How does John Wyndham develop suspense in Chapter 14 of The Chrysalids?  

While not much happens in this chapter, the tension and suspense is still taut and unrelenting.

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Not a lot actually happens in chapter 14. Readers learn a fair amount of information, but it isn't exactly an action packed chapter, and that is precisely why the chapter is so tense and suspenseful. Imagine yourself slowly stretching a rubber band out between your fingers. Not a lot is...

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Not a lot actually happens in chapter 14. Readers learn a fair amount of information, but it isn't exactly an action packed chapter, and that is precisely why the chapter is so tense and suspenseful. Imagine yourself slowly stretching a rubber band out between your fingers. Not a lot is actually happening, but your body begins to tense up because you know the breaking point in close. That is how this chapter works. David and his friends have been taken prisoner. That is slightly scary. We also know that they have been taken prisoner by the people from the Fringes. David has been telling his readers throughout the book that the Fringes is full of evil people and that the Fringes is ruled by the Devil. David and the readers have been conditioned to fear these people, yet they are treating David and the others with quite a bit of kindness. That makes readers nervous because it is unexpected, and it is essentially prolonging the fearful moment that we are expecting to happen. We also find out about the relationship between the spidery man and Joseph Strorm. Because of the first person narration, that shocks David and readers together. Finally, we are told that a Waknuk army is chasing David, and the spidery man is excited to hear that news. He wants the confrontation to happen, and that tells readers that it is surely to happen. We know a battle is going to happen, and we know loss of life is going to occur; however, we don't know who is going to survive, and that makes for a suspenseful closing to the chapter.

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One way suspense is built in Chapter 14 of The Chrysalids by John Wyndham is through selective revelation. This technique is easy for Wyndham to achieve because the point of view of The Chrysalids is a first person narrative rendered by David, therefore the reader only knows what he knows, sees what he sees, feels what he feels, etc.

In Chapter 14 David regains consciousness and slowly becomes aware of his surroundings and of events occurring around him. That is the suspenseful way in which he and the reader both learn that he and his friends are being taken prisoner by the deviant mutants of the Fringe. A similar technique is at work when David learns the identity of the spider-like man who bears a striking resemblance to David's father Joseph Strorm. David and the reader both learn together that this spider-like man is indeed Joseph Strorm's brother and David's uncle.

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