The Chrysalids

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Rosalind Morton Character Analysis

Rosalind is David’s half cousin, and later his girlfriend. Uncle Axel finds out about David’s secret ability when he hears him having a conversation with Rosalind, who can also communicate telepathically. Rosalind’s ability is exposed when she and David run toward Petra’s silent calls for help, and she escapes with David and Petra when they are forced to flee Wanuk. She is kind, thoughtful, and a good planner.

Rosalind Morton Quotes in The Chrysalids

The The Chrysalids quotes below are all either spoken by Rosalind Morton or refer to Rosalind Morton. 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 6 Quotes

“Perhaps the Old People were the image: very well then, one of the things they say about them is that they could talk to one another over long distances. Now we can’t do that—but you and Rosalind can. Just think that over, Davie. You two may be nearer to the image than we are.”

Related Characters: Uncle Axel (speaker), David Strorm, Rosalind Morton
Page Number: 64
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Uncle Axel raises an interesting possibility. Axel knows that David is considered a "mutant" because he has psychic powers. Yet Axel doesn't condemn David for being different from the other people in his society. On the contrary, Axel speculates that in reality, David could be more "perfect" than the other Wanukians. There's no rule that says that perfection correlates with what is most common; in other words, just because David is one of the only people in the community with ESP doesn't mean that he's the mutant. The only relevant factor, according to the Wanuk religion, is whether or not David resembles the "Old People." Axel suggests that David is more like the Old People than his peers--it's rumored that long ago, the Old People could communicate across vast distances, just like David.

The passage reinforces the arbitrariness of the Wanuk definition of perfection. Furthermore, it suggests a number of things: it's possible that the "Old People" Axel refers to are the readers of The Chrysalids itself--people living in the 20th century (when the novel was written) who could communicate using telephones and radios. Although Axel tries to inspire David by telling him that he's perfect, the truth (we recognize) is very different: there is no such thing as human perfection, and anybody who says so is deluded.

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Chapter 12 Quotes

“But what’s got them so agitated about us is that nothing shows. We’ve been living among them for nearly twenty years and they didn’t suspect it. We could pass for normal anywhere. So a proclamation has been posted describing the three of you and officially classifying you as deviants. That means that you are non-human and therefore not entitled to any of the rights or protections of human society.”

Related Characters: Michael (speaker), David Strorm, Petra Strorm, Rosalind Morton
Page Number: 131
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Michael, a fellow psychic, informs Rosalind and David that they're been found out and placed on a "wanted" list. The list establishes that David and his peers aren't human beings at all--they're non-human deviants who can be arrested or even killed on sight.

As Michael acknowledges, the authorities in Wanuk don't just want David and his friends dead because they're different--they're personally outraged that psychics have managed to survive undetected for so many years. There seems to be a personal animosity in the authorities' vendetta against the psychics, one that won't be satisfied until David and the others are dead. The scene establishes how easily the community of Wanuk can deprive people of their rights--one piece of paper, and David is suddenly no longer human.

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Rosalind Morton Character Timeline in The Chrysalids

