Laurie Halse Anderson

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Chains: Chapter 27 Summary & Analysis

The British win a battle in Brooklyn, capturing or killing 1,000 Patriots. It then promptly starts to rain. Madam paces, and Isabel wishes the bees would come back to her brain so she doesn’t have to think about asking the British army for help. In the morning, it’s foggy—and when the fog lifts, the Patriots are gone. Washington spent all night ferrying 9,000 men across the river. Isabel quietly curses as she eats her supper, ignoring Becky’s chatter about the gruesomely injured men she saw earlier. Becky says she’d become a nurse, but she can’t stand the maggots that will be all over injuries in the morning. Isabel’s supper suddenly looks like maggots to her.
Now that Isabel has a plan forming in her mind, the bees are gone—which confirms that the bees are a coping mechanism and a trauma response that keep Isabel from moving forward. Now, she’s starting to move forward. With this development, Isabel also starts to regain some of her humanity after being branded. Achieving freedom—however she ends up doing so—will allow Isabel to function in society as a person with rights and dignity, the exact opposite of her situation now.
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Becky says that this supposedly proves that God is siding with the Rebellion; He created the fog to help the Patriots. Isabel thinks that if God wanted to help, He would’ve destroyed the British fleet before it left England. But Becky suggests that perhaps turning the church bells into cannons will displease God, so maybe He’ll switch sides. If he does, Becky is heading for Jersey—she won’t let the redcoats carve her up. A week later, Isabel finally sees Curzon around. It’s a relief that he’s not dead.
Becky finally confirms that she is a Patriot and only said she’s a Tory to please the Locktons—if she were actually a Loyalist, she’d be thrilled by the turn of events. Instead, she’s afraid of suffering violence. Notably, Isabel is also afraid of suffering violence—as an enslaved person, she’s more at risk than Becky is. Isabel doesn’t have the ability to pick up and leave for Jersey, so her risk remains high.
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The Personal and the Political Theme Icon