Chains

by

Laurie Halse Anderson

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Chains: Chapter 12 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Becky sends Isabel to fetch Lady Seymour, who lives just north of Trinity Church. Isabel locates the house and walks around to the back, where there’s a garden with beautiful roses that Momma would love. A maid with the palest skin Isabel has ever seen opens the door. She speaks to Isabel in a strange language and slams the door in Isabel’s face, but a few minutes later, Lady Seymour herself opens the door. The lady shows Isabel in—calling her Isabel rather than Sal—gives Isabel a mug of milk and a cookie, and asks Isabel to tell her what happened. Lady Seymour isn’t surprised Lockton was arrested and says that Madam should under no circumstances leave for Charleston, which is what she wants to do. Lady Seymour says that once Isabel has had more milk and cookies, she must run some messages around town for her.
It's a symbol of Lady Seymour’s kindness and compassion that she keeps such a lovely garden—it contrasts with the Locktons’ cruelty and their poor excuse for a garden. Then, Lady Seymour starts to establish herself as an ally to Isabel when she calls Isabel by her given name and not by Sal. Clearly, she is at odds with her nephew and niece-in-law, and she doesn’t agree with how they treat the enslaved people they own. But it seems that though Lady Seymour generously gives Isabel milk and cookies, she’s either unwilling or unable to help Isabel in any other way.
Themes
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon