In the midst of the war for control of New York, Isabel starts doing the marketing because Becky has fallen seriously ill. One day while she is out shopping, she hears a commotion coming from the area around City Hall. When she arrives there, she realizes that the new country has been proclaimed: “the Congress had declared independence,” and throughout the streets, men are cheering, dancing, and marching. The news emboldens them to shout at the British troops in the ships across the river.
The meaning of King George’s statue varies widely, depending on the loyalties of the particular characters. For the loyalists, it was important to have a constant reminder of their king’s rightful authority and his power. For the patriots, however, the statue reminded them of the many injustices that affected them. The huge statue was the personification of the inequalities of colonialism as much as it was a portrait of a human being or even a king.
As Isabel observes the huge statue that the men are surrounding, she comments on the immense height of the pedestal on which the statue—showing the king as a rider on a horse—is mounted, as high as three men. Not only are they unnaturally large, which Isabel adjudges “the way of kings,” but both are covered in gold. The collective efforts of the men with ropes who pull the statue down represent the united forces that will prevail in the revolution. Even though they are much smaller than the statue, their combined efforts are strong enough to bring it down. As they chop it to bits, everyone can see that the gold was only on the outside; the statue is ordinary lead—just as the king is just another man.