Sophie Wender The Chrysalids Essay

The character of Sophie in this text is used to indicate to the reader the fate that mutants face in this dystopian world of the future. It is key to realise that Sophie is introduced as a child to our narrator, whose eyes we see his world through. David thinks there is nothing wrong with an extra toe, and from his child-like perspective, chooses to overlook that rather than let it interfere with his friendship with Sophie. However, the brutality with which Sophie is hunted down and caught, even though she is nothing but a child, clearly indicates the cold, chilling brutality of the society that David is growing up in, and serves both to foreshadow the way that David and Petra will be hunted down and also represent the danger of what could happen to them if they are caught.

Sophie is reintroduced into the novel towards the end as an adult to highlight this particular aspect of the novel. Note what she says about her life and her relationship with Gordon and how this engages the reader's sympathy for her:

You've never known loneliness. You can't understand the awful emptiness that's waiting all round us here. I'd have given him babies gladly, if I could. I--oh, why do they do that to us? Why didn't they kill me? It would have been kinder than this...

The emotion is palpable in this quote as Sophie confronts her inability to have children because of her forced sterilisation and the loneliness of her life. Sophie is made to be such a tragic figure therefore to highlight the cruel, calculating system of governance that is determined to eradicate any sign of mutation, and also to foreshadow the zeal by which this same system will hunt down our hero and his fellow telepaths later on in the novel.

Transcript of The Chrysalids: Character Analysis (Relations to David Storm)

