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The Chrysalids, by John Wyndham


Plot Summary
Mood and Themes

Three main characters in this novel are Petra, David, and Michael. On this page we will describe these characters in more detail.

Petra: Petra is a very emotional young girl. She has extraordinary powers of communication where she can talk to someone using think-shapes who is in another part of the world. Because of these powers, it is very hard for her to control her feelings because they blast into everyone's minds who can shape-think. Petra and David are siblings and are very fond of each other. Petra is also very friendly and outgoing but she can be annoying as she constantly talks to everyone. Rosalind and David are always reminding her to be quiet both in her mind and out loud with words. A good example of this is when Sophie must rescue Rosalind and Petra from the Fringe people. David and Rosalind must constantly insist that she be quiet or they will be killed.'
David: We meet David first when he is around 10 years old. Throughout the novel we see him grow up into a young man. David tries very hard to be brave and strong even though he has gone through a lot of troubleing times. He is also very intelligant and realizes that for the sake of an entire nation and the sanity of two people he loves, he must make sacrifices. One example of this is when he is talking to Michael. Michael states that if the Waknuk inhabitants catch David, Petra, and Rosalind, it may be better to kill themselves instead of being tortued and possibly confessing that there is a whole world of people who can talk with shapes. David is brave in this novel because he must stand up to unwelcoming Fringe people, show a courageous face to Rosalind and Petra so they are not scared, and must live in a world where he is not welcome to be himself.
Michael: Michael is a very responsible and intelligant young man who has excellent leadership qualities. Michael takes command of a stressful situation and always makes the right decisions. People look up to him for advice. When David did not know what to do when the Fringe people were holding Petra and Rosalind hostage, he consulted Michael. David not only consulted Michael, but he also carried out his advice which led to the successful rescue of Rosalind and Petra. Michael is also willing to put himself in danger and stay behind to protect his friends. Examples of this are when he joined the Waknuk men to capture David, Rosalind, and Petra. If it was found out that he was a shape-thinker, he would be in the greatest of dangers. He also stayed behind while the rest travelled to Sealand so that he could be with Rachel. In this way, he proved that he does not care only about himself. Michael does not care for people who are condescending such as the Sealand women who thinks she is superior and will not even try to think how the Waknuk people have been taught to think. Michael is a key character in the novel, The Chrysalids.

"The essential quality of life is living; the essential quality of living is change; change is evolution; and we are part of it."