How are the main characters of Beka Lamb and The Chrysalids similar and different?
One way the characters are similar is that they are both children with their stories begin. Of course the protagonist of The Chrysalids is a boy and the main character in Beka Lamb is a girl.
In each case, the main character stands out in some way from the others in the society. David is telepathic, and Beka is very smart. She enters an essay contest despite nearly impossible odds.
[There] were any number of pots and pans remaining … for Beka to tackle before she could settle down to her lessons or work on the essay. (p. 150)
Ironically, in each case it is their special ability that saves them. Beka is able to leave poverty and go to university, and David is able to be rescued by a sympathetic telepathic people, The Sealands. Before that he has to use his ability to protect his little sister Petra, because she also has it.
I tried to make contact with her, and, though she did not understand, there was a perceptible check and a trace of puzzlement for some seconds. (ch 11)
Neither character is able to really be at peace until leaving the society of childhood. Each society is backward, restrictive, highly religious, and harsh. Neither child has a soft upbringing, but both of them possess a unique strength that makes them survivors.