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Chrysalids Page 1/8
1. What elements are commonly found in science fiction novels or films (for example, a
futuristic setting)? Brainstorm with a partner or in a group. Then complete the
classification activity following question 6.
2. Predict and discuss what you think could happen after a Nuclear Holocaust.
3. What is a parable? Make a list of parables that you have encountered.
4. In the library, do some research the extra-sensory perception (or mental telepathy).
Make a list of advantages and disadvantages there could be in being telepathic.
5. Close your eyes and imagine a ‘Dream City’ of the future. Who would live in this
city? What would the buildings and transportation be like? Write a good descriptive
paragraph of this futuristic setting.
6. What is perfectionism? When could the quest for ‘the ideal’ become unrealistic or
tribulation (p. 5, 5)
Old People (p. 5, 5)
wistful (p. 7, 10)
contrived (p. 8, 1)
blasphemy (p. 13, last)
1. What have you learned about Sophie and David, the protagonist?
2. What does the author suggest about treatment of people who are different in this
3. Write the dictionary definitions of the following words and use each in a clear
sentence of your own.
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4. Make a prediction about the novel based upon the previous vocabulary words.
timorously (p. 16, 3)
Deviations (p. 19, 4)
Repentances (p 16, last)
1. How is the setting unusual? Make a Venn Diagram showing similarities and
differences to like in your area.
2. Who are the Old People?
3. Describe civilization in The Fringes.
4. What have you learned so far about David’s father?
abated (p. 27, last)
Purification (p. 28, 2)
imploring (p. 28, 2)
implacable (p. 28, 2)
1. In this society, why do you think it is so important that people conform to the ‘norm’?
2. List examples in our culture where we are expected to look or act the same as others
(think about institutions, etc.)
3. How do you personally feel about the importance of conformity versus non-
dissemble (p. 29, 3)
harry (p. 33, 1)
intermittently (p. 35, 2nd
demise (p. 37, 5)
ecclesiastically (p. 40, 3)
lay (p. 40, 3)
1. Do you believe in the phenomenon of ESP (extra-sensory perception)? Why or why
2. Why do you think it is so important that David and the others keep this special ability
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3. What role do you expect Rosalind to play in the novel?
4. Explain the impact of ‘Tribulation’ on their society.
5. Find the dictionary definition of ethics. Now make up your own definitions for the
words goodness and evil.
6. What is the inspector’s job?
orthodox (p. 42, 2)
ominous (p. 46, 2nd
sullenness (p. 51, 5)
abasement (p. 52, 4)
1. What has David done at the end of this chapter?
2. How do you feel about David’s father now? What is the motivation behind his
actions? Make a list of four or five character traits to describe Joseph Strorm.
3. Why is it so important for Sophie and her family to leave? Where do you think they
dubious (p. 53, 3)
abetting (p. 54, 3rd
evaded (p. 55, 3rd
heresies (p. 61, 3)
inference (p. 65, 3)
1. The settings of various parts of the world are vividly presented to David by Uncle
Axel. Work with a partner to describe what is found in each of the following areas:
North of Labrador, the Northeast, the South, Badlands, Black Coasts, and Deviations on
some islands. Design an old-fashioned style map to depict these areas.
2. What is special about the character of Uncle Axel?
3. On the ‘true image’, Uncle Axel says: “But what is more worrying is that most of
them… think that their type is the true pattern of the Old People and anything different is
a deviation.” If we look at what he is saying as a type of parable, what could his words to
pretense (p. 66, 4)
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malicious (p. 67, 2)
effrontery (p. 70, 8)
penance (p. 72, last)
1. Why did Aunt Harriet pay a visit?
2. What was inhumane about David’s father’s actions?
3. Find evidence in this chapter to support the emerging theme of prejudice and
fruition (p. 75, last)
travesties (p. 76, 1)
1. David is becoming more knowledgeable than his parents due to his telepathic
‘education.’ How would it be difficult for him to lead his secret life within the family?
Have you ever had to suppress your knowledge or understanding of life in the face of
2. Explain what you think happened to lead up to ‘The Tribulation.’ What disaster then
occurred to make the world in the novel the way it is now? Be descriptive.
3. Respond to this statement: “What makes man, man is mind: it’s not a thing, it’s a
quality and minds aren’t all the same value.”
4. David and his friends are different. How do they compare with people in our present
day society who are different from others, yet have to strive to lead a normal life?
ebbed (p. 84, 2)
1. What is being discovered about Petra?
2. “Accursed is the mutant.” In our present day society, wars are currently being fought
due to religious and racial intolerance. Using ideas and quotes from Jacob’s words in this
chapter, comment on situations in the world today.
