The Chrysalids by John Wyndham

Categories: The Chrysalids

In the beginning of chapter one of the book, The Chrysalids, David, the main character, describes a recurring dream about an unknown city. He describes the dream as a city clustered on the curve of a big blue bay. The city had unusual automobiles, with carts being pulled without horses and shiny fish shaped things in the sky. David's description of the dream is quite vague and the book does not further address its significance. The reader is unaware of its importance later on in the book.

David enjoys visiting the hills and sliding down the dunes. One time when he was sliding down a dune, he was joined by a girl named Sophie. Sophie slid down the dune and her foot got stuck between two rocks. David helps the girl and finds out something unusual about her foot. Sophie has an unusual number of toes. David's family is religious and they believe that God made humans to have five toes on each foot.

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Anything more or less than that is considered a mutation. David takes Sophie back to her parents home to be treated. Sophie’s mother asks David to keep the secret about her extra toes. If anyone else finds out about her secret, Sophie will be executed.

In chapter three, we find out more about David's family and his home. His house, in Waknuk, is one of the oldest and biggest in the village. There are many different villages in his community, such as the Fringes. The Fringes are home to all of the mutants and they have constant raids and wars with Waknuk.

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His fathers name is Joseph Storm is the leader of the village. He plans raids and supports the family. David lives in constant fear of the war and its repercussions on the family and himself.

One day, David and Sophie visit a pond together. The blacksmiths son, Allan, is wandering around when he spots them. Sophie runs away into the forest because she doesn't want Allan to find out about her secret. Allan follows her footprints but David picks a fight with him. The fight is soon stopped when Sophie returns with a big rock and drops it on Allan’s head. They bring the incautious boys body to her parents house and they tell her that he might have found out the secret because of the footprints. Worried, Sophie and her family escape the village because if other people in the village were to find out, they would be in trouble.

While Sophie and her family are escaping the village, David's life is under threat because he stayed at Sophie's house the night after they retreated. When David got home he was beaten by his father. David finds out that he has an ability called telepathic. He can talk to everyone else that has this ability. His Uncle Axel helps him identify everyone who is telepathic in the village. David's cousin Rosalind is one of these individuals.

David finds out that his telepathic ability will soon be discovered by the whole village. One day, David was working on the farm with his family. A newborn child that happened to be telepathic, was near the local pond. Unsupervised, she fell in and began to drown. David and everyone else who had telepathic powers rushed to the pond immediately and saved her life. Mr Storm (David's father) was suspicious of why David was the only one to have heard the baby drown and not the others. He begins to question David about how he became aware of the situation. David dodges his suspicions and acts normal.

Anne is one of the locals that shares the same telepathic powers as David. She's getting married to the blacksmiths son, Allan. David was worried about their marriage because Allan would’ve found out about their abilities and put everyone at risk. Six months after her marriage, Allan is found dead in the forest with an arrow through his chest. Anne blames David for killing Allan because he was strongly against their nuptuals. Anne hanged herself the very next day.

One day, David and his telepathic friends are at the forest together. A man known as Jerome Skinner is stalking them. He heard all their conversations. He attempted to capture the kids in an effort to get a reward.

-what are the three central themes of The Chrysalids and how do they relate to todays society. -what are three life lessons that you've learned from the text

The three central themes of The Chrysalids are discrimination, religion and The book is mainly about discrimination and power

Discrimination is a theme because The Chrysalids is mainly about discrimination. David lives in constant fear that his secret of telepathy will be discovered by others. Sophie, a character introduced in the first part of the book had to flee the village because she had an unusual amount of toes. This relates to today’s society because many Muslim women in countries like Afghanistan are discriminated. They forced to wear clothing from head to toe and don't have equal rights as men. It's also as simple as someone being excluded from an activity because of their weight or height.

Religion is also a theme because it's a reason why the people in the book are so discriminatory. Davids family is religious and believe that humans should have the same number of toes and fingers. Anything other than that is a mutant and must be killed. Sophie is considered a mutant because of the unusual number of toes she has. Religion relates to today’s society too because many people are forced to convert religions just to fit in with the rest.

Another theme in the book is heroism. David used his telepathic ability to rescue Petra from drowning in the water. He also managed to get Sophie’s foot out of the rock when it got stuck while they were sliding down a dune. Heroism relates to today’s society because without heroes like the police, firefighters the world would be full of crime and disaster.

Themes of The Chrysalids In the book, The Chryalids by John Wyndham, there were many themes that were explored by the author. Some themes highlighted by Wyndham include discrimination, religion and heroism. All these themes may relate to current affairs within society and could serve as possible life lessons. Each theme will be discussed in detail in relation to past and current relevance in history.