The Chrysalids: Character Analysis
Joseph Strorm
Joseph Strorm is very
narrow minded
. He believes that the Waknuk Religion is the only correct religion to have beliefs in. He believed that the way Waknuk understood 'True Image' is the way it really was. Joseph is a major
religious leader
in all of Waknuk, people seem to listen to him. He also makes sure that everyone, especially the members of his family are following the guidelines of true image. “‘you – my own son were calling upon the Devil to give you another hand!’ he accused me. ‘But I wasn’t. I only –‘” this occurs because David had said, “I could have managed it all right by myself if I’d had another hand.” (pg. 26) Joseph saw this statement as his son wishing for another hand.
Emily Strorm
Emily Strorm is very narrow minded. Just like her husband, she makes sure to follow the 'True Image' and does not tolerate any deviants. “My mother saw to it that the big room was kept very clean and tidy...The nearest approach to decoration was a number of wooden panels with the sayings...’ONLY THE IMAGE OF GOD IS MAN’...’KEEP PURE THE STOCK OF THE LORD’...’BLESSED IS THE NORM’, and ‘IN PURITY OUR SALVATION.’ The largest was the one on the back wall...It reminded everyone who came in: WATCH THOU FOR THE MUTANT!” (pg 26) These are quotes Emily kept hung up on the walls at all times. She also adapts to the way her husband wants things to go. She doesn’t argue or go against anything he says, almost like she's living in his shadow. When Joseph was yelling at their son David, she stood there in silence, not even defending her son because of a simple mistake he made. “My mother froze.” (pg. 18) There is no proof of Emily trying to calm things down between her husband and David.
Petra Strorm
Petra Strorm is the youngest of the Strorm children. The group of telepaths discovers that her ability is extraordinarily strong and difficult to resist, placing the group at greater risk of discovery, (especially because she is so young and does not understand the punishments and consequences like everyone else.) “But Petra’s the weak spot; she’s too young to understand. If they start on her and trick her and trap her, it might end up in sterilization and the Fringes for all of us....” (pg. 120)
David Strorm
David Strorm is the narrator of the story and main character, also the Protagonist. David is a member of a small group of kids who can communicate with each other using telepathy. However, their community is against anyone who is abnormal. This means he and the others must keep their abilities carefully hidden. David also seems to be very
since he consistently questions the validity of
The Definition of Man
. David is the one who discovers Sophie and her secret. David is very
. He agreed to keep Sophie’s major secret, and gained her and her parents trust. “’Will you keep a secret – an important secret - for her sake?’ she asked. ‘Yes – of course.’ I agreed.” (pg. 12)
Aunt Harriet
Uncle Axel
Gordon/the spider-man
Uncle Axel is very
open minded
, and
. When he found out about David's telepathy he thought it was a new character of mind
instead of a deviation
. He had also told David to protect himself by not telling anyone his secret because he knows that the Waknuk religion would never except him. "I want you to keep it secret. I want you to promise that you will never, never tell anyone else what you have just told me-never. its very important: later on you'll understand better how important it is. you mustn't do anything that would even let anyone guess about it. will you promise me that?" (pg. 30)
Sophie Wender
The Wenders
Alan Ervin
The Sealand Lady
The Inspector
The inspector is very
, especially after David concealed a Blasphemy, Sophie. The inspector did not beat him like his father would or cruelly punish him, instead he just told David that concealment is very serious. The inspector is also very
and takes his job seriously. He follows only the
and makes sure all offences and blasphemies are reported to him. " 'any government that could pass creatures like that is corrupt and immortal,' my father announced. 'possibly,' admitted the inspector, 'but it's still the government'." (pg. 36)
Martie and John Wender are Sophie's very
parents. They are both very
of Sophie, not only because they are her parents, but also because of her condition. When David first found out about Sophie, her parents were both scared they couldn't trust him with the secret, so Martie made him promise, " 'you'll Promise David?' 'I promise. I can swear if you like,' I offered"(page 13) As David showed Sophie's parents and proved to them he wasn't anyone to harm her, they started to warm up to him. They treated him like he was their own son. They
for David greatly and
genuinely considered
his request to leave with them to the fringes.
Aunt Harriet is very
. She loves her baby so much, she wanted to save it from being taken away, even if it was a "blasphemy". She also really loved her husband and didn't want him to leave her. An example is on page 71 when Harriet tells Emily that she can't have her baby taken away again or her husband would leave her. She then asks Emily if she can borrow her baby until after the inspection, so that she will be able to keep her child. Though, the family is appalled at her questions and accuse her of heresy, she is very
. On page 72 she tells them "very well- I understand. I'll go now."
Sophie Wender is a little girl who happens to be a mutant with six toes. Instead of running away from David during their first encounter, she
stays to talk to him, " 'Hallo' I responded, she hesitated, then pushed the bushes farther." (pg. 7) This shows her curiosity towards David. She is also a
person. Although she was
of Rosalind for being able to have babies, she still helped her along with David and Petra when they were captured by the fringes people.
Rosalind is very
towards Petra and David. She is very
. Her thinking is very beneficial to David and Petra. She does not make decisions out of the spur, and is almost always very
. An example is how Rosalind always checks on David and Petra to see if they are okay and warns them if there are any dangers about. On page 129 Rosalind kills a man that found some of the horses' tracks and decides to kill him in order not to draw any suspicion. This proves that Rosalind is also very protective of David and Petra and is very cautious.
Michael is the most
of the telepaths; the best educated, and in many ways plays a
role in the group despite his physical absence from events in the story. “’but what’s the best thing for us to do?’ Rosalind put in. ‘Nothing at the moment,’ Michael advised.” (pg. 120) And he continued making a plan. This shows how
Michael is, and how his
plays a big part in the story. His telepathic abilities remain secret, and during the pursuit into the Fringes he joins the leading posse to give updates and warnings to David, Rosalind and Petra as they flee. He is also in love with Rachel.
Relation: Guardian, Family
Relation: Guardian, Family
Relation: Family
Relation: Family
Relation: Family, Advisers/Teachers, Models/Admired Figures,
Relation: Friends, Advisers/Teachers
Relation: Friends
Relation: Friends, Comforters
Relation: Foes/Annoyers
Gordon Strorm is the brother of Joseph Strorm who was banished into the Fringes because he has enormously long and skinny body parts much like a spider. “They were monstrously long and thin, and his arms were long and thin, too. It made him look half-man, half-spider....” (pg. 32) He attacked Waknuk along with the people from the Fringes, but ended up being captured and brought to Joseph. Gordon encountered David and asked some questions. He escaped that same night. Gordon ended up killing Joseph Strorm, his own brother.
Relation: Family
Rachel is the last remaining telepath in Waknuk after David, Rosalind and Petra are brought to Sealand. She is
afraid of loneliness
, while being
in love
with Michael. As a result of this love, Michael remains behind with Rachel when they find out that the aircraft bringing the four of the telepaths to Sealand does not have enough fuel to collect Rachel from Waknuk and get home again. “’There is still Rachel,’ He explained...’ I am sorry but we cannot include her." (pg. 194)
Relation: Friends
The Sealand woman and her people are from a more technologically advanced society where telepathic ability is far more common and is accepted, promoted and studied. The sealand lady thinks of her kind as more superior because they have a gift that isn’t very common. The sealand woman does take things into consideration, but she does not follow through with what others have to offer as an opinion. “The sealand woman was leaning forward, watching him. There was sympathy and admiration in her eyes, but she shook her head gently. ‘It’s a very long way...’” (pg. 198)
Relation: Friends, Models/Admired Figures
Alan Ervin is Anne's husband. He had reported Sophie Wender and planned to blackmail the members of the group. “’It's always important, and very important indeed if it is a Blasphemy. And in this case there doesnt seem to be any doubt about it-- unless young Ervin was mistaken. Now, he says this child you were with has six toes. is that true?” Here the reader can see that Alan has already reported Sophie. Throughout the novel, Alan is prompt to report blasphemies or offences, and in a sense he is also very law-abiding.
Relation: Foes/Annoyers
Katherine is the first of the group to be discovered by Waknuk. Katherine was tortured by hot irons until she revealed David, Rosalind and Petra. Katherine was a very loyal person since she did not plan on revealing her group members, but being tortured she had no choice. “They’ve broken Katherine...They’re torturing her.” Later on we assume that her and sally are dead.
Relation: Friends
Anne is the only member of the group to violate its solidarity. Anne married a norm, Alan Ervin who died a tragic death resulting her to commit suicide. This proves how blinded she is by love. "Wants Alan so badly that she is determined not to let anything stop her from having him.” Anne is "fierce and blinded" by her love for Alan. She no longer wanted to be in the group anymore.
Relation: Friends, Foes
Relation: Friends

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