Guidance in the Chrysalids by John Wyndham
The novel “The Chrysalids” by John Wyndham is about a boy named David who grows up in the oppressive society of Waknuk where changes are not accepted. Through Uncle Axel and his father, Joseph Strorm, he learns about the ignorance of human nature. This helps to guide him through life and develop his maturity. Hence, the author conveys that a father figure is an essential part of development in a child’s life.
In the novel, David’s father, Joseph Strorm, sets the ideal image of Waknuk which allows him to determine whether he agrees with society. To begin, Joseph’s outcast brother, Gordon, wanted to see Joseph on equal terms to get revenge. Gordon is supposed to be the heir of Waknuk but is replaced by Joseph because he perfectly fits Waknuk’s ideal image. “A valiant champion of the true image.” (Wyndham 163). By hearing his father’s description, David learned about the expectations of society. David is expected to take after his father who is very religious, strict, and judicial. His father believes that he himself is worthy enough to choose people’s fate and implements cruel and cold-hearted acts. From this David learned that there are consequences if someone does not follow his father’s rules. As a result, he grew up thinking that these strict codes of conduct were natural since he was sheltered from outside perceptions. Nextly, Joseph abuses and verbally attacks David when he inadvertently thought about having a third hand so that his chores will be easier to manage. “You deliberately wished yourself a mutant. This is a terrible thing, an outrageous thing. You my own son, committing blasphemy, and before his parents!” (Wyndham 28). This shows how Joseph’s temper can be easily flare...
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...survive it, after all.” (Wyndham 96). This demonstrates that Uncle Axel supports Darwin’s theory of evolution. He explains that one must make sacrifices and do whatever it takes to stay alive because it is the survival of the fittest. Although, David is against killing Anne, another telepath, for personal reasons he takes this as advice for when he makes his escape to the Fringes with Petra, Rosalind, and Michael. In the end, this drive gave him determination to reach Sealand, a place with people of his kind, and find his own new beginning of happiness.
Ultimately, David matured throughout the novel with the guidance of Uncle Axel and his father. However, he is influenced more by Uncle Axel’s teachings than his father. Overall, it goes to show that verbal affirmation and effective communication are keys to being a good father figure and developing a child’s life.
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