How is the ending of The Chrysalids simultaneously happy yet sad?

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I guess it depends on the reader.  Yes, these people were backward and prejudiced, but they were not necessarily all bad.  I was not happy they all got wiped out, even if I was happy that the Sealands rescued David and he was able to be himself.

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I would actually disagree with your question. I think the ending of this great novel is not actually both happy and sad. There is no reference made to sadness as David, Petra and Rosalind are finally shown to have arrived in Sealand. Instead, all there is is overwhelming joy and relief to have finally reached a place where everybody is like them and able to communicate with thoughts. Finally they have reached a location where they do not need to hide and they are accepted for who they are. In particular, Rosalind is shown to have taken off her "armour" know that she does not have to defend herself and protect herself from the Waknukians. Note what we are told about her character:

She turned her head. The under-Rosalind was in her face, smiling, shiny-eyed. The armour was gone. She let me look beneath it. It was like a flower opening...

Thus it is that this is a happy ending not just because of their arrival in Sealand but also in terms of David's relationship with Rosalind. Yes, there may be elements of sadness in that they were forced to leave two of their original group behind them in Waknuk, but at the same time the overwhelming emotion is one of happiness at the end of this story.

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