What are 5 things that you know about Ruth? Explain how Isabel feels about Ruth, and support with a quote.      

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sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator
  1. Ruth is Isabel's sister. 
  2. Ruth is five years old.  
  3. Ruth is "simple."  Her mental development is stunted in some way.  Readers are not sure exactly what the issue is, but Ruth's condition is obvious to others.  Madam Lockton asks Isabel about Ruth being simple, and Madam Lockton only had to see Ruth.  Perhaps Ruth has Down syndrome.  That would explain why Ruth's physical characteristics alert people to her mental disability. Having Down syndrome would also give Ruth a predisposition to having seizures.    
  4. Ruth suffers from seizures.
  5. Ruth is a hard worker.

Isabel is fiercely protective of Ruth.  That stems partly from the fact that Ruth is her sister, but it is also because Isabel knows that Ruth needs to be looked after more than normal.  That's because Ruth is young, and because she is mentally handicapped.  Isabel is willing to put herself in harm's way in order to protect Ruth.  For example, the first time that Ruth has a seizure in front of Madam Lockton, the Madam believes that Ruth is possessed by the Devil.  Madam Lockton begins beating Ruth with a broom, and Isabel throws herself on top of Ruth in order to protect her from the blows.  

"Out, Devil!" Madam shouted as she again raised the broom over her head.  

"No!" I threw myself on top of my sister.  The broom came down on my back, once, twice, but it didn't matter. I had to keep her safe until the storm passed. 

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Chains

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