Chains

by

Laurie Halse Anderson

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Becky Barry Character Analysis

Becky is the paid white maid working for the Locktons when Isabel first arrives in New York. Becky is kind to Isabel and Ruth—she insists she has no problem with enslaved people, provided they do as they’re told—but she is generally unwilling to protect the girls from Madam’s ire. However, Isabel does appreciate that Becky seems to dislike Madam and isn’t afraid to voice her annoyances whenever she’s out of earshot of Madam. Becky also coaches Isabel on how best to behave to keep herself safe, both in New York more broadly and in Madam’s terrifying, abusive household. Like many New Yorkers, Becky’s loyalty to either the British or the Patriots changes depending on the day. She insists to Isabel that since the Locktons are Tories, she and Isabel are too—agreeing with the Locktons is how they stay safe and employed. But Becky also seems very impressed with General Washington and attends parades of Patriot soldiers. Becky does stand up for Isabel once by encouraging her to run away, after Madam sells Ruth and threatens to injure or kill Isabel when Isabel confronts her. It doesn’t appear as though Becky suffers any consequences for this. Becky disappears soon after the British soldiers invade New York.

Becky Barry Quotes in Chains

The Chains quotes below are all either spoken by Becky Barry or refer to Becky Barry. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Freedom Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Atheneum Books for Young Readers edition of Chains published in 2010.
Chapter 7 Quotes

“Listen to me good. Them that feeds us”—she pointed upstairs—“they’re Loyalists, Tories. That means we’re Tories too, understand?”

“Yes, ma’am.” I nodded. “But…” I hesitated, not sure if I was allowed to ask questions. “Master Lockton claimed he was a Patriot on the docks.”

[…] “He was faking to protect his skin. Some folks switch back and forth. One day they’re for the king, the next, it’s all ‘liberty and freedom, huzzah!’ A tribe of Mr. Facing-Both-Ways, that’s what you’ll find in New York.”

Related Characters: Becky Barry (speaker), Isabel (speaker), Master Elihu Lockton
Page Number: 46
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 15 Quotes

“The child’s curse will poison us all. I want her sold, Elihu, sold today.”

[…]

“They are sisters, Anne. One must remember that.”

“Please, Madam,” I said. “She’s too little. She’ll be hurt.”

Related Characters: Madam Lockton (speaker), Master Elihu Lockton (speaker), Isabel (speaker), Ruth, Becky Barry
Page Number: 95
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Chains LitChart as a printable PDF.
Chains PDF

