How does Isabel's viewpoint differentiate between freedom and liberty in Chains, according to Mr. Lockton's explanation?

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An essay that differentiates Isabel’s and Lockton’s perspectives on freedom and liberty in Chains could contrast the hypocrisy of Lockton with the generosity of Isabel. When Isabel acquires freedom, she doesn’t abandon the people she cares about. Instead, she tries to help them gain liberty as well.

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Consider starting the essay by explaining the context of the Elihu Lockton quote. He is addressing Bellingham, who is investigating the accusation that Lockton is on the side of England.

Bellingham asks Lockton if he has come to fight those who “strive for freedom and liberty.”

Lockton quips, “Freedom and liberty has many meanings.” He then asks if he’s “free” to go home. He wonders if he should be “at liberty” from the committee’s investigation.

An essay might note the irony of Lockton’s predicament. While Lockton complains that Bellingham is infringing upon his freedom and liberty (with quite a bit of justification; he is on the side of the British), Isabel could complain that Lockton and his wife are infringing upon her and her sister's own freedom and liberty (without any justification; they should be free). From Isabel’s point of view, Lockton would probably come off as a hypocrite. Sure, he cares about freedom and liberty when it pertains to him, but not freedom and liberty as it relates to Isabel and her sister.

An essay might also note how freedom and liberty is not linked to one country or ideology for Isabel. For Isabel, freedom and liberty is synonymous with individual survival. If she has to be on the side of the British to gain freedom, she'll try that. If she has to be a spy for America to achieve freedom, she’ll do that too.

Isabel’s shifting allegiances undercut Lockton’s and Bellingham’s idea that one country has a monopoly over freedom and liberty. If America is on the side of freedom and liberty, it shouldn’t be enslaving millions upon millions of people. If England is on the side of liberty and freedom, then its champions shouldn’t be keeping slaves either.

In a sense, Isabel represents the personal, specific complexities of freedom and liberty. She shows that these words truly mean different things to different people—especially among people with different skin colors.

Finally, an essay on Isabel’s point of view on freedom and liberty might note how freedom and liberty comes with obligations. Once Isabel can pass herself off as a free, she doesn’t abandon the people she cares about. She recuses Curzon from jail and then she goes to find her little sister. Unlike Lockton, Isabel seems to believe that if someone has freedom and liberty, they should use it to try and give others freedom and liberty as well.

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In Chains, Lockton says, “Freedom and liberty have many meanings.” Consider Lockton’s explanation of the two words and write an essay that differentiates freedom and liberty from Isabel’s point of view.

The quote in question can be found in chapter 5 of Chains. Master Lockton says his freedom and liberty quote as a rebuttal to Bellingham's own usage of the two terms. Bellingham says that Lockton has come home to fight against the people that strive for freedom and liberty, and Lockton responds by stating that freedom and liberty have many meanings. As much as it pains me to admit it, Lockton is correct. That's what helps to make him such a great antagonist: he is smart.

One thing to consider for your essay is to explain to your reader how freedom and liberty mean different things. In present day society, the two terms are often used interchangeably; however, they do have different meanings, and Lockton and Bellingham would absolutely have known the difference between the two terms. In a broad generalization, freedom is the ability to do what you please when you want to do it. Liberty is freedom to do things that the laws of the time say you can do.

Knowing that difference could propel your essay into different directions. On one hand, Isabel doesn't have the freedoms and liberties that Lockton has. She can't because she's not treated as a human deserving human freedoms and liberties. Isabel is an object. She is a piece of property to be bought and sold; therefore, freedoms and liberties do not apply to her the way that they apply to Lockton. Isabel would obviously disagree, but the laws of the land would uphold that kind of reasoning.

On the other hand, Isabel does indeed have some of the same freedoms and liberties as Lockton and other members of society have. She is at liberty to go to the Tea Water Pump. Lockton has that same liberty. Lockton and Isabel are both free to leave New York (and Isabel does this near the novel's conclusion), but Isabel is not at liberty to do so. She would be breaking the law by becoming a runaway slave, so while Isabel does have freedom and liberty, the liberties that she is granted are far fewer than those given to Lockton.

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