Firstly, my impression of David changed in his actions and behavior. In the beginning of the book, I used to think David was a responsible boy. I admired him because of his ability to keep promises and look after the people he was close to, especially Sophie and Petra. When Sophie’s foot was stuck and had no choice but to expose her “illegal” six toes, she made David promise to “Never, ever tell!”.
Sophie’s mom pleaded for David to keep the secret and emphasized the word “nobody”, telling David that no one in Waknuk should ever know. Even though David thought that it was “so heavy a promise”, he agreed to keep the secret to himself for Sophie’s sake. Despite his status as Joseph Strorm’s son, he was willing to not share it to anyone in order to protect Sophie. Moreover, when Petra was in trouble in the deep water against the steep bank, David immediately responded to her call without a second thought. He risked his own life and gave his all, showing how strong his brotherly instinct is.
These incidents show how admirable David is by being mature and understanding for his age. However, Wyndham changed my impression of David to be unreliable and not as responsible as he was in the beginning. When the thought shapers were planning their escape, David was planning what to pack in his head like “spare clothes and boots and other things that would be useful”. He planned a lot but did not actually carry them out and fell asleep instead. This shows that he was not a responsible and prepared leader. He was not meticulous in his planning, although the escape was something very serious for everyone.
Even the thought shapers were “trying our (their) damnedest to reach you (David)” on the day they were to escape. This shows how irresponsible David was, as shown from his actions. He did not keep up with his tasks and was not even aware of the calls from the thought shapers. Thus, Wyndham changed my impression of David’s behavior and actions, from being a responsible boy to an unreliable leader.
Secondly, my impression changed in his attitude to deviants. Initially, my impression of David was that he was never going to accept who he was a thought shaper and thought that being a deviant was very wrong. He was very ungrateful to be born that way. He kept praying, “please, please, God, let me (David) be like other people. I don’t want to be different.” He was hoping for something that could never happen to happen. He felt that he was out of place in the society and did not feel belong. He was not thankful for his ability to be able to communicate in a special way.
All he understood was how it was so wrong to be different. His way of thinking was starting to be like the Waknuk people. This was why I use to think that David was never going to understand the real truth. However, this impression changed when Uncle Axel started to be a critical part of David’s life. He had to comfort and explain him about the big picture, all the way from the beginning. He reassured David that “you (David) and Rosalind and the others have got a new quality of mind. To pray to Go to take it away is wrong; it’s like asking Him to strike you blind, or make you deaf.”
He finally understood that the Old People were the ones at fault to cause tribulation and God was not to be blamed. After David was enlightened, he finally accepted himself and even wanted to get to know the other members better. He became mature and changed his perspective completely. He no longer thought that he was wrong to be in the society but became proud of his gift instead. This shows that David had become more confident, unlike before. He finally understood the real story behind the society and tribulation. Thus, my impression of David changed in terms of his attitude towards conformity.
Lastly, I initially thought of David as someone who was afraid of the Fringes. The people around him, especially his family, influenced him to think that Fringes was such a frightening place. He was brainwashed to think that Fringes was a place where “nothing was dependable” and where “the Devil struts his wide estates, and the laws of God are mocked”.
Mothers also used the Fringes to threaten their infants such as “fetching Old Maggie” and described it with “four eyes” and “four ears”. The Waknuk people had a stereotypical image of Fringes which is very negative, even though they were not even sure what the Fringes looked like. As a result, young children like David would plant a thought that Fringes should never be accepted and anyone who was thrown there were not to be accepted in Waknuk.
They were regarded as the unwanted people in Waknuk. This also made David pray to God to be different and to take away his gift of being a thought shaper. He was afraid that he would be thrown to the Fringes and be severely punished.
Thus, my impression of David was that he was unable to accept of the Fringes. Despite all his actions and thoughts of being afraid of the Fringes, my impression changed when David started to accept the Fringes and the deviants inside. The fact that David agreed to escape with Petra and the thought shapers show that he knew Fringes would be the safest place for him. It was not a palace where the people in the society deemed to be. This was also supported by Petra’s ability to communicate with the Sealand woman. The sealand woman told Petra that “most of them (the Fringes people) are more like you (Rosalind) and David.”
In the Fringes, “everybody wants to make them (pictures)” Her words were able to persuade David positively as being a thought shaper in Sealand was regarded very highly, unlike in Waknuk where they would be persecuted instead. This implies that David and his friends were going to be high in status and will be well respected by the Sealand and Fringes people. Thus, this made David accept the deviants in Fringes and Fringes itself. It made him realize that there were other people like him and he was not someone not worthy. Hence, my impression of David changed as someone who was not able to accept the Fringes to being able to accept it and the deviants inside.