The Chrysalids

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Horses Symbol Analysis

Horses Symbol Icon
Horses appear in almost every chapter of The Chrysalids. David, Rosalind, Petra, and the Wenders all use horses as quick and convenient means of escape. Angus Morton’s great-horses are a source of concern for Elias Strorm, who believes that they are Deviations, and when Elias punishes David for concealing Sophie’s mutation, he does so with a horse whip. Horses are also used by those pursuing David, Rosalind, and Petra. Unencumbered horses—the Wenders’ cartless horse, for example, or Sheba, whom David and Rosalind ride bareback to flee from their home—are symbols of freedom in the novel. When horses are restrained, however, they come to symbolize restraints on freedom. For example, when David and Rosalind are leaving their home, they hear the synchronized footsteps of the patrols coming to search for them. Further, when Petra ventures into the forest, her pony is injured, and it is the injury to the pony that catalyzes the search for the telepaths.
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Horses Symbol Timeline in The Chrysalids

The timeline below shows where the symbol Horses appears in The Chrysalids. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Morality Theme Icon
Racism and Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
...for Wanuk because he believed the people around him were immoral. Elias’ wife, described as “coltish,” was not as firm a believer as her husband. David tells us that his own... (full context)
Chapter 4
Ways of Knowing Theme Icon
Morality Theme Icon
Racism and Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
...not forget it for the rest of his life. When the leader dismounts from his horse, David realizes that he is a foot-and-a-half taller than a normal man. The man motions... (full context)
Words Theme Icon
Ways of Knowing Theme Icon
Morality Theme Icon
Racism and Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
...with Angus Morton, with whom he has a long-standing disagreement, over whether or not the “great-horses” which Angus has newly acquired constitute an Offense. Joseph complains to the Inspector that the... (full context)
Chapter 5
Ways of Knowing Theme Icon
Racism and Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
...to David that they must leave forever. The Wenders have always kept bags packed and horses ready for a moment like this, when someone they could not trust found out about... (full context)
Ways of Knowing Theme Icon
Morality Theme Icon
Racism and Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
...David denies this, but his father asserts that he is lying. He takes the Inspector’s horse whip, and, despite the Inspector’s protests, ferociously beats David. (full context)
Chapter 7
Morality Theme Icon
Racism and Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
Harriet rides away on a horse. Joseph is dismayed that she was so arrogant as to not be ashamed of her... (full context)
Chapter 11
Words Theme Icon
Morality Theme Icon
...other members of the group receive a compelling call from Petra, who has ridden a pony into the sometimes-dangerous forest that separates Wanuk from the Fringes. While not as strong as... (full context)
Ways of Knowing Theme Icon
Morality Theme Icon
Racism and Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
David rides his horse into the forest until he reaches Petra, whose pony is being attacked by a mutated... (full context)
Chapter 12
Ways of Knowing Theme Icon
Racism and Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
...Petra need to flee immediately. As they leave the house, they hear the sound of horse hooves approaching. They do not have time to saddle their own horse, Sheba, so they... (full context)
Words Theme Icon
Ways of Knowing Theme Icon
Racism and Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
...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 home. They ride away from Wanuk... (full context)
Chapter 13
Ways of Knowing Theme Icon
Time and Progress Theme Icon
Racism and Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
That night, a “horseman” finds the fugitives and shoots arrows at them. He misses, but Rosalind shoots his horse... (full context)
Words Theme Icon
Ways of Knowing Theme Icon
Time and Progress Theme Icon
Racism and Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
Real World Allegory Theme Icon
...God really is. That night, David, Petra, and Rosalind are discovered and shot at. Their horses bolt, taking them into the forest. Something falls from a tree and crushes David in... (full context)
Chapter 14
Ways of Knowing Theme Icon
Morality Theme Icon
The woman from Zealand ceases communicating, and Rosalind, David, Petra, and the great-horses on which they are riding stop. The men put the fugitives on the ground, and... (full context)