Chains

by

Laurie Halse Anderson

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Curzon is an enslaved boy who’s about Isabel’s age; Master Bellingham owns him. He soon becomes Isabel’s only real friend in New York, and she can always recognize him in the crowd by his “ridiculous” red hat and gold hoop in his ear. Curzon is bright, idealistic, and is fully committed to the Americans’ fight for freedom—he believes that when the Patriots talk about freeing everyone, they truly mean everyone, enslaved people included. Because of this, Curzon encourages Isabel to spy on the Locktons (who are Loyalists) for the Patriots’ cause—and in exchange for her intelligence, he promises to talk to Bellingham about freeing Isabel and Ruth. But Isabel eventually finds out that neither Bellingham nor other Patriot officers are willing to help her, and she refuses to speak to Curzon after this. During this time, Isabel learns that Curzon has joined the American army in Bellingham’s place. Curzon believes Bellingham’s promise to free him if Curzon signs up for the military in his place—but other enslaved people insist that Curzon is more likely to die as a soldier. Ultimately, Curzon is shot through the leg and then imprisoned with thousands of other Patriot prisoners at the Bridewell Prison. There, survival is a struggle due to his white fellow prisoners’ racism—they don’t believe Curzon, as a Black enslaved person, deserves food, medical care, or blankets. Isabel strikes a deal with one of Curzon’s cellmates to make sure Curzon survives. Because Curzon saved Isabel from dying in the stocks when she was imprisoned for trying to run away, Isabel smuggles Curzon out of the prison early in January and runs away with him, freeing them both.

Curzon Quotes in Chains

The Chains quotes below are all either spoken by Curzon or refer to Curzon. 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 6 Quotes

“You feel beholden to Lockton?”

“Pardon?”

“He’s going to feed you and your sister, give you a place to sleep. He can order you sold, beat, or hung, if the mood takes him. That could make a person feel a kind of loyalty.”

I stopped, considering this. “Someday I’ll find that lawyer and Miss Mary’s will and that’ll free us. Until then, we need to eat, work, and stay together. So yes, I guess I’m loyal to Lockton.”

The words tasted bitter. Being loyal to the one who owned me gave me prickly thoughts, like burrs trapped in my shift, pressing into my skin with every step.

Related Characters: Curzon (speaker), Isabel (speaker), Master Elihu Lockton, Ruth, Miss Mary Finch
Page Number: 39
Explanation and Analysis:

“They won’t say anything in front of me.”

“You are a small black girl, Country,” he said bitterly. “You are a slave, not a person. They’ll say things in front of you they won’t say in front of the white servants. ’Cause you don’t count to them. It happens all the time to me.”

Related Characters: Isabel (speaker), Curzon (speaker), Master Elihu Lockton, Master Bellingham
Page Number: 41
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 25 Quotes

“Listen,” he started. “Our freedom—”

I did not let him continue. “You are blind. They don’t want us free. They just want liberty for themselves.”

“You don’t understand.”

“Oh, no. I understand right good,” I countered. “I shouldn’t have believed your rebel lies. I should have taken Ruth and run the night we landed. Even if we drowned, we would have been together.”

Related Characters: Curzon (speaker), Isabel (speaker), Ruth, Colonel Regan
Page Number: 160-161
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 36 Quotes

“Please, ma’am,” I tried again. “How did you know?”

Her gaze returned to the logs in the hearth. “Take care how you go, Isabel. Many people think it is a fine and Christian thing to help the prisoners. I do not think my niece is one of them.”

“Yes, ma’am,” I whispered.

Related Characters: Isabel (speaker), Lady Seymour (speaker), Curzon, Madam Lockton
Page Number: 227
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Chains LitChart as a printable PDF.
Chains PDF

