The Chrysalids Study Questions and Answers

By Terry Ligard

A review of important study questions and answers for The Chrysalids will prepare you for any assessment on this novel. Questions for each set of chapters are shared.

Chapters 1-4

1. Joseph Strorm was a man of local consequence. What does he do, besides farming, that makes him so important?

Joseph Strorm is one who devotes much of his time maintaining religious laws and developing a strong community. He is a significant contributor towards religious efforts, for he preaches on Sundays and ensures that every Offence and Blasphemy in his community are dealt with.

2. What evidences does the author give that reveal Joseph Strorm is a man to be feared?

When Joseph Strorm hears his son David make a reference to having a third arm, he strictly reprimands him in public. This depicts Joseph as a man who is so strongly devoted to his religious calling, that he would visit shame on his own family members should they even speak of that which is forbidden.

3. Why does Uncle Axel warn David about his gift?

After Uncle Axel learns of David's telepathic abilities, he becomes concerned. For although David is young and may not be attentive, Uncle Axel knows he can get into much trouble if he is observed doing strange things, such as talking to himself when communicating mentally.

Chapters 5-8

4. There is something ironic in the fact that Sophie is discovered in a "good" season. What is meant with "ironic"? What might have happened if the crops and newborn animals had been deviant?

When Sophie and her six toes are discovered in a "good" season, it is ironic that she was the only deviation discovered in an otherwise deviation-free period. For if Sophie was discovered in a "good" season, she wouldn't be discovered in a "bad" season. Furthermore, if the crops and newborn animals had been deviant, Sophie would not be discovered.

5. What truth did the explorer Marther discover? What was the result when he published his findings?

On his voyages, Marther discovered to contrary belief that living forms are indeed growing in the Badlands country. When Marther published these findings, he found himself in conflict with orthodox people, for it contradicted their teachings. It implied that deviations, however slowly, were performing a work of reclamation. Therefore, Marther landed in court and a ban on further exploration was issued.

Chapters 9-12

6. Petra's membership to the group adds several new dimensions to the story. Which two are mentioned?

A new dimension to the story resulting from Petra's membership is that she surpasses her group members in telepathic ability. She is able to mentally command David and Rosalind to her with such force they can not resist. Also, the group is slowly but steadily growing in number. With the addition of Petra it is likely that others with telepathic abilities are yet undiscovered.

7. David’s group is finally in open conflict with the district of Waknuk. As a matter of fact, as Michael puts it, they are at war. Why does Michael say that? Give some proof by which the reality of war is demonstrated.

Michael realizes his group must now take all measures to withstand opposition. For, Waknuk society has waged war of extermination on Michael's group. For this reason, Michael is willing to fight back, believing his group has a right to survive, thrive, and left unprosecuted. The reality of war is demonstrated when Katherine is tortured by people seeking information about the group.

Chapters 13-17

8. Mention one way in which the motif of lack of personal freedom is linked to the motif of kindness and compassion in the novel.

Sophie, a blasphemy, lacked much personal freedom as opposed to normal children of her age. However, when she first came upon David at the bank, he invited her to play with him. Even after David discovered her sixth toe, he continued to play with her and share his kindness and compassion.

9. Explain the Sealand woman's comments about the extreme Badlands.

As the Sealand lady travels across the Badlands, she expresses her bewilderment at the dreadful condition in which the Badland lays in. For instance, she describes the desolate stretches miles across, where the ground looks as if it has been fused into black glass. She further goes on by wondering what could have been done to create such a terrible result. She reasons out that it was people with tremendous power who went insane and induced such devastating effects on land. Here she is referring to the use of nuclear weapons.

10. All novels have a theme. What is the major theme in The Chrysalids?

The main theme would be the nature of evil. Humans constantly look for ways to explain the unpleasant events of life and often blame the indefinite force of "evil" for these events. Having established that unpleasant events are caused by evil, humans attempt to define indefinite evil in a definite form. The Chrysalids is a prime example. In their vain efforts to locate, contain, and combat evil, the people in this society target deviations. Ironically, it is this attempt to combat evil that creates evil in this novel.

11. At the end of the story, David recognizes the great city in Sealand as the city of his dream. Why does the novel begin and end with that vision?

In the beginning of the novel, David's vision sets the destination or outcome for the story. Essentially, all the events in which David and the group struggle to survive builds towards this destination. Therefore, when the end of the novel depicts Sealand, the group has achieved their ultimate goal.