How is Mr. Lockton mean in Chains?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

For starters, Mr. Lockton is a staunch loyalist and slave owner. Being a loyalist, he is loyal to the British empire and at various points throughout the novel attempts to bribe various patriots and plots to assassinate George Washington. Not only is he an evil presence in the overarching, patriotic sense of the word, but he is a violent and cruel man. While not all slave owners were physically abusive, they still contributed to the enslavement of black people, and Mr. Lockton is certainly physically abusive—frequently beating not only slaves Isabel and her epileptic daughter Ruth but also his own wife and family members.

Elihu Lockton's spousal abuse extends beyond regular physical abuse. He conceals the evidence of his sedition in his wife's dresser, which, if found, would cast suspicion on her, and it is likely he would betray her if that were to happen.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Pick something that you do not like in people and chances are that Mr. Lockton is also that way.  Is he a liar?  Yep, he has got that one covered in spades.  He lies to just about everyone, and they are not little lies either.  He is a loyalist through and through, but he acts like a Patriot when it benefits him.  

Maybe that is not mean enough for you though.  Try this one on for size.  He is verbally and physically abusive to his wife.  In chapter 13 Mr. and Mrs. Lockton get into a huge argument.  Mr. Lockton, wanting to get his way, starts throwing various household objects at his wife.  I also believe that Mr. Lockton does and says things to Mrs. Lockton just to make her mad.  For example, Mr. Lockton sends Isabel to Lady Seymour's house to help her out.  Mr. Lockton does this for some selfish reasons, but he also does it knowing full well that Mrs. Lockton is going to be livid about it.  

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial