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The chrysalids. Unit introduction. What is a Chrysalid ?. The chrysalids. Chrysalids refers to chrysalisis , which is the transformation of a caterpiller to a butterfly. Why the title?. The Setting. The chrysalids. Waknuk – David’s home town and name of father’s farm

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The chrysalids

The chrysalids

Unit introduction

The chrysalids1

What is a Chrysalid?

The chrysalids

Chrysalids refers to chrysalisis, which is the transformation of a caterpiller to a butterfly

Why the title?

The chrysalids2

The Setting

The chrysalids

  • Waknuk – David’s home town and name of father’s farm

  • Labrador – Christian civilization following the “Tribulation.” Society matches the 1700s-1800s.

  • Capital of Rigo, Island of Newf

  • Wild Country

  • Fringes – Lawless land full of danger and mutations

  • Badlands – Dangerous area

  • Black Coasts – Dangerous area affected by radiation

  • Sealand – Technology exists here. Universal telepathy

The chrysalids3

The Setting

The chrysalids

  • Society is based on farming and agriculture

  • People are controlled by rigid beliefs about morals and religion

  • Religious beliefs are cruel and OPPRESSIVE

  • People believe TRIBULATION caused world to be this way as a punishment from God

  • “OLD PEOPLE” refers to us – the current readers

  • Radiation has caused mutations

  • Chrysalids is a novel set in the future with a setting of the past

The chrysalids4

Social Life

The Chrysalids

  • Purpose in life is dealing with Tribulation

  • Need to follow ETHICS to climb back into God’s grace

  • Church is the ultimate authority

  • “Rules” found in Nicholson’s Repentances

  • Anything not normal must be destroyed

  • Anything not normal is an insult to God

  • Mankind’s greatest duty is to see that the human form is kept true and proper

  • Nicholson’s Repentances describes true human form

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Chapters 2-4

The chrysalids


  • History of David’s family and household

  • Background: Religious family – Focus on “Repentances” and Bible

  • David’s father (JOSEPH) – Strict religious leader. Grandfather (ELIAS) – Founder of Waknuk

  • Individuals responsible to watch for BLASPHEMIES and OFFENSES – Including killing animals

  • Information about Blasphemies and their relationship with the Pure People (Raiding farms)

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Chapters 2-4

The chrysalids


  • David spending more time with Sophie

  • Steam Engine: Technology of Old People

  • Tension between Sophie’s Dad and David

  • David remembers getting a splinter and nobody helps him at home so he wishes to his father for a third arm. Gets punished – pray to God, received beating

  • David dreams of Sophie being killed by Joseph

  • David wants Sophie’s Dad to trust him

The chrysalids7

Chapters 2-4

The chrysalids


  • Telepathy with cousin Rosalind

  • Uncle Axel finds out but keeps it a secret

  • David’s telepathy = Sophie’s toe

  • Group of telepathic people get together to keep secret: David and Rosalind, Michael, Rachel and Anne, Sally and Katherine, and Mark.

  • Fringe people planning on invading Waknuk. Some are captured and appear normal

  • One guy looks like David’s father but has long arms and legs: Spider-Man

  • Uncle Angus: loves to annoy Joseph. Argument about selective breeding: Giant horses and tail-less cat

  • David spends more time with Sophie and starts teaching her school stuff

The chrysalids8


The Chrysalids

What THEMES have been introduced?

  • THEME:

  • Theme is the main topic, lesson, or idea that is the focus of a story/narrative

  • Novels often explore more than one theme

Comment on Our Society




  • Conflict is the tension or problem between different forces or characters in a story.

  • You should already know conflict from short stories. Conflict includes:

  • Character vs. Character

  • Character vs. Nature

  • Character vs. Society

  • Character vs. Self


What types of CONFLICT have you seen

in The Chrysalids so far?

David vs. Waknuk Beliefs

Joseph vs. Blasphemies

Fringe People vs. Waknuk

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The Chrysalids


  • A character sketch is a description of the different TRAITS of a character, including their personality, relationships, emotions, and actions based on events in the story.

Character’s ACTIONS lead to TRAITS, which are words that describe the character.



Family: Mom and Dad




Uncle Axel




Other telepathic kids




Dishonouring Father


Befriends Sophie


Wants to Run Away

Defends friends


The chrysalids10

Chapters 5-6

The Chrysalids


  • Spring proves to be free of Deviations

  • Waknuk wins “Purity Record” – All good!

