What is the conflict of the novel The Chrysalids?

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The primary conflict in the novel Chrysalids is brought about by the government's choice to control and oppress people with genetic mutations, including telepathy. This central conflict manifests in all three categories of conflict: person versus society, person versus person, and person versus self.

The person versus society conflict exists...

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The primary conflict in the novel Chrysalids is brought about by the government's choice to control and oppress people with genetic mutations, including telepathy. This central conflict manifests in all three categories of conflict: person versus society, person versus person, and person versus self.

The person versus society conflict exists by simple fact that the government policy requiring genetic purity even exists. This policy shapes the way the characters pass through the spaces they live in and means that institutional power has the power to end their lives.

The person versus person conflict emerges any time an individual—for instance Anne's husband, Alan—chooses to act to give more power to those social institutions, like Alan did by ratting them out. By choosing to participate in the social oppression, these individuals bring themselves directly into the conflict at hand.

The person versus self conflict is reflected in the struggles of the oppressed characters to figure out how to navigate their lives. For instance, Aunt Harriet's suicide can be interpreted as an expression of her turning the conflict her society had with her in on herself.

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The novel The Chrysalids is a post-apocalyptic novel that deals with the struggle between man and authority, as well as the oppression of all things different. The main characters in the novel, including David, are a group of telepathic individuals who are shunned by society and oppressed by it for fear of their capabilities.

The main conflict comes from this struggle for freedom. As David and his fellow telepaths attempt to just gain their own freedom and safety, they come into harsh conflict with the authorities in society who want to eradicate or oppress them. In this sort of novel, there is usually a point where the protagonists have to strike out on their own and abandon society to form a better life for themselves, which is typically more inclusive and utopian, which is what David and the others do.

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There is more than one conflict present in this novel. One of the conflicts is a man vs. society conflict. David and the other telepathic children are technically "Deviants" because their genetic code has given them a mutation that is not considered normal. The Waknuk society believes that kind of deviation in the gene pool should be expelled from the community by placing them in the Fringes, sterilizing the person, or simply killing them. This conflict also affects characters like Sophie with her sixth toe mutation. There are also several man vs. man conflicts present in the novel as well. David is on the run for his life from several members of the Waknuk society including his father. David is also forced into man vs. man conflict with the people of the Fringes, and David is even captured and imprisoned at one point by these people. Internally, David struggles with having to hide his ability and how far he and the other telepathic children need to go in order to keep their ability a secret.

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The conflict of The Chrysalids is very similar to the central conflict of many "post-apocalyptic" or futuristic works--man versus society.  David, more than any other characters, represents this conflict.  He knows that he is supposed to abide by the very strict rules of his society and live in fear of judgemental God exacting another tribulation about his people.  However, his innate curiosity makes it difficult to do either.  He befriends Sophie, who is not "normal" and who hides the fact that she has six toes.  Anything considered abnormal to David's society deserves a banishment of sorts.

With a central conflict such as Chrysalids, a lone hero is normally forced to make a choice between all that he has known and been encouraged to believe/do and what his conscience, brain, or desire tell him to do.  Other examples of this specific type of conflict include, Huck Finn, The Crucible, The Scarlet Letter, and Fahrenheit 451.  The conflict seems to be applied most often to religious societies.

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