One of the highlighted themes, discrimination, clearly stood out from among the rest. There were many incidents of discrimination in the book. The people in the town are very religious. David, the main character of the book, has an unusual ability to speak to other people through his mind. Sophie, a girl with an unusual number of toes had to flee the town because she was different from everyone else. David and Sophie didn't want people to find out about their irregularities because the townspeople may kill them. Both of these characters in the book are affected by discrimination because of their differences.

There are many incidents of discrimination in history and today's society. Gay's and lesbian's have a significant history of discrimination throughout our past. Being brought up in a North American society, we are socialized to mate with members of the opposite sex. A recent study shows that 46% of Americans said same-sex relationships are considered wrong. Many members of the LGBTQ community are likely to commit suicide if they are ostracized and fail to have an adequate support system. According to Courtney Rubin's article published by, LGBT Employees Still Face Discrimination, 42% of LGBT members have experienced employment discrimination at least once in their lives. Employment discrimination is more common among LGBT employees who are open about their sexual orientation in the workplace than those who aren’t. Only a quarter of LGBT employees are open about there sexual orientation to co-workers because they are usually paid less according to a census data analysis (Robin 2011). We need to acknowledge that we don't all have the same gender identities. Its important to provide support to these individuals because they are likely to be sensitive to discrimination.

Religion is also an evident theme in the book. Most of the people in David's town are strict Christians that have no tolerance for anything not in the true image of god. This included mutants like Sophie and non-Christians. This type of discrimination is not unique to our own history. According to the article, Women Weightlifter Fights to Compete in Hijab, by Liz Goodman, women that wear hijab are discriminated against in competitive weightlifting. This is a violation of the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act which doesn't allow discrimination based on race, colour, religion, sex, age, or national origin. Goodman states, American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is fighting against USA Weightlifting's rules to allow women with hijabs to compete in competition.

Now, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim advocacy group, is taking up Abdullah's cause, and trying to lobby weightlifting organizations to revise their rules in time for her to compete in a July national competition. CAIR officials are arguing that USA Weightlifting is in violation of the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act, which forbids sports bodies from discriminating based on "race, color, religion, sex, age, or national origin." Not allowing Abdullah to wear her hijab is discrimination, CAIR maintains.

Religion is also an evident theme in the book. Many themes revolve around religion, including discrimination. David's family and most of the others in his town are strict Christians. They destroyed anything that deviated (mutants) because they thought that anything was not in the true image of God was unacceptable. They believe that the true image of god is for a person to have five fingers, five toes, one nose, two eyes, one mouth. Sophie is considered a mutant because she has six toes. All of the mutants were to be captured and killed to keep God happy. They believed that if God wasn't happy, he would send the tribulation down to earth and destroy everything. Religion is a main theme in today's society and history.

If you believe in something, you will follow all of the rules and use it in your daily life. This is the case with strict Muslims living in countries like Afghanistan. They believe a women must be covered from head to toe, and are not equal to a man. The women have very few rights and freedom. Many wars have happened because of religion, for example the Crusaders vs the Muslims. The religion of the Jew's was the reason why 6 million of them were wiped out during the holocaust. Native Americans were forced to switch to Catholicism during the early 17th century.

Religion can be a life lesson as well. We can follow the good things in religion and leave out the bad. We can also treat others fairly regardless of their religion. There are many good things in religion, like charities. Muslims also fast during the month of Ramadan to learn how it feels to be hungry and build their patience.

Another theme is heroism. There was a lot of incidents of heroism in the book. David helped Sophie when she got her foot stuck between two rocks, despite her being a mutant. When Petra, a baby, was drowning in the water, David rushed to his help immediately and saved his life.

There are many acts of heroism in today's society. Firefighters, policemen and doctors are all heroes because they do good for the world. There are a lot of herous acts in history too. The 300 Spartans did their best to save the city of Sparta from the Persians during the war.

I thought that the book overall was very confusing. The vocabulary in the book was easy to understand for me but the storyline was very confusing. In the start of the book, the main character tells a dream about a city. This dream had no significance later on in the book. I don't know why this dream was even mentioned. The plot was not described well and the book skips time very fast. For example, David was 12 years old halfway throughout the book. In the chapter next to it, he turns 17 and his friend is getting married. The characters weren't described well and I didn't like them. David was the only described character in the book.

All of the other main characters weren't described enough, like Sophie. All we know of Sophie is that she has an unusual number of toes on her foot. I think that the book was very slow. The whole book is basically about a boy who discovers he has an ability to speak to other people through his mind which could be dangerous because he is different from everyone else. The book ends by the boy escaping from his town. I don't think that the storyline was worth 200 pages. I would’ve liked it if the ending was something like David escaping and building his own army and defeating

Updated: Nov 01, 2022
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The Chrysalids by John Wyndham. (2016, Sep 28). Retrieved from

The Chrysalids by John Wyndham essay
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