting at the beginning of the novel? May 1776, Newport Rhode Island, cemetary 2. From what point of view is the story told? How do you know? Identify the narrator. 1st Person, I, we, me, Isabel 3. Who is Miss Mary Finch and what has happened to her? Isabel and Ruth’s owner, she has died. 4. Why does Isabel ask Pastor Weeks if she can run ahead of the wagon carrying Miss Mary Finch? What happens? Why does this upset Isabel? She wants to go talk to her mother’s ghost at her grave. Her mother doesn’t show up and Isabel thinks she may have buried her wrong. 5. How does Mr. Robert treat Isabel? Why? Mr. Robert is harsh with Isabel. She is a slave. 6. Which sentence is a simile that describes one of Mr. Robert’s features? “Mr. Robert’s mouth tightened like a rope pulled taut.” Chapter 2 1. Why does Isabel ask Pastor Weeks if he knows of a place where she and Ruth can sleep? They are supposed to be freed. 2. How do Isabel and Ruth become the property of Mr. Robert? How does that affect Isabel? Robert is Finch’s only living relative. The girls will not be set free. 3. How does Isabel’s ability to read work against her? Slaves are not supposed to be able to read, so Robert thinks she is lying. 4. What are Mr. Robert’s plans for Isabel and her sister? Take them to Newport and sell them. 5. Why does Pastor Weeks tell Mr. Roberts that Isabel and Ruth will fetch a better price with their shoes and blankets? He wants to make sure that they are allowed to go back and get some of their belongings because he loves them. 6. What incident does Isabel recall when she realizes that she and Ruth are to be sold? How does she compare herself to her father? What literary device does Anderson use to compare Isabel to her father? She remembers the day that they were sold. She uses a simile to compare herself to her father. Her father is a lion and Isabel is a kitten. Chapter 3 1. Mr. Robert tells Isabel that she can only take their shoes and blankets because nothing else belongs to them. What does Isabel decide to take as a reminder of home? She takes seeds that her mother had saved. 2. Isabel states that she doesn’t know if her mother’s seeds will grow or what they might become. What might the seeds symbolize? The unknown 3. Why does Mr. Robert take Isabel and Ruth to Sullivan’s Tavern? How is Mr. Robert’s business proposition received by the proprietors of the establishment? To sell them. The owners of the tavern tell him that they will not be selling people on his steps. 4. Describe the difference between Mr. Robert’s treatment of Ruth and Isabel and the tavern owners’ treatment of the girls. Mr. Robert is mean and the tavern owners actually feed the girls and are polite. 5. What does Isabel discover about Jenny’s connection to her past? Jenny knew their mother. 6. According to Jenny, what skill has Isabel always possessed? Why might such a skill be important to the narration of the novel? She says that she has always been able to remember things well. Since the novel is written in first person, it is important for her to remember to be able to tell the story. 7. What request does Isabel make of Jenny? How does Jenny respond? She wants Jenny to buy them. She says she can’t. 8. Why does Mr. Lockton ask Mr. Robert about his loyalty to the King? He wants to know what side he is on before he will do business with him. 9. Why does Jenny offer to buy Ruth and Isabel? Why is this unusual? She doesn’t want the girls to be mistreated. She is not a wealthy woman and used to be an indentured servant herself. 10. What is the outcome of the bidding? How will this affect Ruth and Isabel? The Lockton’s bid more than Jenny can afford, so the girls will be property of the Locktons. Chapter 4 1. How do the Locktons, Isabel, and Ruth travel from Newport to New York? Describe Isabel and Ruth’s living conditions while traveling. They travel by ship. They are below deck with the cattle and goods. 2. What is Isabel’s mental state while sitting on the deck of the Hartshorn? What does the reader learn about Isabel’s own beliefs and the history of her people? She is very depressed but hopeful. She believes that the ghosts of her ancestors will help them. Chapter 5 1. Describe and explain Ruth’s and Isabel’s reactions when they emerge from the ship in New York. The girls are shocked and surprised by all the people and activity. 2. Why does the soldier stop the sailors from loading Madam Lockton’s walnut chest onto the carriage? What is Madam Lockton’s reaction? All cargo must be inspected. Madam throws a fit because they are her personal belongings. 