The timeline below shows where the character Rosalind Morton appears in The Chrysalids. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
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...her words. He decides to keep what he has seen from everyone, even his cousin, Rosalind. As he leaves the house, he finally realizes that Sophie’s body does not match the... (full context)
Chapter 4
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...people. Because David trusts Uncle Axel, he tells him that he was actually talking to Rosalind, his cousin. Once Uncle Axel understands that David is able to communicate telepathically to Rosalind,... (full context)
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...time of this conversation, he does not inform Uncle Axel that there are others (besides Rosalind) with whom he can communicate this way, because he does not want to worry Uncle... (full context)
Chapter 6
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...know what the true Image of God really is. In fact, he says, David and Rosalind, with their ability to communicate without words, might be closer to the true image, even... (full context)
Chapter 8
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...to make him normal. The next morning, however, he is still able to communicate with Rosalind. David was so young when Sophie had to flee that he did not fully understand... (full context)
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...He believes that man’s mind is more important than his body, and that David and Rosalind have reached a new level of the mind that they should value rather than wish... (full context)
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...group’s ability. They decide to learn each other’s names—Michael, Sally, Katherine, Mark, Anne, Rachel, and Rosalind—to avoid any future stress or confusion. (full context)
Chapter 9
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...is compelled to run toward the source of the feeling. As he runs, he meets Rosalind, who is also running to the source. The two find Petra, who is caught in... (full context)
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Eventually people from the town catch up to Rosalind and David to see what they were running toward. No one understands how they could... (full context)
Chapter 10
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...happiness that comes with marriage simply because there are not enough boys in the group. Rosalind and David, she claims, are the only others who know what it is like to... (full context)
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Anne’s relationship with Alan prompts David to reflect on his relationship with Rosalind, a relationship he has had to keep secret because Rosalind is the daughter of Joseph... (full context)
Chapter 11
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...the forest until he reaches Petra, whose pony is being attacked by a mutated cat. Rosalind and Michael, who have also rushed to her aid, shoot the animal with arrows and... (full context)
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...meet in person again, and that if Petra emits another call, everyone but David and Rosalind will do their best to ignore it. (full context)
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...Axel tells David that a friend of the Inspector has been asking about him and Rosalind. He suspects that Petra might be to blame. David is shocked because he hasn’t told... (full context)
Chapter 12
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...but decides to leave the rest for the morning. When he wakes up, Michael and Rosalind tell him that Katherine and Sally have been taken and he and Petra need to... (full context)
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...to the rest of the group so that they can better pretend to be normal. Rosalind has taken her father Angus’s great-horses, so David and Petra send their horse Sheba back... (full context)
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David goes to sleep, and when he wakes up, he learns that Rosalind has had to kill a person who was following them. She is extremely distressed and... (full context)
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Michael warns Rosalind and David that the authorities are furious over their escape. Most Deviations can be seen... (full context)
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Petra impedes Rosalind and David’s progress when she becomes afraid of Hairy Jack (the Mutant boogeyman used to... (full context)
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...might actually mean Sealand. In the Wanukian language, Zs do not exist, so David and Rosalind believe Petra has confused a Z for an S, even though Petra insists it is... (full context)
Chapter 13
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That night, a “horseman” finds the fugitives and shoots arrows at them. He misses, but Rosalind shoots his horse and he is thrown to the ground. The injured horse runs away,... (full context)
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...it. He tells David that it would be better for him to kill Petra and Rosalind than let them fall into the hands of their enemies. (full context)
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While Rosalind and David sleep, Petra talks to the woman from Zealand and learns that almost everyone... (full context)
Chapter 14
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Rosalind calls to David who, semiconscious, begins meditating on his love for Rosalind. He tells the... (full context)
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When David fully comes to, Rosalind is explaining to Michael that men from the Fringes dropped from the trees onto their... (full context)
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...gets in touch with the woman from Zealand. The woman is finally close enough for Rosalind and David to be able to communicate with her as well. She advises them to... (full context)
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The woman’s pride and disrespectful attitude toward God and the Old People make David uncomfortable. Rosalind is curious about Zealand, however, so she asks about the history of the Zealanders. The... (full context)
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The woman from Zealand ceases communicating, and Rosalind, David, Petra, and the great-horses on which they are riding stop. The men put the... (full context)
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Rosalind catches the spidery man’s eye and he looks her over for a long time. David,... (full context)
Chapter 15
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...After a few moments, David realizes that the woman is Sophie. Sophie tells David that Rosalind is safe, but she seems wary of Rosalind when speaking about her. Sophie is upset... (full context)
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David follows Sophie to her cave, where he gets in touch with Rosalind and learns that she and Petra are being kept in a tent near Gordon’s. He... (full context)
Chapter 16
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Sophie tells Rosalind and Petra to get rid of their embroidered crosses, as this is a dangerous symbol... (full context)
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Michael tells David, Rosalind, and Petra that the troops are about three hours away, and without warning, Petra asks... (full context)
Chapter 17
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Soon the wind blows threads into the cave and Rosalind, David, and Petra are covered in them. Following the instructions of the woman, they lie... (full context)
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...have enough fuel to carry any extra weight. In the silence that follows this statement, Rosalind realizes with horror that everyone covered by the threads is now dead. The woman matter-of-factly... (full context)
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...if she will wait for him, he will come find her. Michael explains that because Rosalind and David are still considered fugitives in Wanuk, only he can return to keep Rachel... (full context)
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Rosalind, David, and Petra board the machine with the woman and go with her to Zealand.... (full context)