The Chrysalids Questions and Answers
by John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beyn Harris

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Fear is one of the dominant themes of The Chrysalids. Explain how this theme motivates the main characters throughout the novel.

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Fear is ever present in this dystopian society. It forms the very life-blood of the state's dictatorial control over the lives of its citizens. Fear keeps people in line and stops them from taking active steps to overthrow the regime and change society for the better. But at the same time, fear paradoxically motivates people to defy the regime and everything it stands for. Realizing that their physical abnormalities could be discovered at any time, those deemed by the state to be mutants have no choice but to resist. This doesn't mean that they're any less frightened by the state and what it can do to them. On the contrary, it is fear that drives them on, giving them the courage to stand up and do what's right.

The overriding sense of fear is particularly acute for David, as, on the face of it, he's "normal," yet he harbors a deadly secret that would spell serious danger...

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