The Chrysalids


John Wyndham

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The Chrysalids: Chapter 15 Summary & Analysis

David awakes to a woman dragging him along the forest floor. He is shocked to see that she does not wear a protective cross stitched into her clothing, as all of the women in Waknuk do. 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 over Rosalind’s arrival because she is in love with the spidery man, whose name is Gordon, and does not want him to be with Rosalind. Sophie tells David that she wished the authorities had killed her because it would have been more kind than sterilizing her. David promises her that nothing will ever happen between Rosalind and Gordon because he “knows” Rosalind will stop it. Sophie is skeptical, but David tells her that, through think-talk, he can know things for certain about Rosalind.
David’s conversation with Sophie reveals the difficulty of trying to explain thinking-together through words. Of course, Wyndham has already filled a book with words trying to explain this, so we are familiar with the theme of words as often being inadequate The type of certainty David expresses over Rosalind’s intentions is something that Sophie cannot fathom. Her own feelings toward the spidery man also force the reader to question whether Gordon is entirely evil. If Sophie loves him, perhaps he has some redeeming qualities.
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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 enlists Sophie’s help in retrieving them before Gordon returns. Sophie goes to Gordon’s tent alone, but not without asking David to make Rosalind and Petra promise to be absolutely silent. She returns a while later with Rosalind and Petra in tow and begins washing blood from her knife.
There is a great deal of death in Wyndham’s novel, but it occurs for a wide variety of reasons. It is not clear to the reader if Sophie kills in order to help David and Rosalind, or if her actions are motivated by a desire to keep Gordon for herself.
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