What are the conflicts in the novel Chains?

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One of the main conflicts in the novel Chains is the conflict between Isabel and slavery. Not only does Isabel have to deal with the physical and emotional stresses of being in slavery, but she is also manipulated into thinking she will be set free, which makes the conflict even...

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One of the main conflicts in the novel Chains is the conflict between Isabel and slavery. Not only does Isabel have to deal with the physical and emotional stresses of being in slavery, but she is also manipulated into thinking she will be set free, which makes the conflict even more prominent.

In regard to slavery is another conflict, which is the cruel relationship between Isabel and her owner, Mrs. Lockton. Mrs. Lockton abuses Isabel throughout the story.

Finally, there is a conflict between the Rebels and the Loyalists. The Rebels are working toward ending slavery, freeing not only Isabel, but all other slaves during the American Revolution. The Loyalists, on the other hand, practice slavery. Mrs. and Mr. Lockton are both Loyalists.

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Throughout the novel, Isabel experiences numerous inner conflicts. She must constantly try to reconcile herself to an unacceptable situation. Although she contemplates running away, the deep internal conflict that holds her back is her sense of responsibility toward Ruth. Isabel knows that her sister would suffer, perhaps even die, if left on her own. Until Ruth has left, Isabel's internal conflict is between freedom and family.

At the other extreme is the broad political and social conflict between Loyalists and Patriots. While the Patriots see their cause as liberty, the Loyalists view them as traitors to the Crown. Although some Patriots are slaveholders, the main slave-owning family depicted, the Locktons, are Loyalists. In this way, the author extends the analogy of freedom from the national sovereignty claimed by the Patriots and Isabel and others's release from slavery.

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In Laurie Halse Anderson’s Chains, the protagonist faces two major types of conflict, namely external and internal conflict. The internal conflict arises due to the fact that Isabel, the main character, has to deal with certain struggles, such as taking care of her younger sister following her mother’s death. Besides that, Isabel lacks self-confidence and often seeks for advice from other people.

The second type of conflict evident in this novel is external conflict. This type of conflict can be explained based on the fact that Isabel is enslaved during the Revolutionary War. Isabel is a slave at Madam Lockton’s home, which means that her freedom is limited. If she is not willing to work, her cruel master punishes her. In this regard, she has to explore all the possible means of freeing herself. She manages to escape from slavery in the end.

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One conflict evident in the novel is person versus society. The best example of this conflict type is found in Isabel and Ruth's struggle with slavery. Upon the death of Mary Finch, Isabel and Ruth were to be set free. Unfortunately, Robert doesn't feel obligated to honor Mary's wishes. He keeps the two girls in slavery and sells them off to a new family. The conflict is person versus society, because Isabel and Ruth are fighting against a corrupt societal system. That conflict is further escalated by Isabel agreeing to spy against the Loyalists in exchange for her freedom.

Another conflict is person versus person. Isabel is central to this conflict as well. Her main antagonist through much of the story is Madam Lockton. Madam Lockton is not a kind woman, and she is especially mean and difficult toward Isabel.

Madam Lockton's cruel treatment of Isabel leads to a third type of conflict, the conflict of person versus self. As Madam Lockton escalates her cruel treatment, Isabel must decide what to do. She can continue to take the punishment, continue to spy and hope for freedom, run away, or forge documents that grant her freedom.

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