What is the main idea of Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson?

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Noelle Thompson | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

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There is no doubt that the effects of slavery before and during the Revolutionary War is the main idea of Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson.  There are many details that indicate this main idea.  First, the young slave named Isabel (the protagonist of the story) is promised freedom and then sold to abusive owners who are Loyalists pretending to be Patriots in order to continue their lavish way of life.  Because the Locktons are loyal to the British crown, they invite all sorts of suspicion.  Another detail that shows the main idea is that Curzon, yet another slave, asks Isabel to spy on the Locktons for him in order to further the Patriot cause.  Still another detail having to do with the evils of slavery is when Isabel's sister is sent away to Charleston.  A slave, of course, has no say as to where his or her siblings should reside.  Isabel makes a vow to find her sister and is attempting to do so due to her freedom at the end of the book.  Through Curzon (and the details told to Isabel), the reader even learns about the Battle of Fort Washington through the eyes of a slave.  All of these details should lead the reader to believe the main idea to be the effects of slavery during the American Revolution.

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