The Chrysalids

The Chrysalids Essay

In his novel, The Chrysalids, John Wyndham argues that in order to evolve, society must accept change. He does this by presenting the ideas: it’s destructive when society doesn’t change, society stagnates when it doesn’t change and differences are strengths. The book is set in a post nuclear war era and is about a boy called David who lives in a community of religious and genetic fundamentalists who are constantly on alert for any mutations. At first he doesn’t think much of their values but as the story progresses he realises that his gift of telepathy could doom him and his friends.

The idea: its destructive when society doesn’t change is supported by characterisation and the plot. In the novel, Wyndham characterises The Inspector and David’s Dad as destructive through their action of constantly burning and killing things in their community that do not confirm to the true image. An example of this is when David’s Dad burnt three fields of crops as they didn’t confirm to the true image and were considered deviations. Another convention that was used was the plot of the novel. As the story progresses on David, Petra and his friends communicate more and more and are embracing their differences and change. The town however, becomes aware of this and is not keen and are concerned. As the story goes on the violence and destruction occurs which links back to Wyndham’s idea that it’s destructive when society doesn’t change.

The second idea: society stagnates when it doesn’t change was supported by symbolism. In the city there is a woman that Petra can communicate with. In that city everybody there can communicate using their thought shapes. Waknuk however, does not encourage this type of change and is a symbol for a stagnant society. Characterisation was also used to convey the idea that society stagnate when they don’t change. David’s Dad is stopping the town from changing. An example of this was when the inspector brought the great horses...

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