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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
the chrysalids5

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)
the chrysalids6

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

the chrysalids9


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
the chrysalids15

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