The Chrysalids by John Wyndham


Chapter 6


1. What are the two recurring dreams that David has? How are they both



He dreams again of his father killing Sophie and of the silver city in the distance. Both of these things become true in a form.


2. What is ironic about the following comment by the inspector: ďLoyalty is a great virtue, but there is such a thing as misplaced loyalty. One day you will understand the importance of a greater loyalty. The Purity of the Race.Ē (pg. 56)


The inspector lectures David about how his loyalty is misplaced, and that his loyalty should be for the religion. However, the reader see that it is the people who fear mutants so greatly whose loyalties are misplaced. The people who fear the mutants like the inspector and Joseph Strorm do not understand the true nature of evil. Their belief in the Devilís mutants is a misplaced belief. His words echo the words of Adolf Hitler, who vehemently tried to purify the Aryan race and eliminate the Jews. It is a sobering comparison for the reader to consider what misplaced loyalties can produce, such as the extermination of 6,000,000 Jews out of loyalty to Hitler.


3. How does the inspector relieve Davidís guilty conscience? Is this consistent with the inspectorís position? Is it consistent with his



He tells David that Sophie and her family were not caught because David has given up his information, but by chance by a patrol. It is not consistent with the inspectorís position to have compassion for those who help deviants, but it is consistent with his very humane and decent nature.


4. What does Uncle Axel discourage David from doing? What does Uncle Axel tell David about the outside world?


He convinces David not to run away, else he will only be caught, and will have no where to go in any case. Uncle Axel tells of his sea travels and the stories he has heard. He explains that far away from Labrador, there are groups of people who are very different from the people in Labrador, yet they believe they are the normal people and the visitors are the deviants. Others donít worry about Deviation at all. He explains that there is no way for the people in Labrador to know if they are the true image of God, because The Bible doesnít actually explain what that image is.  Nicholsonís Repentences does, but it was written after Tribulation, so he couldnít really know.


5. Suggest comparable stories in Greek Mythology that match the sailorsí accounts of the land ruled by women, and that these women caused sailors to get shipwrecked, then ate them. What kind of stories are these, and how do they help define what level of advancement the Labrador civilization is at?


The land ruled by women is similar to the Greek myth of the Amazon women tribe of warriors who mutilated and enslaved their men children, and raised their girls to be leaders and warriors. However, the Amazons did not eat their men. They had children by having sex with men from other tribes. The story of shipwrecking sailors is similar to the Greek Sirens, three bird women who could cause any man sailor to be shipwrecked on their island through their beautiful singing. These stories are myths, and show that the Labrador peopleís understanding of their world is still very primitive.


6. What does Axel suggest about David and Rosalindís ability, that helps David see the short‑sightedness of the religious policy against mutations?


Axel believes more in Darwinís theory of evolution, that the fittest creatures survive. New levels of fitness are achieved through mutation.


Mutations that increase an organismís survivability select those organisms to reproduce, and therefore become the new norm for the species. David and Rosalindís telepathic ability may be such a mutation. In addition, the myth that the Old People could communicate over great distances (of course, by radio and telephone, but Axel and David donít know that), suggests that David might be more like the Old People than the rest in Waknuk.


7. What happened to the ninth of Davidís telepathic group? What do they decide happened to him?


He disappeared without explanation. After asking around, Uncle Axel reassures David he must have died accidentally or moved away.





1. Who is Davidís new sibling?




2. Why is the family so anxious until the inspector arrives? Why donít the Strorms announce the babyís birth right away? How does the inspector get some revenge against Davidís father during this time?


They are concerned that the inspector will find a mutation in the new child, as all new parents fear in this community. They dare not announce the birth until the baby is declared normal. It is a great shame to have a mutant baby, but this occurrence is not rare. If the baby is mutated, they must get rid of it, so they donít announce the birth until the baby is cleared. The inspector gets back at Joseph Strorm by not coming right away to examine the baby. Usually, Strormís high position would bring the inspector right away, but the inspector is taking his time.


3. What does Aunt Harriet want Davidís mother, Emily, to do? What is Harrietís argument in favor of this? What is Emilyís reaction, and what do she and Joseph tell Harriet to do? Why is this particular incident particularly bad for Harrietís marriage? What is Harrietís final protest to Emily and Joseph?