3. When Charles arrives at the dock, he is clearly upset and tells the Locktons that they shouldn’t have come back. How does this affect the tone of the scene? What does it imply with regard to the Locktons? He suggests that they could get into trouble and that there is more to the Locktons than we know. 4. How does the introduction of Mr. Bellingham alter Lockton’s previous claims regarding allegiance to the King? What is Mr. Bellinham’s major concern? Lockton had said he was loyal to the King. Now he is saying he is a Patriot. Bellingham’s only concern is the war. 5. Why does Madam Lockton threaten to remain perched on her chest at the dock? She says that no soldier has the right to look through a woman’s belongings. 6. How do Ruth’ and Isabel’s reaction to Madam Lockton’s behavior alter the stand-off over the chest? The giggles turn the soldiers’ attention and Madam is able to load her chest without inspection. 7. Who is Curzon? What does he offer to do for Isabel? Bellingham’s slave. He offers to take her to the water pump. Chapter 6 1. Curzon runs ahead of Isabel, causing her to lose her temper. Why does Isabel apologize to Curzon for being rude? She realizes that she needs him in order to get back to Ruth. 2. What nickname does Curzon assign to Isabel? Country 3. What stop does Curzon make on the way to retrieve water? What does Curzon do that shows his character?He stops at a stationer’s shop and comes out with rolls for Isabel. He is a good person. 4. What political ideas does Curzon share with Isabel on their walk? What is Isabel’s reaction? Loyalist vs. Patriots Isabel says she only cares about herself and Ruth. 5. What favor does Curzon ask of Isabel? What could this do to help Isabel and Ruth? What are Isabel’s main concerns? He wants her to be a spy, and Isabel has enough to do already. 6. Why does Isabel tell Curzon that she cannot help? She doesn’t want to get in trouble. Chapter 7 1. Characterize Becky Berry. She is a middle-aged servant who is irritated that the Locktons came back without warning. 2. What does Isabel learn from Becky about her new life with the Locktons? She realizes that she will not be able to watch Ruth all day. 3. As Isabel begins to prepare the house with Becky, what does she learn about the politics of servants and slaves? How does Isabel’s skillful memory lead her to challenge Becky? How does Becky respond when Isabel challenges her statement of Lockton’s politics? Servants and slave believe whatever the owners believe. She remembers that Lockton told different stories about his politics. Becky tells her not to concern herself with politics. 4. Who is Lady Clarissa Seymour? Why do the Lockton’s treat her like the queen? Lady Seymour is Lockton’s aunt. She has money and they want to make sure they get it when she dies. 5. What advice does Becky offer Isabel before departing on her errands? She tells her to keep moving. Chapter 8 1. What does Isabel do with the cobwebs that she gathers during her chores? What insight does this offer into both the science and the social structure of the time period? She keeps them under her pallet for medical treatments. It suggests that they were not advanced in medical treatments. 2. How does Isabel’s behavior indicate her understanding of her role in the Lockton home? She is always wary and careful around the Locktons because she realizes that she is not quite human to them. 3. Why has Madam Lockton decided to use Ruth as a personal maid? She is tiny and quiet and she feels that it will boost her social standing. 4. When Isabel becomes horrified and outraged that Ruth will be treated as a curiosity, Becky warns Isabel to hold her anger and take care. Why? She knows that Madam has been harsh and abusive to slaves in the past. 5. What might the final line of this chapter foreshadow? Isabel may take Curzon up on his offer to be a spy. Chapter 9 1. While vaguely aware of what is going on around her, Isabel is lost in her thoughts when sharpening the knives. What are her thoughts? What might the knives symbolize? She is thinking about the knives becoming sharp and strong. They symbolize her strength. 2. Why is Isabel summoned to the parlor? How does Isabel handle herself when she sees that Ruth has been crying? Lady Seymour wants to see her. She has to control herself, so that Madam doesn’t see her anger. 3. How does Madam Lockton further strip Isabel of her identity during the meeting with Lady Seymour? She changes her name to Sal Lockton 4. What is the significance of Anderson’s placement of the whetstone rhyme at the end of the scene in the parlor? How has Anderson constructed the characters and conflict in the novel to make this doubly significant at this point in the novel? The rhyme sounds like a threat from Isabel to Madam. 