Laurie Halse Anderson

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What does the King George statue symbolize in Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson?

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The section of text that focuses on the statue of King George can be found in chapter 20. The Continental Congress has declared independence from Great Britain, and the Patriots are ecstatic. Part of their celebration involves pulling down a "golden" statue of King George on a horse.

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The section of text that focuses on the statue of King George can be found in chapter 20. The Continental Congress has declared independence from Great Britain, and the Patriots are ecstatic. Part of their celebration involves pulling down a "golden" statue of King George on a horse.

The statue is symbolic of a variety of things. It is first symbolic of the actual king and therefore the entire British government and oppression of the colonists. That statue is a physical symbol of everything the Patriots hate about England, like England's oppressive rule over the colonies. By pulling the statue down, the Patriots are making a symbolic statement that they are ready to pull away from the king and Great Britain.

Isabel points out to readers that the statue shines its brilliant gold when the sun shines on it; however, it dulls significantly when the clouds are out. Readers are meant to see significance in this observation of Isabel's. The statue, like the king, demands respect when everything is going well; however, clouds like the rebellion take away the king's shining power.

Another important symbol to note about the statue is that the statue isn't actually made of gold. Isabel is surprised to see how quickly the statue is broken apart. She didn't think that gold would do that, but it turns out that the statue is actually made of lead "covered with gilt paint." This is an important symbolic detail; it is meant to show that King George looks rich and powerful but is ultimately not as powerful as his appearance conveys.

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