  • David and Sophie sneak off together

  • While fishing barefoot, they meet Allan, who finds a “peculiar footprint” – says he will tell everyone

  • David attacks Allan and he’s knocked unconscious

  • Sophie and David tell Sophie’s parents. Family forced to disappear

  • David returns home and finds Inspector at house

  • David lies about knowing Sophie. Receives beating

  • David worried about telling/holding secrets (THEME)

The chrysalids11

Chapters 5-6

The Chrysalids


  • David uses telepathy to talk to friends about Sophie

  • David has vivid dreams about Big City

  • Inspector continues to question David

  • David begins doubting his culture/beliefs

  • Joseph announces that Sophie’s family has been captured

  • Uncle Axel and David discuss the world beyond Waknuk

  • Rigo (Capital); Black Coasts; “Unspeakable monstrosities”

  • David learns of different races outside of Waknuk – and that each believes they are the “true image of God” (Comment on different religions / THEME)

  • Axel and David talk about telepathy. Eight people other than David, though eighth person hasn’t answered

  • Axel will find out what happened to this person

The chrysalids12


The Chrysalids

Why is the world such a dark, bad place in the future in so many novels and films?

Challenge Leadership/



Social Commentary

What THEMES are you seeing in the novel so far?


-text to text

-text to world

-text to self

How does The Chrysalids compare to other novels/films that explore similar ideas?

The chrysalids13

Chapters 7-9

The Chrysalids


  • David’s mother gives birth. Child must be certified “normal” before it is allowed to exist

  • Tension between Joseph Strorm and Inspector

  • Petra Strorm certified as normal

  • David’s Aunt Harriet comes with new baby – uncertified because not normal

  • Harriet wants to borrow Petra for certification. Answer is no. Harriet chased out of house by Joseph

  • Harriet found dead next day by a river. Baby is not there.

The chrysalids14

Chapters 7-9

The Chrysalids


  • Harriet is wiped from knowledge/existence after her death

  • Suggestion that her death was a suicide

  • David prays to lose his ability – just wants to be normal

  • Axel helps David calm down

  • Missing Telepathic boy died in a wood-cutting accident

  • Reader is introduced to other telepathic children. Michael teaches rest of kids new information (he lives in a different area)

  • Chapter ends with a new Telepathic person revealed

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Chapters 7-9

The Chrysalids


  • Big jump in time. Now six years later.

  • David gets urge to run – runs to river and finds Petra about to drown

  • Rosalind comes, too. People suspicious of how they knew to help

  • David fears that Petra will be killed. Tries to telepathically warn her.

  • Last year was a bad year for Deviations. Lots of “purgings”

  • Old-Timers blame Deviations on “corruption in government and carelessness in youth” (SOCIAL COMMENTARY HERE?)

  • Society getting paranoid – fearing new Tribulation (More COMMENTARY)

  • Everything calming down until Anne (telepathic person) announces she is going to get married

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Chapters 10-12

The Chrysalids

  • CHAPTER 10

  • Anne marrying “normal” son of man who discovered Sophie’s secret

  • Telepathic group uneasy and warn against marriage. Anne blocks them out

  • Uncle Axel suggests considering killing Anne to protect secret of group

  • Anne marries and cuts off connections with group

  • David falls in love with Rosalind but this is kept secret as their bond forms

  • Anne’s husband found dead six months after marriage

  • Anne is found in her house dead, a victim of suicide

  • Letter Anne left found by an illiterate neighbour. Letter calls out telepathic group. Letter is destroyed.

  • All tension relaxes.

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Chapters 10-12

The Chrysalids

  • CHAPTER 11

  • Next Spring is very quiet. Few Deviations (none beloning to family of Allan (the Mortons) or Joseph Strorm

  • Petra is growing up. Takes off into a forbidden forest on her pony.

  • David feels urge to run. Calls Michael and Rosalind to join her. They find a freaky Deviation eating Petra’s pony. Deviation killed and Petra rescued.

  • All other Telepathic People also meet in forest

  • Group agrees on how to deal with Petra’s calls as David tries to teach his sister about what’s going on with her mind. Petra reveals she hears people from far away

  • Uncle Axel suggests people are becoming suspicious of David. Axel killed Allan because he was telling people about the Group.

  • Group ready to leave if people come after them.

The chrysalids18

Chapters 10-12

The Chrysalids

  • CHAPTER 12

  • David receives a messages that some of the telepathic kids – the Chrysalids – have been captured. He calls Petra and Rosalind and with a horse, the three leave Waknuk.

  • Group is followed and kills a man who threatens them. Secrecy and stealth are key.

