The Chrysalids

by John Wyndham

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Please provide a brief summary of The Chrysalids by John Wyndham.

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John Wyndham's The Chrysalids is about a civilization that has become intolerant to any kind of deviation with regard to the appearance of people or their "abilities." This includes Sophie who has six toes, and David (and others like him) who are telepathic. Society goes about destroying those who do not "conform." Their cry is: thou for the mutant!


...blessed is the norm...

David and some of his friends are discovered to be "mutants" and run away. They are captured by other humans (living in the Fringes) who are not "normal" either, but rather than help, they try to enslave two of the girls in David's group so that the girls can reproduce and increase the outcasts' numbers.

Soon those from Waknuk (his father's farm and the town where David is from) catch up with David and his friends, who they have been hunting. They begin to fight with the people of the Fringes. All of a sudden a ship arrives, throwing out a webbing that effectively captures everyone in something like a cocoon. From struggling, they become more "entangled" and lose consciousness. Then they die. David and most of his friends meet a woman from this flying craft—a woman from Sealand (New Zealand). They are happy to welcome people like David, Rosalind and especially David's sister Petra, who has amazing powers.

The woman from Sealand explains what life is all about:

The essential quality of life is living; the essential quality of living is change; change is evolution: and we are part of it.

The static, the enemy of change, is the enemy of life, and therefore our implacable enemy.

She stresses that people must be free to change, for that is a natural part of life. Those who stop change are the enemy. David and his companions board the ship and prepare to go where they will be free to be who they are, unafraid of their "gifts."

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