Harriet has had a slightly mutated baby, and wants Emily to lend Petra to her so that Harriet can get a normalcy certificate for the mutated baby by substituting Petra for the examination. Harriet argues that the baby is fine, save only for a slight mutation, and that she loves the baby all the same. Emily and Joseph, as devout as ever, are angry, and demand Harriet give the baby up for inspection, and that she pray to God for forgiveness.  Harriet is especially worried because this baby is her third mutated baby, and the law allows her husband, Henry, to divorce her. Harriet herself becomes angry in the end at Emily and Joseph, and vehemently retorts, ďI shall pray Him (God) too, that the hearts of the self‑righteous may be broken.Ē (P. 73.)


4. Analysis: Examine the following quote from Harriet (p. 73), regarding the will of God regarding mutants.


ďI shall pray God to send charity into this hideous world, and sympathy for the weak, and love for the unhappy and unfortunate. I shall ask Him if it is indeed his will that a child should suffer and its soul be damned for a little blemish of the body....í


Question: How does Harrietís comment suggest the merciful nature of Christianity, instead of Joseph Strormís harsh version? How do you compare Harriet and Joseph to the New and old Testaments of the Bible? How do these two characters show the difference between The Bible, and Nicholsonís Repentences? Use a properly composed paragraph to explain and justify your answer.


5. Why does Davidís mother change her tone when Davidís father reminds her that she has also had two mutant babies (Donít look in the book for this answer ‑ think!)? What can David and the reader guess has happened to these babies?


She realizes that despite her religious devotion, she may too have a third mutant baby, which would give Joseph grounds to divorce her and turn her out. The reader and David can guess that the two mutant babies were killed or abandoned in the fringes.


6. How many mutant babies has Davidís mother actually had, detected and undetected? What is ironic about this?


Four ‑ David and Petra, plus the two abandoned babies. It is ironic that the most devoted anti‑mutant people are producing them as much as anyone, and that some of their children have survived without them knowing. In fact, Joseph and Emily are responsible for bringing mutants into their community and keeping them there, something they would be horrified by if they knew about it.


7. What does David learn has happened to his Aunt Harriet and the baby?


Aunt Harriet is found dead in the river, but the baby is missing.



Chapter 8


1. Why does David pray to God every night ‑ what does he ask God to do? Why does Uncle Axel think this is a bad thing to do?


David asks God to make his special ability to go away, because David is so frightened. Axel tells him that this is wrong, that God gave him that gift, and he should not ask god to take it away any more than ask God to take away his vision or hearing.


2. What are the names of the 9 telepaths (including the missing one)?


David, Rosalind (Davidís cousin), Michael, Anne & Rachel (sisters), Mark, Sally & Katherine (neighbors), and Walter Brent (dead).


3. How is Michael always neat or at the top of his class, and the others able to learn from his school classes?


They telepathically share his learning, helping each other think, and learning from what Michael learns.



Chapter 9


1. Who is the new telepath? How do the others find out? What is different  about this telepath?


Petra is the newest. She falls into a pool, and telepathically calls for help, in a powerful and commanding way the others are not capable of.


2. What is different about Davidís repetitive dream? What story element is this?


He dreams of his father putting a mutant to death, except it is Petra, not Sophie. It is foreboding of what will happen in the future.


3. Why is the season so particularly bad? What is Jacobís explanation? In Jacobís youth, what happened to women who gave birth to mutants? Why is it unfair that the fathers donít receive the same punishment? What happened to the babies and why? Do you think these practices actually helped keep control of mutancy? If not, why not? Can you suggest other possible reasons to explain the increased rate of mutation?


There is an unusually high rate of deviation this season. Jacob thinks this is because people are getting away with more deviation, and arenít punished as much as they were. Women were whipped for bearing mutant children. Men were not punished, even though men contribute 50% of the genetic material to conceiving babies. Babies were burnt as other deviations were. These practices likely had no effect on the rate of mutant occurrence, because mutations are caused by the radiation. The increased rates of mutation are more likely due to the expansion of the ďnormalĒ communities into previous fringe areas, which suffer more from residual radiation. Also, high winds during the year have brought more radiation than usual to the normal parts. Remember that radiation is spread by small particles, known as ďfalloutĒ.


4. How does Jacob justify his opinion that mutations must be destroyed?  What does David learn happens to mutant babies or people once discovered?


