"Chains" ~Laurie Halse Anderson Literary Analysis

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When an African American slave decides to start her own struggle in life, not even General Washington and his troops can stop her. “Chains,” by Laurie Halse Anderson, is a historical fiction novel that tells the story of a slave, Isabel Gardener and her fight for freedom. Isabel discovers her inner strength and her true power as she rises from slave to patriot and realizes her true potential. It all starts when Isabel’s kind mistress, Mrs. Finch, dies due to smallpox. Although she wrote in her will that Isabel and her little sister Ruth would be freed after her death, a wicked and greedy relative, Robert FInch decides to sell both orphans for a great deal of money. Isabel is horrified; she was promised her freedom. “I spoke up again. ‘We’re to be freed, sir. The lawyer, Mr. Cornell, he’ll tell you. Ruth and me, we’re going to get work and a place of our own to sleep.’” Despite their pleas and claims, however, Mr. Finch sells them to two bloodthirsty masters in New York, Mr. and Mrs. Lockton. Isabel knows at once that they’ll be austere and bossy. Their life would turn upside down. “Mistress bent close to Ruth’s face. “I do not brook foolishness,’ she said. Ruth shook her head from side to side. ‘No foolin’,’ she said. Ruth and Isabel survive under the tortuous hands of their masters. Doing daily errands, running around the streets of New York, Isabel meets a fellow slave, Curzon. Curzon believes that the patriots can help him. Most of the slaves don’t take part in the Revolutionary War, because they’re too busy fighting their own wars as slaves. Curzon, however, doesn’t feel that way. “‘What say you?’ Grandfather asked. ‘I say I’m an American,’ Curzon said. ‘An American soldier.’ … The first man laughed. ‘You are an American slave.’” Curzon, being one of the rebels, knows that many words may be spoken in the Lockton house that would benefit the

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