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How Love Survived Admist Suffering In John Wydham's The Chrysalids

1445 words - 6 pages

Amidst all the pain in John Wyndham’s The Chrysalids, there is love. This powerful human emotion has survived in the oppressing society of Waknuk. Wyndham portrays love among hardships to remind us that there is always hope for humanity, despite obstacles it may encounter. Through the Wenders’ sacrificial, unresentful devotion to their mutant daughter, through David’s discovery of reassurance and affection in his uncle amidst fear and uncertainty, and through the telepaths’ undying love for one another despite persecution, The Chrysalids shows us that while Tribulation erased many of society’s aspects, it was unable to extinguish the human quality called love.
Firstly, despite having to live a weary, careful life, John and Mary Wender never resent their deviant child, Sophie. Like everyone in Waknuk, they knew the consequences of harboring a mutant. They knew how careful and alert they would have to be to raise a deviant child. Considering the extreme measures that the Waknuk people underwent to keep their society ‘pure’, the Wenders must have gone to extraordinary lengths to protect their daughter. The novel states that Sophie and her parents lived apart from the rest of Waknuk. They would have had to do this to hide the child from suspicious eyes. Their remote location, however, was not enough to ease their worries, as they lived prepared for the day they would have to flee. Although they were constantly on anxious guard for any who might discover Sophie’s mutation, the stress was not enough to make the parents unaffectionate towards their daughter; both Mr. and Mrs. Wender displayed love for their child in ways modern parents would. Mrs. Wender’s genuine concern when Sophie sprained her ankle and Mr. Wender’s warm response to Sophie’s greeting show us that although the two parents protected their daughter because she was considered a mutant, they did not see her in that way; they were not disgusted by her mutation. After years of living on the edge, the Wenders had to flee when Alan found out about Sophie’s extra toes. They had no promise of a successful escape. Mr. and Mrs. Wender knew the consequences they would face if they were caught; they would be punished severely for concealing a mutant. That, however, was not what they feared most, seeing as Mary Wender stated: “‘If they take Sophie nothing could make things worse for me, Johnny’” (Wyndham, 48). Even in this pressing situation, John and Mary Wender’s love for their daughter put her well-being before their own. They were prepared to risk everything for the safety of the child they held so dear. Sadly, their attempts to protect Sophie failed. Although their daughter survived after the family was captured, Mr. and Mrs. Wender do not make any more appearances in the novel. Despite this defeat, their devotion to Sophie in a suspicious, inhumane society reminds us that the human bond between parent and child is one of the strongest qualities of our species. This couple, however, were not...

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