In Chapter 5 of the Chrysalids, David's character is described more completely. He is now at the crucial stage of boy-man, having characteristics of both stages. Give some examples of David's behaviour that show each stage.  

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The chapter begins by showcasing David in a childlike manner. Readers are shown David and Sophie getting out of work in order to play together. They spend time together fishing and hunting for tadpoles.

I liked to take off my shoes, roll up my trousers, and paddle there, examining the...

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The chapter begins by showcasing David in a childlike manner. Readers are shown David and Sophie getting out of work in order to play together. They spend time together fishing and hunting for tadpoles.

I liked to take off my shoes, roll up my trousers, and paddle there, examining the pools and crannies. Sophie used to sit on one of the large, flat stones that shelved into the water, and watch me wistfully.

On one of these days, Alan discovers them, and he also discovers Sophie's genetic mutation. David attempts to fight Alan, which is both childish and adult. A "playground" fight is rather childish, but David knows that he has to stand up for Sophie and protect her. This is a rather adult trait of his.

Sophie and David return to Sophie's house, and the Wender family immediately sets their escape plan in action. David, in a rather impetuous and childlike way, wants to go with them. He simply does not understand the danger that the family is currently in and will be in even after they leave the Waknuk society.

David then returns home, and he is put in a very tough situation. He wants to do right by Sophie and her family, but he also knows that it is wrong to lie to his own father. However, that is exactly what David does. It is no easy thing for David to keep quiet either. His father mercilessly beats David in order to punish David and to get him to talk. As a parent, a child standing up to you like this seems churlish and immature, but it is a sign that the child is beginning to make decisions on his/her own despite the possible repercussions. This is a very adult way to behave. David is doing the right thing and not necessarily the easy thing.

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David’s secret with Sophie demonstrates how he is a child, but his protectiveness of her also shows his maturity.

Sophie is a double-edged sword for David.  He is young enough to still be naïve about his friendship with her.  He does not understand the risks that he is talking.  Sophie and her family understand and accept those risks, but David does not.  It never occurs to him that he might be in a position where he would be asked to betray Sophie.

When Alan sees Sophie, David’s first reaction is to fight him.  This is a rather immature response on some levels, but also a chivalrous one.  He is trying to protect her.

My intention was to gain a few minutes for Sophie to put her shoes on and hide; if she had a little start, he would never be able to find her, as I knew from experience. (Ch. 5)

Unfortunately, David is in a tough spot.  His own father is one of the most tyrannically faithful followers of the True Image in Waknuk.  David should realize that there is no way to avoid his scrutiny or his wrath.

David wants to go with Sophie, demonstrating the immature side of him, but the Wenders understand that this is not a good idea and tell him to wait and go home.  David waits as the Wenders suggest, but when he gets home his father already knows too much.  David remains bravely mute, not telling them anything about Sophie.  When David’s father tells him to go to his room, he knows that his father will try to beat the truth out of him.

I hesitated. I knew well enough what that meant, but I knew, too, that with my father in his present mood it would happen whether I told or not. I set my jaw, and turned to go. (Ch. 5)

David tells his father what he knows, but feels wretched for it.  In holding out, he was trying to be grown-up.  His self-loathing also demonstrates some maturity.  David understands that he has betrayed Sophie, even though he did not mean to.  It is a very adult problem to have.

This incident is a turning point for David.  Everyone has an incident that causes the person to go from being a child to being an adult.  This was David’s.  Any innocence he might have had was lost when he gave Sophie up.

 

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