The Chrysalids Gender Analysis

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In the dystopian genre, the role women play in these stories vary greatly from strong heroines to submissive housewives. In the novel titled The Chrysalids by John Wyndham, the women are portrayed far more like the latter throughout the story. This is a constantly repeated theme displaying to the reader that in this society, the women are expected to always be supportive and in constant servitude of their husband; the women who stray away from these preset quotas of how they must act are ridiculed; and a woman’s main purpose that defines her worth is her ability to produce normal, healthy children.. In Waknuk,the women are expected to act as one dimensional stereotypes. The women of Waknuk are expected to always stay supportive and…show more content…
The author establishes this issue well in the cases of Sophie Wender, Rosalind Morton, and Aunt Harriet. These individuals are undoubtedly the most developed emotionally, as well as the most assertive and genuine representations of present day women, shown throughout the novel.. Nevertheless their way of acting is considered “sinful” because they stray from the gendered norms, this is exceedingly present in Aunt Harriet. She is desperate to keep her child even though the baby is considered a deviation. Her attempts at tricking the inspector falls short as her own sister and her husband deny her pursuit and disdain her. “…women get strange ideas at times…she is a dangerous and shameless woman” (73). This statement about Aunt Harriet by Joseph Strorm is a prime example of how women are expected to remain detached and dispassionate about their personal, emotional struggles and have no intervention about how she is placed in…show more content…
A constant theme in what makes some women more valuable and a higher asset in the Waknuk society is her ability to be a mother. From Mrs. Wender’s disbelief as to how well she is treated by her husband given the fact her child is a deviant, to Aunt Harriet’s uncalled for suicide, to Sophie’s sterility causing the man she so dearly loved, to lust after Rosalind purely for the fact she could produce an offspring for him. Sophie explains her dilemma to David in her statement “…I’d have given him babies gladly, if I could” (167). Aunt Harriet reveals her struggles as she pleads her sister to let her swap children for a night to fool the inspector into providing her a certificate of normalcy. Her reasoning behind wanting to keep the child at all costs is profoundly heartbreaking. “This is the third time. They’ll take my baby away again like they took the others. I can’t stand that-not again. Henry will turn me out…He’ll find another wife, who can give him proper children. There’ll be nothing-nothing in the world for me-nothing” (71). This forlorn desperate monologue given by Aunt Harriett is what truly cements the treatment of women when they do not meet the societal standard. This idea that a woman who cannot produce healthy children is less of a woman is not a belief shared exclusively by men. Mrs. Wender is appalled by the fact her husband has not thrown her out for
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