The Chrysalids

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John Wender Character Analysis

John Wender is Sophie’s father. He is a kind man, but he initially does not trust David to keep his daughter’s secret. Once he sees the strength of David and Sophie’s friendship, however, he grows fond of David. He entrusts David to stay at their home while they escape to give them extra time.

John Wender Quotes in The Chrysalids

The The Chrysalids quotes below are all either spoken by John Wender or refer to John Wender. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Words Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the NYRB Classics edition of The Chrysalids published in 2008.
Chapter 3 Quotes

“If John and Mary Wender had been there when I woke up struggling and crying, and then lay in the dark trying to convince myself that the terrible picture was nothing more than a dream, they would, I think, have felt quite a lot easier in their minds.”

Related Characters: David Strorm (speaker), Sophie Wender , John Wender, Mary Wender
Related Symbols: Dreams
Page Number: 28
Explanation and Analysis:

At the end of the chapter, David has a vivid dream in which he sees Sophie being slaughtered like an animal for the "crime" of having an extra toe on her foot. David is beginning to understand how dangerous difference is in his society--and his dream reflects his awareness that different people can be hurt and even killed for their supposed "evil."

The way David expresses his feelings about Sophie is worth mentioning. Previously, Sophie's parents, John and Mary, have asked David to remain quiet about Sophie's abnormality--they figure that, so long as Sophie's toe remains a secret, she'll be able to remain living in the community. But especially since having this horrifying dream, David doesn't need any reminders from John and Mary about keeping the secret: he now knows full-well that if he tells anybody what he knows, Sophie will be hurt. David's sympathies for Sophie greatly outweigh his loyalty to the religion of Wanuk, even in his subconscious, sleeping self.

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John Wender Character Timeline in The Chrysalids

The timeline below shows where the character John Wender appears in The Chrysalids. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Ways of Knowing Theme Icon
Time and Progress Theme Icon
...a source of pride for the people of Wanuk. Sophie tells David that her father, John Wender , thinks that people exaggerate the abilities of the Old People. The two of them... (full context)
Words Theme Icon
Ways of Knowing Theme Icon
Racism and Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
Sophie and David leave the steam-engine and return to Sophie’s house. Her father is home, and he is wary of David because he knows about his daughter’s foot.... (full context)
Ways of Knowing Theme Icon
Morality Theme Icon
Racism and Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
Real World Allegory Theme Icon
...place of the calf and his father slits her throat. David tells the reader that the Wenders would not have worried about his ability to keep Sophie’s Deviation a secret if they... (full context)
Chapter 5
Ways of Knowing Theme Icon
Racism and Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
Sophie and David tell John Wender that Alan saw Sophie’s foot, and John decides that it is time for his family... (full context)
Chapter 6
Ways of Knowing Theme Icon
Time and Progress Theme Icon
Morality Theme Icon
Racism and Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
Real World Allegory Theme Icon
...“the Purity of the Race” is more so. David’s father interrupts him to announce that the Wenders have been caught. David is so overwhelmed with guilt that he cannot breathe, but the... (full context)