The Chrysalids: Significant Passages
David 1
David 2
Sealand 1
Sealand 2
Sealand 3
Inspector 1
Inspector 2
Joseph Strorm
Uncle Axel 1
Uncle Axel 2
Uncle Axel 3
Aunt Harriet 1
Aunt Harriet 2
The Fringe People
The Fringe People
The Fringe People
The Inspector
“Well, any part of the definition is as important as any
other; and if a child doesn’t come within it, then it isn’t
human, and that it means it doesn’t have a soul. It is
not in the image of God, it is an imitation, and in the
imitation there is always some mistake. Only God
produces perfection, So although deviations may look
like us in many ways, they cannot be really human.
They are something quite different”(pg.55). BACK
The Inspector
“… the Devil sends Deviations among us to
weaken us and tempt us away from purity.
Sometimes he is clever enough to make a
nearly-perfect imitation, So we have always to
be on the look-out for the mistake he has
made, however small, and when we see one
it must be reported at once”(pg.55). BACK
Uncle Axel
“When people are used to believing a thing is suchand-such a way, and the preachers want them to
believe that that’s the way it is; it’s trouble you get,
not thanks, for upsetting their ideas. Sailors soon
found that out in Rigo, So mostly they only talk about
it now to other sailors. If the rest of the people want to
think it’s nearly all Badlands outside, they let them; it
doesn’t alter the way it really is, but it does make for
peace and quiet”(pg.57). BACK
Uncle Axel
“You start asking yourself: well, what real evidence
have we got about the true image? You find that the
Bible doesn’t say anything to contradict the people of
that time being like us, but on the other hand, it
doesn’t give any definition of Man, either. No, the
definition comes from Nicholson’s Repentances –
and he admits that he was writing some generations
after Tribulation came, so you find yourself wondering
whether he knew he was in the true image, or
whether he only thought he was …”(pg.63). BACK
Aunt Harriet
“I am not ashamed – I am only beaten”(pg.72).
Aunt Harriet
“I shall pray,” she said. “Yes, I shall pray.” She
paused, then she went on, her voice steady and
harder: “I shall pray God to send charity into this
hideous world, and sympathy for the weak, and love
for the unhappy and unfortunate. I shall ask Him if it
is indeed His will that a child should suffer and its
should be damned for a little blemish of the body …
And I shall pray Him, too, that the hearts of the selfrighteous may be broken(pg.73).” BACK
Joseph Strorm
(In response to Harriet’s request)
“The enemies of God besiege us. They seek to strike
at Him through us. Unendingly they work to distort
the true image; through our weaker vessels the
attempt to defile the race. You have sinned, woman,
search your heart, and you will know that you have
sinned. Your sin has weakened our defences, and the
enemy has struck through you. You wear the cross
on your dress to protect you, but you have not always
worn it in your heart. You have not kept constant
vigilance for impurity … you have produced a
defilement”(pg.72). BACK
Uncle Axel
“What do you think it is that makes a man a man?”
I started on the Definition. He cut me off after five words.
“It’s not!” He said. “A wax figure could have all that, and he’d still
be a wax figure, wouldn’t he?”
“I suppose he would.”
Well, then, what makes a man a man is something inside him.”
“A soul?” I suggested.
“No,” he said, “souls are just counters for churches to collect, all
the same value, like nails. No, what makes a man man is mind;
it's not a thing, it’s a quality, and minds aren’t all the same value;
they’re better or worse, and the better they are, the more they
mean”(pg.80). BACK
“Still, our whole consideration if we were to survive must be to
keep our true selves hidden: to walk, talk, and live
indistinguishably from other people. We had a gift, a sense
which, Michael complained bitterly, should have been a
blessing, but was little better than a curse. The stupidest norm
was happier; he could feel that he belonged. We did not, and
because we did not, we had no positive – we were condemned
to negatives, to not revealing ourselves, to not speaking when
we would, to not using what we knew, to not being found out –
to a life of perpetual deception, concealment, and lying”(pg.86).
“Why should I wait? It might be for years, or for always. I’ve got
Alan and you want me to waste years waiting for someone who
may never come – or whom I may hate if he does. You want me
to give up Alan, and risk being cheated of everything. Well, I
don’t intend to. I didn’t ask to be the way we are; but I’ve as
much right to get what I can out of life as anyone else. It isn't
going to be easy: but do you think I’d find it easier going on like
this year after year? It can’t be easy for any of us, but it isn’t
going to make it any better of two of us have to give up all hope
of love and affection. Three of us can marry three of you. What
is going to happen to the other two then – they two who’ll be on
the outside? They won’t e in any group. Do you mean they
ought to be cheated out of everything?”(pg.92). BACK
“They’re afraid of us. They want to capture you and learn more
about us – that’s why there’s the large reward. It isn’t just a
question of the true image – though that’s the way they’re
making it appear. What they’ve seen is that we could be a real
danger to the,. Imagine if there were a lot more of us than there
are, able to think together and plan and co-ordinate without all
their machinery of words and messages: we could outwit them
all the time. They find that a very unpleasant thought; So we are
to be stamped out before there can be any more of us. They see
it as a matter of survival …”(pg.132). BACK
“Why?” she asked.
