Fear guided David away from his dystopian lifestyle and towards a new and better life. After the nuclear apocalypse, as civilization reconstructed, religion became a major part of society, and so the definition of man was born. The definition of man cited what makes up a normal person before tribulation, and closes with “And any creature that shall seem to be human, but is not formed thus, is not human. ”(p. 13) Eventually the people built a land called The Fringes. Anybody who does not fall within the criteria of the definition of man would be deemed deviations and forced into this new land, a place inhabited solely by deviations.
Religion controls the entire population of Waknuk as they believe a new tribulation is coming, as it is said by Old Jacob “Give me the old days when a man was allowed to do his duty and keep his place clean. Heading right for another dose of Tribulation we are now. ”(p. 89) and so the citizens of Waknuk feel they need to follow what they consider Gods will to prevent this. David Strorm, the main character of this novel meets a girl named Sophie, whom he discovers is a deviation living in Waknuk. This is the turning point in David’s life as he begins to fear for Sophie’s safety, and begins to question the definition of man.
Eventually David discovers that he is telepathic and this makes him a deviation. David finds out that he is not the only telepath when he manages to make contact with several other people, including his half-cousin Rosalind and younger sister Petra. It becomes obvious the townspeople use this religion to console themselves over the nuclear apocalypse that happened hundreds of years ago. David attempts to continue living his life in Waknuk normally, letting only Uncle Axel become aware of his deviation other than his fellow telepaths, however David still fears being caught.
One night, David wakes up with one of his fellow telepaths alerting him that they are capturing the telepaths. David along with Rosalind and Petra quickly decide to leave Waknuk as they fear the worst if they stay. Their journey appeared to be aimless from the beginning; their goal was to get away from Waknuk. Since David was the son of Joseph Strorm, the religious community leader. They feared they would be searched for. The telepaths remained very vigilant throughout this journey. Petra was able to make contact with this woman from a far away land known as Sealand, where telepaths are very common.
The woman tells David that she is sending rescue to them however until then they must keep Petra alive at all costs. Soon after, another telepath by the name Michael informs them that the pursuit for the group is out in full force. The group now rightfully fears being caught and killed by the searchers from Waknuk. After engaging in battle with multiple foes including the searchers from Waknuk, coming very close to death multiple times, the woman from Sealand fulfills her promise as a flying vessel appears to rescue them.
The telepaths embark upon the vessel as it takes off to its destination, Sealand. As the vessel nears Sealand, Rosalind is heard saying “It’s beautiful, David. I never thought there could be anything so lovely…”(p. 200) This confirms that this is David and the other telepaths utopia. Once David see’s Sealand in the distance, he realizes that he finally found a time in his life where he had nothing to fear. Throughout all the events in The Chrysalids, David has had to make many difficult decisions, including the abandonment of his own family, particularly his father.
Fear pulled David towards the decision of abandonment, along with most of the other decisions he made. Regardless of all the other potential benefits a certain decision may have given him, fear was the pull factor that drew David towards the path he chose. No matter how difficult the decision, David chose the right one. If fear wasn’t prevalent in David’s mind, he would have stayed and likely would have lived a normal life in Waknuk. But fear drove David away from a religion based on fear and to a land of equality.
Fear led to David’s self discovery, which led to the self discovery of others. This domino effect was the shield during David’s journey. If one domino fell short, David would have surely been caught and killed on this journey to what would be his utopia, a place inhabited by telepaths like himself and without the segregation. Fear is one of the most dominant themes because of the power it had on everything that occurred. If David Strorm had no fear, he would have lived a perfectly normal life in Waknuk. However with his fear, he moved on to the new and better land of Sealand.