The Chrysalids

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The Chrysalids
We humans have a wide array of emotions. Some are rarely felt and others can dominate our lives. Fear is an example of the latter. Despite what we may think, fear controls the way you live your life. It gives you a sense of right and wrong and provides the understanding of consequence. The Chrysalids by John Wyndham uses fear as one of the most dominant themes of the novel. The plot of this novel is based around David Strorm, a boy who lives in the post-nuclear-apocalyptic town of Waknuk. The entire town of Waknuk fears another tribulation; another nuclear holocaust, and is forced into a religion based on fear. Fear guided David away from his dystopian lifestyle and towards a new and better life.

After the nuclear apocalypse, as civilization reconstructed, religion became a major part of society, and so the definition of man was born. The definition of man cited what makes up a normal person before tribulation, and closes with “And any creature that shall seem to be human, but is not formed thus, is not human.”(p.13) Eventually the people built a land called The Fringes. Anybody who does not fall within the criteria of the definition of man would be deemed deviations and forced into this new land, a place inhabited solely by deviations. Religion controls the entire population of Waknuk as they believe a new tribulation is coming, as it is said by Old Jacob “Give me the old days when a man was allowed to do his duty and keep his place clean. Heading right for another dose of Tribulation we are now.”(p.89) and so the citizens of Waknuk feel they need to follow what they consider Gods will to prevent this.

David Strorm, the main character of this novel meets a girl named Sophie, whom he discovers is a deviation living in Waknuk. This is the turning point in David’s life as he begins to fear for Sophie’s safety, and begins to question the definition of man. Eventually David discovers that he is telepathic and this makes him a deviation. David...
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