“Well,” I tried, “you see we’re different from them because they
can’t make thought-shapes and when people are different,
ordinary people are afraid of them – “
“Why should they be afraid of us? We aren’t hurting them,” she
broke in.
“I’m not sure that I know why,” I told her. “But they are. It’s a feelthing not a think-thing. And the more stupid they are, the more
like everyone else they think everyone ought to be. And once
they get afraid they become cruel and want to hurt people who
are different”(pg.144). BACK
The Fringe People
“It’s your parts where the old Devil’s hanging on and looking
after his own. Arrogant, they are. The true image, and all
that … Want to be like the Old People. Tribulation hasn’t
taught them a thing …
The Old People thought they were the tops, too. Had
ideals, they did; knew just how the world ought to be run.
All they had to do was get it fixed up comfortable, and keep
it that way … they weren’t God’s last word like they
thought: God doesn’t have any last word. If He did He’d be
dead. But He isn’t dead; and He changes and grows, like
everything else that’s alive. So when they were doing their
best to get everything fixed and tidy on some kind of eternal
lines they’d thought up for themselves, He sent along
Tribulation to bust it up and remind’em that life is
change”(pg.153). BACK
The Fringe People
“They’re pig-headedly determined to keep the Old People’s
standards – but do they? Can they? How do they know that their
crops and their fruit and their vegetables are just the same?
Aren’t there disputes? And doesn’t it nearly always turn out that
the breed with the higher yield is accepted in the end? … Sure,
they can wipe out the obvious deviations, but are you sure that
the Old People would recognise any of the present breeds at
all? … You can’t stop it, you see. You can be obstructive and
destructive, and you can slow it all up and distort it for your own
ends, but somehow it keeps on happening. Just look at these
horses”(pg.154). BACK
The Fringe People
“They stamp on any change: they close the way and
keep the type fixed because they’ve got the
arrogance to think themselves perfect. As they
reckon it, they, and only they, are in the true image;
very well, then it follows that if the image is true, they
themselves must be God; and, being God, they
reckon themselves entitled to decree, “thus far, and
no farther.” That is their great sin: they try to strangle
the life out of Life”(pg.154). BACK
“… we do know that we can make a better world than the Old People
did. They were only ingenious half-humans, little better than savages;
all living shut off from one another, with only clumsy words to link them.
Often they were shut off still more by different languages, and different
beliefs. Some of them could think individually, but they had to remain
individuals. Emotions they could sometimes share, but they could not
think collectively. When their emotions were primitive they could get
along all right, as the animals can; but the more complex they made
their world, the less capable they were of dealing with it. They had no
means of consensus. They learnt to co-operate constructively in small
units; but only destructively in large units. They aspired greedily, and
then refused to face the responsibilities they had created. They created
vast problems,and then buried their heads in the sands of idle faith.
There was, you see, no real communication, no understanding between
the,. They could, at their best, be near-sublime animals, not
more”(pg.156). BACK
“Your work is to survive. Neither his kind, nor his kind
of thinking will survive long. They are the crown of
creation, they are ambition fulfilled – they have
nowhere more to go. But life is change, that is how it
differs from the rocks, change is its very nature …
The living form defies evolution at its peril; if it does
not adapt, it will be broken. The idea of completed
man is the supreme vanity: the finished image is a
sacrilegious myth”(pg.182). BACK
“The essential quality of life is living; the
essential quality of living is change; change is
evolution: and we are part of it”(pg.196).
“… mankind – that was us, in civilized parts – was in the
process of climbing back into grace; we were following a
faint and difficult trail which led up to the peaks from
which we had fallen. From the true trail branched many
false trails that sometimes looked easier and more
attractive; all these really led to the edges of precipices,
beneath which lay the abyss of eternity. There was only
one true trail, and by following it we should, with God’s
help and in His own good time, regain all that has been
lost. But so faint was the trail, so set with traps and
deceits, that every step must be taken with caution, and
it was too dangerous for a man to rely on his own
judgment. Only the authorities, ecclesiastical and lay,
were in a position to judge whether the next step was a
rediscovery, and so, safe to take; or whether it deviated
from the true re-ascent, and so was sinful”(p.40). BACK

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