5. While serving the men in Mr. Lockton’s library, what catches Isabel’s attention? The men are talking about the King. 6. When Isabel returns to the library with more food, what does she see and hear through the crack in the door? She sees Master Lockton with a bunch of money to get people to be Loyalists. 7. How does the last line of the chapter contribute to your interest in the plot of the novel? Explain. Chapter 10 1. How does Ruth respond when Isabel asks why she was crying in the parlor? What does Isabel conclude from Ruth’s response? Ruth starts to cry, and Isabel assumes that she has been abused in some way. 2. Why does Isabel decide to report what she has learned about the linen chest to Curzon? How does the reader know that Isabel has given her plan careful consideration? She thinks it is the only way to keep Ruth safe. She talks about how much trouble she would be in if she got caught. 3. What happens when Isabel reaches Bellingham’s building? No one answers at first, and she is afraid she is at the wrong place. 4. After Isabel tells Curzon everything she has seen and heard, he tells her to go home and not to let anyone know she is an informant. Why does this frighten Isabel? She is afraid that Lockton will know she told. Chapter 11 1. Why do Isabel and Becky have a difficult day? Madam is in a bad mood. 2. Who arrives while Isabel and Becky are preparing the drawing room on the second floor. What is the purpose of their visit? How is this used against Mr. Lockton? Bellingham is there to find any lead there may be in the house. It gives them a chance to search for the money. 3. What is the result of Belligham’s search of the house? What happened to Mr. Lockton? They find nothing, and Lockton is arrested. 4. How do you think Isabel feels as she witnesses these events? Explain your answer. She is afraid that she is going to get in trouble, but she is also excited because she thinks she will be freed. Chapter 12 1. Why does Isabel go to Lady Seymour’s home? Describe the girl who answers the door. She goes to fetch Lady Seymour. A pale woman who speaks nothing but Dutch answers the door. 2. How does Lady Seymour respond to the news of Master Lockton’s arrest? She is not surprised and starts making arrangements to have him released. 3. What surprises Isabel about Lady Seymour’s behavior toward her in the kitchen? Lady Seymour is concerned about Isabel’s well-being. Chapter 13 1. Who arrives at the Locktons’ home the next morning? What can the reader infer about his appearance? Master Lockton comes in looking like he had a bad night. 2. Provide an example from chapter 13 that would support the statement that Isabel is a scapegoat in the novel. Madam blames her bruises on Isabel instead of Master Lockton. 3. What is Isabel’s favorite part of her day? Why? Her walk to the pump is her favorite part of the day because she has peace and can talk to Curzon. 4. Why does Curzon call the pump operator “Grandfather?” What might the name represent? They call him Grandfather because he is older and wise. It represents a sense of community or family among the slaves. 5. Isabel does not understand why Mr. Lockton is not in jail and she has not been set free. What does she learn from Curzon? She has to be patient and eventually Lockton will get arrested again. 6. Why does Isabel take the book from the library? What is the name of the book? Why might Anderson have chosen this book for Isabel to read? She is feeling reckless so she steals the book to read it. Robinson Crusoe is about a man who has to depend on himself like Isabel. 7. How does Isabel feel when she plants her mother’s seeds? She is comforted thinking of a better time. Chapter 14 1. Why does Madam instruct Isabel to serve Master Lockton and his companions when he has given strict orders not to be disturbed? Madam wants to meet the Mayor. 2. How does Master Lockton react to the interruption? Why do you believe Master Lockton is being so secretive about this meeting? He reminds Madam that he didn’t want to be disturbed, kicks her out, but allows Isabel to stay. He is doing something illegal. 3. How does the conversation in Master Lockton’s library highlight the differences between Isabel’s social status and the Locktons’ social status? Isabel is worried about freedom and the men are worried about money. 