Jacob thinks that mutants arenít human, so killing them isnít murder. David learns from Jacob that all mutants are sterilized (probably rather crudely because these people do not yet know modern surgical technique). Babies are abandoned in the fringes, and people are sent there.


5. Analysis outside the novel: How is Jacob similar to Old Man Warner in the short story, ďThe LotteryĒ, by Shirley Jackson? What  comment do these characters make on tradition versus advancement?


Old Man Warner and old Jacob both believe that the old, harsh way is the best way, the way that will win the favor of God (or gods). Neither or them really understand the original reasons for their traditions, yet think the younger generations are causing the destruction of society by not adhering to them. They represent the danger of ignorantly followed tradition, which can survive even after new knowledge and technology disprove the need for the tradition. Consult me for deeper analysis.


6. What warning does Axel give David?


He tells David that the higher rate of deviation will motivate people to ďlook for scapegoatsĒ, and blame any slight deviation for their troubles.  That means David and the telepaths will be in greater danger than ever.


7. What event does David discover will happen? Why is this commonplace event so dangerous for David and the telepaths?


Anne is getting married. Whoever marries her might find out about her ability and the other telepaths.



Chapter 10


1. Why is Anneís choice so especially bad? What arguments does the group use against her decision? Is their argument a form of discrimination?


She will marry Alan Ervin, who was the boy who discovered Sophie and tried to catch her. He wonít be at all sympathetic to the telepaths, and will happily turn them in. Michael implored Anne that she shouldnít marry him because he does not have telepathic powers. It would be like marrying a blind person. One might argue that this argument is the seed of discrimination, that telepaths shouldnít marry non‑telepaths. However, it has a practical application, considering the danger.


2. What does Uncle Axel suggest they need to do to overcome the danger?  What does David think of this choice?


Axel suggests they need to kill Anne to keep the rest of them alive and out of danger. David canít do it because he feels it would be a violation of their friendship in the group.


3. What happens to Alan Ervin? Who does Anne suspect?


He is found dead, with an arrow through the neck. Anne suspects the group of telepaths planned and carried out his murder.


4. What becomes of Anne? What important thing does Rachel find, and why is it important? What does Rachel do with it, and why?


Anne is found, having hanged herself in her modest home which she shared with Alan. Rachel finds Anneís suicide note, which accuses the group, including Petra, of murdering Alan. Rachel hides the note from the people at Anneís house, reads it over later, then carefully burns it.


5. What does Michael realize about the members of the group, which could be important to their safety later in the novel?


He makes a note to the others that it only takes one member to compromise the safety of all the others. This is important because if one member is somehow captured and tortured, they can compromise all the others.



Chapter 11


1. What trouble does Petra have? Why does the groupís response place them in danger? Who questions them?


She rides her pony alone and is attacked by a strange beast, which kills and begins to eat the pony. She telepathically calls for help, and the whole group comes running. Once they arrive, they kill the beast, but are seen by Jerome Skinner, who wonders how they could have known to come to the scene when he could hear nothing. He checks their tags, and suspects something, but canít figure it out. The group must be careful not to let this happen again, but Petraís commanding telepathic powers make it impossible for them to communicate when she is calling for help. They decide to teach her some control.


2. What is important about the ďothersĒ that Petra can telepathically communicate with, both in terms of Petraís ability and the telepaths social status?


Petra can communicate with telepaths very far away, suggesting more that her powers are much, much greater than the rest. It also suggests to the group that there really are other telepaths in the world.


3. Why is Uncle Axel concerned?


A man named Joe Darley, known as an informant for the inspector, has been asking questions.


4. How did Uncle Axel figure out that Alan knew about the telepaths? 


He saw the expression of malicious knowledge on Alanís face in church.


5. Who killed Alan, and why?


Axel killed Alan because he knew Alan knew the truth about them, and was viciously happy to turn them in.


6. What resolutions does the group make in regard to the new danger?


They resolve that Petra is too young to safely withstand an inquiry, so David must be responsible to escape with Petra, or even kill her, rather than allow her to be captured.


7. By this time, what is the relationship between David and Rosalind? How do their familiesí feelings for each other affect this relationship?


David and Rosalind are in love, and have a sexual relationship. This is greatly tainted by the fact that their respective families hate one another, and would never allow a marriage, even if Rosalind became pregnant.