Chains

by

Laurie Halse Anderson

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Mr. Robert Finch Character Analysis

Mr. Robert is Miss Finch’s nephew; he comes to visit Miss Finch not long after she becomes ill. A greedy and selfish man, he doesn’t seem sad at all about his aunt dying—and according to Isabel, Mr. Robert steals Miss Finch’s money before her body is cold and then buries her so fast that it’s disrespectful. He also refuses to acknowledge that his aunt freed Isabel and Ruth in her will and accuses Isabel of lying about this, since the will is missing. He sells Isabel and Ruth to the Locktons, thinking only of his profits and not at all about the girls’ welfare, dignity, or humanity.

Mr. Robert Finch Quotes in Chains

The Chains quotes below are all either spoken by Mr. Robert Finch or refer to Mr. Robert Finch. 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 3 Quotes

On the hearth stood the jar of flower seeds that Momma had collected, seeds she never had a chance to put into the ground. I didn’t know what they’d grow into. I didn’t know if they’d grow at all. It was fanciful notion, but I uncorked the jar, snatched a handful, and buried it deep in my pocket just as the privy door creaked open.

Related Characters: Isabel (speaker), Momma/Dinah, Mr. Robert Finch, Ruth
Related Symbols: Seeds, Plants, and Gardens
Page Number: 13-14
Explanation and Analysis:

“We don’t hold with slaves being auctioned on our front steps. Won’t stand for it, in fact.”

“I thought this was a business establishment,” Mr. Robert said. “Are you opposed to earning your percentage?”

“You want to listen to my Bill, mister,” Jenny said. “Advertise in the paper, that’s what we do around here.”

“I don’t have time for that. These are fine girls, they’ll go quickly. Give me half an hour’s time on your front steps, and we both walk away with heavier pockets.”

Jenny’s husband pulled out a rag and wiped his hands on it. “Auctions of people ain’t seemly. Why don’t you just talk quiet-like to folks? Or leave a notice tacked up, that’s proper.”

Related Characters: Mr. Robert Finch (speaker), Jenny (speaker), Isabel, Ruth
Page Number: 15
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Chains LitChart as a printable PDF.
Chains PDF

Mr. Robert Finch Character Timeline in Chains

The timeline below shows where the character Mr. Robert Finch appears in Chains. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
...“peculiar manner of being”) sits next to the coffin that holds Miss Mary Finch, and Mr. Robert Finch rides behind. When Pastor Weeks explains to Mr. Finch that Isabel has family buried nearby... (full context)
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
...of an oatcake smeared in honey. She turns and races back to the wagon when Mr. Robert shouts for her. He grabs her arm roughly and tells her to “go pray for... (full context)
Chapter 2
Freedom Theme Icon
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
...asks where she and Ruth should go to work and sleep. When Pastor Weeks says Mr. Robert owns the girls now, Isabel says that Miss Finch freed them in her will. At... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
Then, when Mr. Robert asks where the lawyer is, Pastor Weeks says he went to Boston just before the... (full context)
Chapter 3
Freedom Theme Icon
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
Mr. Robert takes Isabel and Ruth back to Miss Finch’s house so they can collect their shoes... (full context)
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
Several hours later, Mr. Robert reaches Newport. He leads Ruth and Isabel into Sullivan’s Tavern, which is filled with mostly... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
...patron calls Jenny, looks familiar to Isabel. Jenny frowns as her husband refuses to let Mr. Robert auction the girls on the tavern’s steps—that’s not considered proper here. Jenny tells Mr. Robert... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
...if Jenny could buy her. But Jenny refuses just as her husband enters and says Mr. Robert wants the girls. (full context)
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Just outside the kitchen, Mr. Robert is standing next to a middle-aged woman in an expensive gown. She asks what’s wrong... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
Mr. Robert names his price. Then, Jenny says that she’ll buy Isabel and Ruth. This is unheard... (full context)
Chapter 10
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
...Isabel settles Ruth in bed, Ruth asks for her baby doll. Isabel reminds her that Mr. Robert stole the doll and promises to make her another doll later. She sings Ruth one... (full context)