  • Find out Katherine being tortured by Inspector and is revealing information.

  • Inspector issues reward for capture of David, Rosalind, and Petra so he can learn about the Chrysalids and prevent the Deviations from happening again.

  • David decides to head to Fringes. Michael plans to fake their deaths to protect them.

  • Petra starts communicating with a mystery girl. The group head towards her. David realizes this is a girl from his dreams.

The chrysalids19

Chapters 13-15

The Chrysalids

  • CHAPTER 13

  • David, Petra, and Rosalind continue their journey to and through Fringes

  • Group meets a man – they attack him but do not kill him

  • Petra continues to talk with girl from David’s dreams

  • Petra must be protected at all costs. Girl communicates that help is on the way

  • Michael tells group that they are being pursued by Waknuk forces

  • Group hides in woods from pursuers

  • Something falls on David knocking him unconscious

The chrysalids20

Chapters 13-15

The Chrysalids

  • CHAPTER 14

  • David awakens to realize they have been captured by Fringe people

  • David and Rosalind now able to communicate with girl from dreams. She is from Sealand.

  • David meets up with Spider Man. Readers learn that this is David’s uncle

  • Background: David’s uncle’s deformity was discovered four years after his birth. His mother saved him from death but the man – Gordon – still vows revenge on the people of Waknuk – especially his brother.

  • Fringe people decide to keep the two girls for “breeding purposes”

  • David forced to accept this and is taken out of the village and beaten until unconcious.

The chrysalids21

Chapters 13-15

The Chrysalids

  • CHAPTER 15

  • David wakes up to being dragged along ground – by his old friend…Sophie!

  • Sophie explains that she is in love with Gordon (Spider Man) but she was rendered infertile because of her deformity upon her banishment from Waknuk.

  • Sophie is jealous of Rosalind and Petra because of their ability to bear children

  • Sophie and David form a plan to rescue Rosalind and Petra.

  • Michael is contacted and informs them that the pursuers are making slow progress tracking the three fugitives because of Fringe people attacks.

  • Sophie explains her plan to rescue the girls from Gordon’s tent

  • As girls are rescued, Sophie is seen leaving Gordon’s tent cleaning blood from her hands

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Chapters 16-17

The Chrysalids

  • CHAPTER 16

  • Sophie joins David, Rosalind and Petra but warns them to lay low as Fringe people will miss their “breedable women”

  • Jealousy between Rosalind and Sophie

  • Michael and Waknuk people approaching. Girl from Sealand coming, too

  • Fight between Waknuk people and Fringe people. David considers confronting his father

  • Sealand girl convinces David to let go of his father and the way of life he represents – dying views of society (discrimination, etc.)

  • Joseph Strorm killed by his brother, Gordon. Spider Man then dies, too.

  • Sophie pummeled by several arrows and dies

  • Random ship shows up and shoots a spider web-like substance on everyone, paralyzing them.

The chrysalids23

Chapters 16-17

The Chrysalids


An unexpected (and sometimes unrealistic) intervention that rescues the story’s protagonist(s) to resolve the story’s conflict.


The HERO of the story. The person trying to solve the main conflict or ANTAGONIST of the story.


Society: Accepting differences

Waknuk people vs. Fringe people

Everyone is dying…

Gordon, Joseph, Sophie

And then a spaceship comes out of nowhere and saves our main characters, taking them away from the main fight.

The chrysalids24

Chapters 16-17

The Chrysalids

  • CHAPTER 17

  • David cannot move. He talks to Michael, wondering if they should have run away from the space craft

  • Random woman calms their fears as doors open and removes main characters from the webs. Figure dressed in white from head to toe.

  • Woman talks about training and teaching Petra

  • Woman explains that the ship has limited fuel so can’t save anyone else – and that everyone else caught in the web is dead

  • “Unfortunate but necessary price to pay for the survival of their species”

  • Petra communicates to other Chrysalids that the group is safe and they will return to rescue them in the future

  • Group heads to Sealand. David recognizes it from his dreams. They hear conversation of entire society speaking telepathically.

The chrysalids25

Plot Review

Fight between Waknuk and Fringes



Inciting Incident

Rising Action


Falling Action



The Chrysalids


Conflict between Strorms

Capture of Sophie and family

Suspicion of Chrysalids

Group runs from Waknuk

David abandons father

Many deaths

Arrive at city. All happy



David begins to question rules



Sealand woman rescue



Intro to Waknuk society

-David, Sophie, Joseph