The Chrysalids Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 45 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Chrysalids.
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The Chrysalids Summary & Study Guide Description

The Chrysalids Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

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The following version of this book was used to create this study guide: Wyndham, John. The Chrysalids. London: Penguin Books, 2008.

David Strorm was a young boy who lived on a farm in a rural town called Waknuk. Waknuk lived in the shadow of an old civilization, the world of the Old People, that was mysteriously destroyed hundreds of years ago. The highly religious people of Waknuk believed God sent Tribulation upon the Old People. Mutated species, known as Deviations and Offences, had appeared ever since Tribulation, and the people of Waknuk believed the Devil was behind the phenomena.

David befriended a young girl named Sophie. She turned out to have a deformed foot, which technically made her a Deviation. David did not tell his highly religious and strict father, Joseph Strorm, about Sophie’s mutation out of fear she would be sent away. Deviations were banished to the Fringes, a mutated country beyond Waknuk’s borders. There were regular raids from the Fringes people. One day, David saw a long-limbed man from the Fringes who had been taken prisoner after a raid. The man resembled his father. Sophie was discovered by a local boy eventually. David was beaten by his father for his part in concealing the truth.

David had telepathic abilities, which allowed him to mentally communicate with neighboring children and his cousin on a nearby farm, Rosalind. David’s uncle Axel was worried about other people discovering David’s abilities, and made David promise never to let Waknuk find out. David swore the other children to secrecy. Uncle Axel knew much about the world because he had been a sailor. He told David there were many strange tribes who thought they were made in God’s image too, and that David should not blindly trust what the religious people of Waknuk tell him. David’s mother, Emily, then gave birth to a daughter, Petra. Emily’s sister, Harriet, also had a baby at the same time, but it suffered from a deformity. Harriet failed to convince Emily to temporarily swap babies with her to fool the town’s Deviation inspector. Harriet was later found dead.

One of David’s psychic friends, Anne, fell in love with a local man. David and his friends warned her not to get married to a regular person because it would pose a great risk to their telepathic kind being found out. David knew Anne’s pain; he had fallen in love with Rosalind. Although they were both telepaths, their families hated each other and would not consent to their marriage. Angry, Anne shunned her friends telepathically and got married anyway. Her husband was then killed by an unknown archer. Anne killed herself in despair. David found out that Anne’s husband had discovered the truth about their powers and planned to expose them, but Axel killed him.

A few years later, David’s sister, Petra, turned out to have the strongest psychic powers of them all. She was able to mentally coerce other telepaths into doing her bidding. She was also able to communicate with other telepaths across the world. David and his friends tried to help Petra control her powers. After an episode where Petra lost control and accidentally compelled David and Rosalind to meet her in the forest, the people of Waknuk became suspicious. David, Rosalind, and Petra fled the town for the Fringes. Petra telepathically communicated with a woman across the world who said she was from a placed called Sealand. The woman promised to come rescue Petra because her powers were so unique.

David, Rosalind, and Petra reached the Fringes. They met the long-limbed man from the raid, who turned out to be David’s banished mutant uncle, Gordon. Gordon took Rosalind and Petra hostage and threw David out. Sophie, who had grown into a savage woman, saved David. She killed the guards and rescued Petra and Rosalind. There was a battle in the Fringes when the people of Waknuk came to take the children. Gordon, Sophie, and David’s father were killed. The woman from Sealand arrived in a flying machine and killed all the other soldiers. She flew the children to her country across the world, where telepaths lived peacefully.

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