Chains Questions and Answers
by Laurie Halse Anderson

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Identify three major conflicts in the novel Chains by Laurie Hale Anderson.

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There are quite a few conflicts in Chains, but there are four that stand out above the rest.  The first and most important conflict is Isabel vs. slavery.  This conflict holds throughout the entire book in that Isabel is a thirteen-year-old who is under the true chains of slavery during the time of the American Revolution.  Isabel is promised freedom, denied that freedom, sold to a different owner, and offered respite from Rebel soldiers.  This is all part of this original and most important conflict.  Next, there is the conflict of Isabel vs. Mrs. Lockton.  Mrs. Lockton is Isabel’s current owner and treats Isabel very cruelly.  Mrs. Lockton even slaps Isabel in the face when Ruth is the one who laughs.  Thirdly, there is the conflict of Mr. Lockton vs. Mrs. Lockton.  Mr. Lockton is emotionally, verbally, and physically abusive to Anne Lockton.  Finally, considering this is the time of the American Revolution, there is also an important conflict of Loyalists vs. Rebels.  Isabel’s owners are Loyalists and are continually talking about this current conflict.  The Rebels, of course, are the soldiers that offer Isabel the possibility of freedom.

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