Archetypes In The Chrysalids

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There are two sides to every story—conventions and archetypes manifest depending on the angle dystopians and post-apocalyptics are viewed at. In John Wyndham’s The Chrysalids, a common held belief is that the novel is merely a post-apocalyptic dystopian novel much like most of the books that share the same genre around the time of the Cold War. At first glance, the story shares the narrative of an isolated post-nuclear civilization situated in Labrador and Newfoundland, Canada, where the mutated citizens of the region are sterilized and abolished by the religious government if found; the mutants thus endeavor on a journey to escape the injustice. However, upon taking a closer look through the archetypal lens, one can attest that there are archetypal…show more content…
First thing, David Strorm represents the archetypal character of a hero in the book. For example, Sophie’s mother, Mrs. Wender, complements David for helping her and her daughter, saying that “I know how fond you are of Sophie. You've looked after her like a hero, but now there's one more thing you can do to help her. Will you?” (Wyndham 34). Consequently, David is acknowledged as a hero by the Wenders because he gives them his promise not to expose Sophie’s secret mutation and he tries his best to cover up her deviation from any stranger to see—even though Sophie is, later on, exposed and her parents were forced to leave, David keeps on offering his support. Second thing, the archetypal character of Michael as a mentor is shown in the latter parts of the novel. For instance, Michael is on the lookout for David, Rosalind and Petra—despite not being with them—communicating with them through telepathy and informing them that “That’d be best. If you can find a place to hide-up there for a bit we’ll see if we can’t fake your deaths. Tomorrow I shall be with a search-party that’s going south-east. I’ll let you know what it’s doing. Meanwhile, if you run into anyone, make sure that you shoot first” (96). Thereby, Michael is definitely a mentor, and perhaps even a loyal retainer, for providing intelligence and ongoing advice as to how the team should go about travelling and hiding. In conclusion, archetypal literary criticism can be seen in the story of The Chrysalids on account of the archetypal characters of David and Michael—the mutant hero and mentor(or royal
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