Curzon Character Timeline in Chains

The timeline below shows where the character Curzon appears in Chains. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 5
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
...to get water or where home is, but Madam says that Charles will help Isabel. Curzon, the enslaved boy, steps up and offers to help Isabel, since he’s running an errand... (full context)
Chapter 6
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
Curzon tells Isabel to follow and then runs off without looking back. Isabel runs after him,... (full context)
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
Curzon sits and asks if Ruth is Isabel’s sister, and if that’s why Isabel took the... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
As Curzon talks about the brewing war and the significance of New York to each side, Isabel’s... (full context)
Chapter 7
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
...Water Pump back to the Lockton house. Isabel forgets how much her arms hurt when Curzon points to the huge house, which is four floors high with tall windows. Curzon points... (full context)
Chapter 8
Freedom Theme Icon
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
...this moment on, Ruth spends most of her time with Madam. Isabel thinks often of Curzon’s offer. (full context)
Chapter 10
Freedom Theme Icon
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
...to protect her, opens the gate, and runs. She figures getting to Bellingham’s house and Curzon will be easy, but that’s not the case. Isabel dodges soldiers on watch and spilling... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
At the window Curzon told her about, Isabel taps the glass. Nothing happens—until Curzon emerges from the shadows across... (full context)
Chapter 13
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
...the Tea Water Pump. A week after Lockton returns home, Isabel stands in line with Curzon and gives her buckets to the old enslaved man who works the pump. He has... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
Once Isabel and Curzon are a few blocks from the pump, Isabel asks why nobody has arrested Lockton. Curzon... (full context)
Chapter 16
Freedom Theme Icon
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
...When Isabel tells the man nobody can vouch for her except for Master Bellingham’s boy Curzon, he sends her away. Isabel struggles and says that she has proof the Loyalists want... (full context)
Chapter 18
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
Curzon surprises Isabel by whispering in her ear. He tells Isabel now isn’t the time to... (full context)
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
...epaulets and buttons, and Ruth stops giggling. A preacher then leads Hickey to the gallows. Curzon says it’s only appropriate that Hickey is crying. Ruth starts to fuss and cover her... (full context)
Chapter 20
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
...that’s plaguing all the soldiers. Isabel goes to the market for her and looks for Curzon while she’s there, but she never sees the boy. Ten days after the British ships... (full context)
Chapter 23
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
...now, there’s a crowd on the other side of the brazier. Isabel thinks she sees Curzon, but then she loses sight of his red hat. Soon, everyone in the courtyard is... (full context)
Chapter 24
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
...from Jamaica. The woman sings and tells Isabel to sleep. Isabel asks about Ruth often. Curzon tells Isabel to get up, and fortunately, he doesn’t turn into a dead person. Then... (full context)
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
...run away, contracted a fever while in the City Hall prison, and then was branded. Curzon came and told Lady Seymour that Isabel was about to die in the stocks, so... (full context)
Chapter 25
Freedom Theme Icon
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
...burning again. Once, Becky apologizes for what happened, but Isabel instantly forgets what Becky says. Curzon tries to talk to Isabel through the fence most days, but she ignores him. (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
...“the girl hidden behind it.” Later that evening, Becky says that Isabel needs to tell Curzon to go away. Madam wants him arrested. (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 gate, Curzon says they have a lot... (full context)
Chapter 26
Freedom Theme Icon
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
The argument continues, and then someone asks Curzon what he thinks. Curzon steps forward and looks different, but Isabel still can’t figure out... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
...it’s a sign she’s a survivor and tells Isabel to look for her River Jordan. Curzon helps Isabel carry her buckets home, but she refuses to look at him.  (full context)
Chapter 27
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
...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. (full context)
Chapter 33
Freedom Theme Icon
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
...she actually died in the fire and just can’t enter heaven. But she also hears Curzon’s voice telling her to join the rebels—and she tells that voice to be quiet. Isabel... (full context)
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
...the Commons, where British soldiers are ushering American soldiers into the Bridewell Prison. Isabel spots Curzon, muddy and injured, among them. (full context)
Chapter 34
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
...care about spreading scraps on their sad garden. Isabel shivers in the cold, thinking of Curzon. Something inside her shifts, and Isabel stashes the bowl of scraps at the back of... (full context)
Chapter 35
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
...voices in her head tell her she shouldn’t do this. But another voice says that Curzon is Isabel’s only friend, and that he freed her from the stocks. She knocks on... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
...guard takes Isabel’s scrap bucket “for further inspection” and a short man points Isabel to Curzon, who’s laying in the corner. He reveals that he was shot in the leg, but... (full context)
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
...the guard comes back and tells Isabel it’s time to go, she tries to give Curzon her cloak. He refuses; it will be “borrowed” if he keeps it. But he accepts... (full context)
Chapter 36
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
...and mutton fat for the prisoners. Inside, there are frozen bodies stacked up awaiting burial. Curzon is feverish and refuses to talk. (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
...Lady Seymour is feeling better. As he wraps the books, he asks if Isabel knew Curzon; Curzon brought Isabel here once and convinced the man to share his rolls. Isabel apologizes... (full context)
Chapter 37
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
...early in the morning. The women agree—and now Isabel has an excuse to check on Curzon, since the prison is near the pump. (full context)
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
...cell windows. Isabel hurries to the back of the prison, where the burial pits and Curzon’s window are. She calls for him, but Dibdin comes to the window. Dibdin says that... (full context)
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
A moment later, Curzon appears in the window. He’s shivering, clearly ill, and missing his hat. Curzon can’t even... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
...and he’s enraged to learn how the prisoners are being treated. He also promises that Curzon will receive help, just like the other soldiers. Captain Morse asks for Isabel’s name so... (full context)
Chapter 38
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
...Isabel’s trip to the prison is fast—Captain Morse’s doctor has tended to the prisoners, and Curzon is doing better. Isabel then spends her morning cutting holly for Madam and helping to... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
When Isabel is finally free for the afternoon, she’s still trembling. Will Curzon die now that Isabel can’t carry messages for Dibdin? Isabel thinks as she walks. She... (full context)
Chapter 40
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
...shouts for Isabel and hurries toward her. It’s the guard who first let Isabel visit Curzon. He asks if she’d bring him some food sometime and then asks if Isabel’s master... (full context)
Chapter 42
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
Visiting Curzon at the prison and then passing by the tavern where Captain Morse works is, these... (full context)
Chapter 44
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
...go to the Bridewell, her feet stop listening—they head for the prison. She remembers how Curzon cared for her. It’ll be impossible to sneak him out without a pass, but Isabel... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
...the waste into the burial pit. She skips the next several cells and stops at Curzon’s cell. A man at the gate says that Dibdin died this morning; Curzon is curled... (full context)
Chapter 45
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
...guards and a dog sitting around a fire. Isabel backs into the shadows and tells Curzon to get up. He can barely stand, but he leans on Isabel, and they creep... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
...woodsmoke—the rowboat is just stuck in a tangle of bushes. It’s just before dawn. Isabel, Curzon, and the branches above are all coated in ice—and Isabel can see New York across... (full context)