4. The men in the library compare the rebellion to a vine. Do you feel the comparison is an appropriate one? Explain your answer. Vines can’t grow if they are cut. OR Vines will always grow back. 5. What shocking plan does the mayor propose? How does Lockton respond? Kill Washington. At first he says no, but then says ok. 6. How does Isabel demonstrate her cleverness at the end of the chapter? She pretends to be asleep which indicates that she wasn’t paying any attention to the men. 7. What causes Isabel to drop the bottle of wine at the end of the chapter? She hears a scream from the kitchen. Chapter 15 1. What does Madam believe is the cause of Ruth’s seizure? How does Master’s reaction to the situation compare to Madam’s? The devil. Madam is screaming and Master is calm. 2. Do you think Isabel is reassured by Becky’s words at the end of the chapter? Explain. Becky doesn’t even seem convinced that Ruth won’t be sold. Chapter 16 1. Isabel believes that the only way she can protect Ruth is to get her out of the city and away from Madam Lockton. What does Isabel decide to do? Why? She is going to take the list of Loyalists to the army in hopes of being set free. 2. What is Colonel Regan’s response when Isabel offers evidence identifying the traitors in exchange for safe passage for her and Ruth to Rhode Island? He tells her that he will look into her case if her evidence is proven true. 3. How do Colonel Regan and his men react to the list of names? Colonel Regan thinks it is good information, but the men think it’s a lie. 4. Why is Isabel to return the list to Master Lockton’s desk? Regan told her to put it back, so Lockton won’t suspect anything amiss. 5. What does Colonel Regan ask Isabel to do, and what does he agree to do in return? He asks her to continue to spy and he will help her. Chapter 17 1. Describe Isabel’s state of mind over the next two days. Explain the meaning of Isabel’s comparison of her torment to “bees darting in and out of my sight, daring me to swat at them.” Isabel is afraid to leave Ruth alone. The bees are dangerous; her thoughts are dangerous; everything around her and in her life is dangerous. 2. Who arrives at the Locktons’ kitchen door? Why? Describe how the visitor’s appearance indicates his state of mind. Goldbuttons comes to warn Lockton that their plan has been discovered. He is trying to hide his appearance, so he must be scared of being arrested. 3. Why do the Locktons argue? What is the result? She is upset that he is leaving her behind. He shoves her into a bookcase. 4. In what manner does Lockton depart? Why? He mails himself in a cheese crate, so it can remain a secret that he left. 5. Why does Isabel offer to fetch Lady Seymour after Lockton’s departure? What happens? She wants to go tell the rebels that Lockton escaped. Madam says no one can leave. 6. What news does Becky share with Madam Lockton regarding Master Lockton and the discovery of the Loyalist plot? A man named Hickey gave up the plot, and Lockton got away safely. Chapter 18 1. What event does Becky encourage Isabel to attend? Why does Isabel decide to go? She goes to the hanging in hopes that Regan will free her there. 2. What is the atmosphere of the hanging? To what event does Isabel compare the hanging? Isabel compares the hanging to a fair or carnival. 3. Isabel is surprised when Curzon approaches her in the crowd gathered to witness the hanging. What interesting detail does Isabel discover when Curzon tosses her his hat? There is a label inside his hat that says James. She wonders if that’s his name. 4. What is the central question Isabel has for Curzon? How does Curzon respond? She wants to know if she will be freed and Curzon tells her to be patient. Chapter 19 1. How might Isabel’s description of her experience in the Anglican Church affect your understanding of the “separation of church and state” as outlined in the Constitution? Explain. 2. What news does a young boy bring to the church before the service ends? The British troops have arrived in the harbor. 3. How might the author use the episode of Ruth’s seizure in this chapter to contrast Lady Seymour’s character with Madam Lockton’s character? Lady Seymour is worried about Ruth’s health whereas Madam is worried about her being able to do her chores. 4. Why is Isabel’s comparison of Ruth’s most recent fit to a rain shower, rather than a thunderstorm, an appropriate metaphor? It is a small seizure. 5. Why does Isabel have to do the laundry? The washer women have left town. Chapter 20 1. Describe the change in Madam Lockton since the British ships have entered the harbor. How does the change affect Isabel? She is having mood swings, so Isabel isn’t sure how to act. 2. Becky becomes sick with a mild case of ague, so Isabel makes the daily trips to the market to obtain food. Why is she unable to contact Curzon or Colonel Regan? Curzon is busy, and she is afraid that Madam will find out if she talks to Regan. 3. What historic news arrives in New York ten days after the British troops’ arrival? Congress has declared independence from Britain. 