Discuss why the novel The Chrysalids is stagnant and unchanging?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the John Wyndham's novel The Chrysalids, children in an a post-apocalypse world that is devoted to stability without mutation have mutated gifts of mental telepathy. When their gifts are discovered a witch hunt type pursuit of them begins. They are ultimately saved by a remote nation whose inhabitants all have the mutated power of telepathy. While these individuals save the mutant children, they simultaneously devastate their homeland and recruit them to help build the world anew from the safety of the telepathic nation. In this scenario, I suppose it can be said that the novel is stagnant and unchanging in that the land of Waknuk is essentially one of the characters because it as a collective entity is opposed to mutation and change.

The novel begins with Waknuk in staunch opposition to mutation and ends in the same staunch opposition. Waknuk's ultimate end is total destruction. Since Wyndham's writing has a decided nationalistic political aspect to it, the stagnant nature of the novel in relation to the stagnant nature of Waknuk is a representation of what Earth's post-World War II nations could expect if they remained staunchly unchanging and unaccepting of change. Waknuk's end is also a metaphoric representation of the ultimate end of individuals who decline to embrace the Sealand rescuer's statement that "The essential quality of living is change; change is evolution; and we are part of it."

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The Chrysalids

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