Becky Barry Character Timeline in Chains

The timeline below shows where the character Becky Barry appears in Chains. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Freedom Theme Icon
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
...she wants the girls—Ruth could be “an amusement in the parlor” and Isabel can help Becky. She tells Isabel to call her Madam. (full context)
Chapter 7
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
...startles Isabel’s reverie, but the woman’s anger disappears when Isabel introduces herself. The woman is Becky; she warns Isabel to stay away from Curzon and then puts water on for tea,... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Once water is heating, Becky tells Isabel the rules: do what Madam says. Isabel will go to the Tea Water... (full context)
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
Becky leads Isabel through the house, pointing out Master Lockton’s library. She leads Isabel into the... (full context)
Chapter 8
Freedom Theme Icon
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Since Becky lives at a boardinghouse, it’s Isabel’s job to get the fire going first thing in... (full context)
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
...after the big fight, Madam sends for Ruth. Isabel, distraught, wants to know why, but Becky gripes that Madam’s desires never make much sense. Maybe she’ll task Ruth with ripping out... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
Becky says she’s sure Isabel doesn’t like this, but she has to be careful—Madam isn’t afraid... (full context)
Chapter 9
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
...on the exposed sand. Ruth is upstairs with Madam; Master Lockton is in his library. Becky is watching General Washington and his soldiers parade down the street. When Becky gets back... (full context)
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Becky waves Isabel inside. Isabel instantly notices Ruth, who looks like “Madam’s pretty pet.” Ruth also... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
In the kitchen, Becky pulls down a big silver tray and loads it with food. She fills a second... (full context)
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Becky leaves, and Isabel fills the men’s goblets. She then stands in the corner while the... (full context)
Chapter 10
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
Eventually, Lady Seymour and the men leave. Becky, Isabel, and Ruth eat the guests’ leftovers, and since Ruth is exhausted, Isabel takes her... (full context)
Chapter 11
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
It seems like Becky shakes Isabel awake as soon as Isabel falls asleep. All day, Isabel hurries through her... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
...an art studio like Isabel thought at first. As she rips sheets off the furniture, Becky mutters that it’s ridiculous that Madam wants the drawing room prepped when there’s no real... (full context)
Chapter 12
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Becky sends Isabel to fetch Lady Seymour, who lives just north of Trinity Church. Isabel locates... (full context)
Chapter 13
Freedom Theme Icon
...after washing out the pot, she can hear the Locktons shouting and joins Ruth and Becky at the foot of the stairs to listen. They can hear them throwing things, and... (full context)
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
...that Lockton suspects one of his friends of exposing him to the patriots. Every day, Becky returns from the marketplace with gossip. Isabel tries to take Momma’s advice to ignore it. (full context)
Chapter 14
Freedom Theme Icon
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
...in, sweaty and impatient. She says that Isabel will serve Lockton and his guests, ignoring Becky when Becky notes that Lockton said he doesn’t want to be disturbed. Madam loads the... (full context)
Chapter 15
Freedom Theme Icon
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
Lockton sends Becky back to the library with wine and then asks how often Ruth experiences fits. Madam... (full context)
Chapter 17
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
...Master Lockton is busy visiting the mayor, and Madam stays upstairs. Madam insists that only Becky can serve her, since she’s afraid of Ruth. Becky and Isabel don’t keep Ruth away... (full context)
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
Isabel repeats “ad astra” over and over until it feels like a prayer. Becky’s gossip from the market gets wilder and wilder, and the weather gets even hotter. Two... (full context)
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
Soldiers arrive at dawn and find nothing, so they stomp away. Becky heads for the market, and when she returns, Madam demands to hear the news or... (full context)
Chapter 18
Freedom Theme Icon
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
On Friday morning, Becky insists that Isabel take Ruth and go watch Thomas Hickey’s hanging. Madam will be fine... (full context)
Chapter 20
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
A week after Hickey’s hanging, Becky gets sick with the sickness that’s plaguing all the soldiers. Isabel goes to the market... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
...Isabel gets back to the Lockton house, the lights are on in the front parlor. Becky says that Madam visited the reverend’s wife and came home a changed woman. She asked... (full context)
Chapter 21
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
...sister. Ruth isn’t in the privy or in the kitchen. Suddenly nervous, Isabel calls for Becky and asks where Ruth is. Becky looks down. She’s clearly been crying. Sniffing, Becky starts... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Isabel shakes her head and runs down the hallway, yelling for Ruth and ignoring Becky’s warnings. Becky grabs Isabel and says that Madam sold Ruth—the milk last night probably contained... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
...asks what’s going on. The paintings of her dead ancestors on the wall watch her. Becky says she was giving Isabel her instructions for the day, but Isabel asks the “miserable... (full context)
Chapter 25
Freedom Theme Icon
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
...but scrub and carry. Madam refuses to speak to Isabel and gives her orders through Becky. If Isabel is working in the kitchen, the bees trick Isabel into seeing Ruth’s ghost.... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
...death for betraying her. Near the end of August, the British row to Long Island. Becky sends Isabel to the marketplace since she’s too afraid to go herself. In public, people... (full context)
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
Isabel only goes outside when Becky says it’ll be Isabel’s fault if Curzon is beaten. As soon as Isabel opens the... (full context)
Chapter 26
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
...following days, since there are no spare carpenters in town—they’re all getting ready for war. Becky starts to talk about leaving for her uncle in Jersey. (full context)
Chapter 27
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
...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,... (full context)
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
Becky says that this supposedly proves that God is siding with the Rebellion; He created the... (full context)
Chapter 28
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
...generals are taking care of things. Civilians should go home and lock their doors. Since Becky has the day off, Isabel serves Madam her midday meal. Madam is surprisingly calm. When... (full context)
Chapter 30
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
...Locktons agree to house two British soldiers. Isabel is now the only staff in the house—Becky vanished. But it doesn’t matter to Isabel, since she feels empty. Isabel roasts the chicken... (full context)
Chapter 32
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
...she’s pregnant and not very friendly, but fortunately seems uninterested in beating Isabel. Isabel misses Becky. It’s odd to sleep in the cellar with others—and after a soldier steals Isabel’s blanket... (full context)