4. Why do the cheering men march down Broadway to the Bowling Green? The rebels are pulling down a statue of the king. 5. Why is the plan to make leaden bullets from the statue ironic? The rebels are going to shoot the loyalist with their king. 6. How has Madam’s attitude toward Isabel and Ruth changed after her visit with the Reverend’s wife? How does Becky explain the sudden change in her behavior? Based on Madam’s previous behavior and attitude, is Becky’s explanation believable? She is being nice to the girls. She makes them cookies, calls Isabel Sal instead of girl, and gives her the night off. Becky tells her it is because Madam thinks she will be punished by God if she doesn’t change. 7. What literary device is used in the last line of the chapter: “For that, I shall never forgive myself”? Explain. Foreshadowing- something bad is going to happen while she is sleeping. Chapter 21 1. How might the epigraph and Isabel’s dream that open chapter 21 strengthen the foreshadowing and suspense that concludes chapter 20? The epigraph is a flyer for a slave auction. 2. Why does Isabel become frightened when she looks for Ruth? She can’t find her. 3. Fearing the worst, Isabel goes to Becky and asks what happened to Ruth. What does Becky tell Isabel and why does it terrify Isabel? How does Becky try to comfort Isabel? Becky tells Isabel that Madam sold Ruth to a family in the West Indies. Her mother was treated terribly in the West Indies, so she is afraid that Ruth will die. She says that it was a doctor, so Ruth will be well cared for. 4. What happens when Isabel confronts Madam Lockton? Madam throws a painting at Isabel. 5. How does Becky help Isabel? Becky opens the front door and tells Isabel to run. 6. Why does Isabel turn herself over to the rebels? She feels like it is their turn to help her. 7. What is ironic about Colonel Regan’s statement that he cannot help Isabel because “even during time of war, we must follow the rules of propriety and civilization”? Slavery is uncivilized. 8. What is Isabel’s final attempt at freedom? Is she successful? What happens? She tries to escape out a window and doesn’t make it. 9. Do you think Madam Lockton would have sold Ruth if Master Lockton had been home? Why/why not? No. Master Lockton seemed concerned about the girls more than as property. He wouldn’t have allowed it. Chapter 22 1. What is Isabel’s physical condition and mental state when she awakens? She has been beaten and dragged. 2. Where is Isabel taken to await trial? Describe the living conditions. She is taken to a dungeon with crazy people and rotten food, mud floors, and inmate fights. 3. Why is Isabel unable to defend herself in court? Madam lies about what happened. 4. During the trial, the attorney reminds the judge that they no longer live in a colony, but a state, due to “independence and all that”. Why might that statement seem inappropriate at Isabel’s trial? She doesn’t have independence. 5. Isabel is found guilty. What is her punishment? What is unusual about the punishment and how it is selected? She is to be branded with an “I” on her face. Madam decided on the punishment, not the judge. Chapter 23 1. Use three words or phrases to describe the scene in which Isabel is branded. 2. How is Isabel comforted after being branded? The ghosts of her mother and father are there to cool her. Chapter 24 1. Describe Isabel’s surroundings and thoughts when she awakens after suffering and hallucinating for days. She thinks she has died or is dreaming because the room and bed are clean and soft. It isn’t a dungeon but an attic. 2. Where is Isabel, and why? Is this surprising to you? Isabel is at Lady Seymour’s house because Lady Seymour was angry about what Madam had done to Isabel. 3. What is Isabel’s first question regarding Ruth? What does Lady Seymour’s response indicate about her concern for Isabel and Ruth? She wants to know who bought Ruth. Lady Seymour doesn’t know but did try to find out. Madam doesn’t care if Isabel ever sees Ruth again. 4. What will happen to Isabel now that she has recovered? Why? She has to go back to the Locktons because there is nothing Lady Seymour can do to stop it. 5. Why do you think the author chose to have a character like Angelika serve Isabel in the novel? It shows the difference between Madam Lockton’s and Lady Seymour’s views on slavery. 6. When Isabel and Lady Seymour reach the Lockton residence, how to they enter? Why is this significant? Lady Seymour goes in through the front door, but sends Isabel around to the back door. As much as Lady Seymour likes and cares about Isabel, she won’t break the rules for her.
Chains Ch 15 - 17


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