“John Wyndham has given us a good story with The Chrysalids but he has given us much to think about.
In the novel “The Chrysalids” there are many important issues that John Wyndham has brought up including child and sexual abuse, racism and discrimination.
The book is set after a nuclear holocaust, where people live on farms, get around in horse and carts, and there is no such thing as school. There is a lot of discrimination in this novel, but the main focus is Sophie Wender, who is a 10 year old girl that lives with her parents on a farm just outside Waknuk. Sophie looked like an ordinary girl until David (main character) finds out Sophie’s secret, by accident. “Clearly, there must be a mistake somewhere. Surely having one very small toe extra – well, two very small toes, because I supposed there would be one to match on the other foot – surely that couldn’t be enough to make her hateful in the sight of God ?” (Pg 14) The village people had signs saying “ONLY THE IMAGE OF GOD IS MAN” and “WATCH THOU FOR THE MUTANT!”(Pg 18). Sophie’s parents Mr and Mrs Wender knew that if anyone found out about the fact that Sophie has six toes instead of five she would be killed or excommunicated and sent to the Bad Lands. Sophie and her parents had to leave Waknuk because a young boy called Alan Ervin, informed the village of Sophie’s secret. They try and sneak away in the middle of the night but get caught. .
This novel also has child abuse in it, like when David’s Father beat him for not telling anyone that Sophie was different. David didn’t want to tell anyone that Sophie was different because she was his friend. There is also racism in this novel, like how Sophie and her family were treated unfairly because of the fact she had one extra toe and the village considered this unhuman. .
John Wyndham has also written about sexual abuse. When David finds Sophie at the end of the book she talks about how she is in love with David’s long lost uncle, also known as the spider man ” If she were to give him children, he wouldn’t want me any more” “Are you in love with him – with this spider-man?” “I”d give him babies gladly – if I could” (pg 167).