3. Can you list some people in history who have been persecuted for being different?
lugubriously (p. 94, 2)
expiated (p. 95, 3)
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1. Discuss several other characters you have encountered in stories or movies where
‘love’ has ruled over ‘logic’ and led the characters into possible danger. How is the
author advancing the love theme in The Chrysalids?
2. What role does Michael play in the novel?
3. Who do you think was responsible for Alan’s murder?
propitious (p. 104, 1)
abeyance (p. 104, 1)
placatory (p. 109, 1)
tacit (p. 1194th
1. Why do you think that the authorities are suspicious?
2. Predict what will happen to Petra, and to David and Rosalind.
3. What style of narration is being used and how does it contribute to the development of
4. How would the novel be different if it were told from the third person point of view?
Would this tend to increase or diminish your involvement in the plot? Explain.
5. Choose a passage from this chapter and re-write it from another character’s viewpoint.
prudent (p. 124, 2nd
pannier (p. 124, last)
impetuous (p. 134, 8)
1. Make up a scripted dialogue between Katherine and her interrogator. What did she
2. Try to write a ‘thought-pattern’ conversation between Petra and her new contact.
3. Describe the mood using several good quotes from this chapter.
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perfunctorily (p. 141, 4)
complacently (p. 145, 5)
unabashed (p. 145, 7)
1. Find evidence from this chapter (at least three good quotes) to support the theme of
prejudice. Write a response to the quotes.
2. In a good paragraph, write a character sketch of David, explaining clearly how his
character is emerging.
indifference (p. 149, 5)
unkempt (p. 159, 5)
1. “So when they were doing their best to get everything fixed and tidy on some kind of
external lines they’d thought up for themselves, He sent along Tribulation to bust it up
and remind them that Life is Change.” Why don’t people in Waknuk like changes or
‘mutations,’ as they call them?
2. Do you agree with the statement ‘life is change’? Why or why not?
3. Who is ‘the spider-man’ and what do you think his plans are for David?
4. What protected the Sealand People from Tribulation?
niches (p. 169, 2)
1. Did the re-introduction of Sophie surprise you? What tension is emerging with her
entry upon the scene? How can she be helpful to the others?
2. Characters that undergo changes or growth during a novel are called dynamic
characters. How are each of the following characters at least somewhat dynamic?
3. Make a list of who you think are the strongest and weakest characters in the novel.
Defend your choices.
4. How does the author build suspense in this chapter?
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contrite (p. 177, 3rd
tentatively (p. 178 to last)
retrospective (p. 180, 8)
admonished (p. 186)
1. Have any symbols emerges in the story? For example, try to explain how the image of
‘net’ or ‘web’ could be symbolic. Can you think of other symbols in this book?
2. As David ponders whether to forgive or to kill his father, the Sealand Woman
responds, “Let him be”, and explains how to proceed. Use a good paragraph to
paraphrase what she tells him. Explain how her words apply thematically to the novel.
3. How does the relationship (and the eventual fate) of Sophie and the spider-man
contrast with the other relationships in the novel… David and Rosalind/Michael and
Rachel. Compare, using and analyzing quotes from this chapter.
pallor (p. 192, 6)
bravado (p. 192, 7)
1. As biblical allusions, what could the area of Sealand represent and who could Michael
and Rachel be?
2. How would you feel now if you were David or Rosalind?
3. Give evidence from this chapter to support the theme of Changes. Include concepts of
the Evolutionary Life Cycle and The Survival of the Fittest.
4. Predict Petra’s future in Sealand. What will her impact be on that society?
5. What, to you, was the most unique aspect of this novel?
6. Would you read other novels by this author. Why or why not?
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1. Write an episode at least one page in length, in the style of John Wyndham, explaining
what happens to the characters after they arrive in Sealand.
2. How is satire used in the novel? Explain in essay format, using specific examples.
3. Why does John Wyndham entitle this novel The Chrysalids? (Relate the title to the
Waknuks and to David’s metamorphosis.)
4. Explain the significance of ‘David’s dream’ to the characterization, plot, and themes
of the novel.
5. In your opinion, how well did this novel fit your expectations for the science fiction
genre? Give a critical analysis.
6. Write a short essay on the themes catastrophe and failure of communications. Support
your opinions with evidence from the book. Include the author’s vision of nuclear