Unchained Summer

Brooke Vanzura

Breaking the Chains

Over the summer, I read the book "Chains." The main characters were Isabel and her sister, Ruth. They were African- American slaves who were forced to work even though their parent's Will had stated that they be set free. The protagonists were Isabel, Ruth, Curzon, and Becky. The antagonists were, Madam, and Lockton (Madam's husband). The plot was their struggle to become free. The conflict was that Madam kept getting in the way of Isabel and Ruth's dream to finally become free (Isabel, Curzon & Ruth VS. Madam). The expedition was that the girls were sold to Madam, (who lived in New York) who was becoming more and more cruel and harsh. The rising action was that Madam dressed Ruth as her Personal slave and made her do everything for her, and Isabel was angry at Madam for taking advantage of her little sister, and to make matters worse, Isabel rarely saw her sister throughout the days because Madam made Ruth her personal slave. Curzon, the boy Isabel met at the well, decided to help Isabel and Ruth escape, even though they couldn't leave New York for a while. Meanwhile, Lockton gets arrested and gets released and wants to kidnap the General Washington. Ruth got sick and Madam threatened to sell her. Isabel told the rebels their plan to kill Washington. In the climax, Madam was becoming nicer to Isabel, and then Madam sold Ruth, and Isabel wanted to beat her, but Madam threatened to have her hanged. Afterwards, Isabel ran out the door to the British, then Madam found her and wanted to hang her, then Isabel had to back with Madam, and she didn't want to so instead she tried running out the window but woke up with a gun against her chin. She was all beaten up and was taken to court to determine if she would be killed for trying to escape. Instead, she was branded on her cheek with the letter "I" for insolence. The British attacked and Lady Semour's room caught on fire, so Isabel saved her, and the painting of Lady Semour's husband. Curzon got shot in the leg and he wanted Isabel to carry messages to the 'rebels' but she said no. Then, Curzon was taken to the prison, so Isabel went there to feed them. Shortly afterwards, Madam forbid Isabel to feed the prisoners. Curzon got really sick in the jail, and the security was higher so Isabel couldn't see Curzon. Isabel wanted to save enough money to be free. The security guard, Morse wanted Isabel to carry a message to the other side and she didn't tell Madam ( the message was that Washington beat the Hessian's). and Madam found out that she had a message but Isabel threw the message in the fire and threatened to sell her and Ruth, and Isabel became confused because she thought Madam had already sold Ruth. In the falling action, Madam locked Isabel in the potato bin, and she escaped, grabbed a map, and made a document for the king to sign so she could be free. Lady Seymour then gave Isabel money as payment for saving her painting. In the resolution, Isabel rescued Curzon from the prison so they could rescue Ruth, and then they rowed all the way down the river to freedom.



The theme/ summary of Chains was that even though Isabel was a slave who had to take care of her sister, was whipped, beaten, and afraid, she still tried to be brave. She eventually faced her fears and found freedom.

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