The Chrysalids

by John Wyndham

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What is Sophie's importance in The Chrysalids?

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Sophie is important in The Chrysalids as she demonstrates that physical appearance isn't everything; that there's so much more to being a human than how you look. David has grown up in an environment where he's unthinkingly accepted society's strictures against physical abnormalities. Meeting Sophie has forced him, for the first time in his life, to confront the prejudices he's inherited both from his parents and society.

Sophie acts as a catalyst for David's development as a character, enabling him to mature and gain a much greater insight into the harsh reality of the society in which he lives. Sophie's obvious intelligence, courage, and wisdom rub off on David, making him understand that those deemed blasphemous in this totalitarian society need to band together to fight if they're to change the established order of things.

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Sophie is an important character because she is David's, and the reader's, first introduction to a Deviant.  Waknuk society drills into young people's minds that Deviants (people with genetic abnormalities) are practically sub human.  It's for that reason that Deviants are either killed or kicked out of Waknuk society.  But from Sophie, David sees that she is every bit as human as he is.  Sophie illustrates to David and readers that a person's value is not determined by their genetic structuring or their outward appearance.  That's the most important function that she serves in my opinion.  

Sophie is also important to the plot of the novel too.  After she and her family escape to the Fringes, she ends up being pivotal to David's and Rosalind's survival.  She frees them from the Fringes prison and helps them to escape.  Without Sophie, David and his group of telepaths never would have been united with the Sealand woman. 

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