Summer Reading Project

By: Anna Dayton- Dusterheft- Block 1


The author of Chains is Laurie Halse Anderson


I believe the theme of this story is " If you don't take risks, you can't create a future" because if Isabelle didn't risk everything to help and spy for the Americans, she might not have gotten the chance to slip away and to go create a new life and be free. Without information from Isabelle, the Americans might not have won the war.


Isabelle and Ruth's owner died. They were sold to a British couple; known as Madam and Sir Lockton. Isabelle is having a difficult time adapting to the Lockton's way of living, she is not finding work easy. Isabelle meets a boy named Curzon, who is with the Americans, he asks favors from Isabelle and spreads rumors to her. Madam finds a liking in Isabelle, right as Isabelle is starting to get involved in the rumors. Isabelle finds herself torn between which side she should help, after some nasty rumors go around about both. Isabelle starts getting in trouble with Madam, by defending her sister, disobeying Madam's rules, and soon Madam figures out that she has been helping the Americans. Curzon and other American soldiers get imprisoned by the British, and Isabelle tries to help them. Isabelle tries to run away, after a violent interaction with Madam. Madam strictly punishes Isabelle; by branding her cheek. After more "bad behavior" issues with Isabelle, Madam sells her sister; Ruth. During a turning point in the war, Isabelle sneaks herself and Curzon out of town, and sails to independence.

Character Analysis

Isabelle's Personality: Isabelle is a very head strong, willing girl. She is not very patient with the changes in her life, but tries to fight through the harsh way her owners treat her. She fights for her sister; Ruth, and would give anything to make sure she is safe.

Isabelle's Actions: She is a good worker for Madam in the beginning, but after so many bad experiences, she starts acting up. Isabelle tries to help both sides, but ends up upsetting herself, and Madam. When Madam gets mad and tries to hurt Isabelle, she runs away or fights Madam herself. At night Isabelle snooped on Madam and Sir Lockton and finds information that only confuses her more. When Ruth is sold, out of anger, Isabelle finds Curzon, and runs away during a intense war moment.

Plot Line Picture

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Characters: Ruth, Isabelle, Mary Finch's husband, The Locktons

Setting: In the Graveyard, and in Jenny's restaurant, at the Lockton's house

When: Early 1900's

Rising Action

1. Isabelle and Ruth's owner died, so they are at the funeral. Isabelle and Ruth are sold to an old British couple.

2. Madam finds favor in Isabelle, right as she meets Curzon; who spreads rumors to her about the war.

3. Isabelle works well, and is good to her owners for a while.

4. She starts getting involved in the rumors and tries to help both sides.

5. She starts helping the American side spy on the British by listening to Sir Lockton and Madam's conversations with their peers, then reports the information back to Curzon.

6. Isabelle starts getting in trouble, and is always punished harshly.

7. Isabelle starts leaning towards being on the Americans side.


Madam finds out about the spying and helping the Americans. She finds a way to get Isabelle in trouble, and forces a harsh branding punishment on her after a dramatic court appointment. The pain makes Isabelle even more determined to spy and help the Americans win.

Falling Action

1. After more "behavior issues" (as Madam would say), Madam finally decided to take everything that Isabelle had away from her; by selling Ruth.

2. Isabelle sees an opportunity to run away, during an intense bombing on the city.

3. She doesn't know whether to go sneak Curzon out of prison, or leave him in there to rot and die.

4. She decides to risk her freedom and sneaks to the prison.

5. Isabelle makes a quick and clever escape, saying Curzon is dead and she is going to throw him out.


Isabelle drags Curzon to a boat. Isabelle rows her way to independence leaving Ruth, and the rest of her life behind. She risks everything to see if she and Curzon will really find an independent, free life.
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Restate of Theme (Conclusion)

The book taught me about choices and risks, and how they affect your life. It also proved that even the smallest choice