The crysalids

In- Class Discussion HANDOUT

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In- Class Discussion HANDOUT

  1. What references give you more clues to identify the Old People?

  2. Comparing the civilization of Waknuk to those of our historic past, in what century would you place the technology of Waknuk? Explain your answer. (For some specific information, see p.24)

  3. What is John Wender's occupation? (See p.25)

  4. He greeted me more gravely. Mr. Wender is suspicious of David. Why? What incident would have reassured him about David. Why?

  5. What evidences does the author give that reveal Joseph Strorm is a man to be feared. Is he "crazy"? Explain your answer.

  6. It is during the "splinter incident" that the author first begins to satirize David's society in general, and his father in particular. Explain the literary term satire and also explain how the "splinter incident" is used for satire.

  1. In Chapter Four, a series of successive crises temporarily relieve David of his concern for Sophie. List these crises.

  2. Why does Uncle Axel warn David about his gift?

  3. David never asks his father about the Spider Man from the Fringes. Who do you guess he was? Does it explain in some way Mr. Strorm's efforts to rid the region of deviations?

  4. What does the incident about Angus Morton's great horses tell you about the people's general attitude towards deviations?

11. In what ways has the climate of Labrador changed since Tribulation? Why doesn't the author give you this information in a straight forward manner, and instead lets in come out, during David's talk with Sophie?

Gattaca Plot Summary1

Genre: Science – Fiction

Year: 1997

Directed by: Andrew Niccol [U.S]

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman and Jude Law

Duration: 106 minutes

In a world where genetically engineered babies are the new elite, babies born naturally are considered 'in-valid' and deemed second-class. Despite being one of the flawed group, Vincent Freeman (Hawke) dreams of going into space with the Gattaca Corps space-navigation programme. He knows his DNA samples will never make the grade so takes on the identity of another man - paralysed swimmer Jerome Morrow (Law). Freeman's passage into the upper echelons of society is smooth, until a murder throws a spanner into the works.

An underrated sci-fi thriller, which although hardly taxing, is intriguing nonetheless, and a welcome break from the standard fare of interstellar space opera, galactic warfare and bug-eyed monsters.

Gattaca Handout

Discuss the links between the movie and the novel:

  1. In the movie, is genetic engineering a good thing? How do you know?

  1. Are you supposed to think that it is a good thing? How do you know?

  1. How is this movie similar to the novel? How are they different?

  2. What are your views on technology? Support your answer with the evidence [real life/novels/movies].


American poet John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887) based the following poem on a fable, which was told in India many years ago.

The Blind Men and the Elephant

It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.

The First approached the Elephant,

And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
"God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!"

The Second, feeling of the tusk

Cried, "Ho! what have we here,

So very round and smooth and sharp?

To me `tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!"

The Third approached the animal,

And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up he spake:
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
Is very like a snake!"

The Fourth reached out an eager hand,

And felt about the knee:
"What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain," quoth he;
"'Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!"

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,

Said: "E'en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!"

The Sixth no sooner had begun

About the beast to grope,
Than, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope.
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
Is very like a rope!"

And so these men of Indostan

Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!

The story about six blind men touching the elephant is particularly true in regards to the newspaper articles or any other form of reporting on the events. Similar to this story, different people view things differently and have different opinions about the same issue [because of this, we often say that almost any information regardless of the source is BIASED]. Therefore, the information that they present about that same issue might differ tremendously. What is the truth?

Aunt Harriet’s Farewell Letter
Write a letter in which Aunt Harriet explains:
  1. why is she going to kill herself and her baby;
  2. how she feels about the people of Waknuk;
3. how did she feel when her sister did not want to help her.

The letter is worth 10 points. It will be marked according to:
Originality [3 points]

Clear Connection to the Novel [3 points]

Contents: all three questions outlined above must be answered

[3 points]

Grammar [1 point]

Telepathy HANDOUT

Telepathy is direct transference of thought from one person (sender or agent) to another (receiver or percipient) without using the usual sensory channels of communication, hence a form of extrasensory perception (ESP).

Telepathy is instinctual. Primitive species used it as a survival mechanism. It involves mind to mind contact - communication - of one mind with another by means beyond the normal or ordinary - beyond the frequencies of the five physical senses - sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell.

Telepathic abilities are about connecting frequency with that which you which to 'read'. It is like turning on a radio and finding the right station. You just have to know how to 'tune in'. For a few people this skill comes easy - but on the norm - telepathy is never developed though many people try. Different meditation techniques and learning to focus the mind are the key.

Of course the more you practice the better you get.

Once you open the door to telepathy - it should work like a light switch. You can turn it off - tune off - or turn it on by focusing your thoughts. Rarely does one find that they are bombarded by the thoughts of others all the time. It could drive one crazy.

Dreams bring telepathic messages. They are called precognitive dreams. If they are about the 'world' rather than our personal lives, they are called 'collective dreams'.

Lovers definitely are more in tuned telepathically as being in love at that level is a very high frequency. This is not just about sex - though it is an aspect of it. Sexual activity is often telepathic in that one is responding to the needs of their partner on a higher level of expression.

Telepathy between members of the same family - or close friends is common as they learn to adjust to each other's frequencies. There always seem to be one member of every family - usually a woman - who has psychic or telepathic abilities. Mother's sense when children are in trouble. When you are in panic mode - the adrenaline flows and the telepathy kicks in to those would tune in to help you.

People often sense the death of a family member. These make the most dramatic stories - heightened tension, nick-of-time rescues. However, keep in mind that telepathic situations may be happening all the time, but we lack the awareness to recognize them. In times of crisis we sent out our message and those who are in tune will pick it up.

Twins are often telepathic with each other creating these abilities when they are infants. They are generally in the same frequency at the same time and learn to communicate with words. Often it is just about a single thought - hunger. Telepathy between twins or family members can remain for a lifetime.

People who are comfortable with themselves and feel that they are worthwhile human beings are usually comfortable with their physical appearance and mental abilities. How do you built a positive self-concept? You can act in a positive or negative way when faced with situations in your life. When you feel good about yourself as a person, when you are proud of yourself and what you do, you have self-respect and you have positive or high self-esteem.

David is worried about the whole question of mutants. He, Rosalind and the others are different. Uncle Axel tries to put him at ease. What arguments does he use?

How does Uncle Axel try to build David's self-respect and self-esteem?


In the story, David and Rosalind communicate by telepathy. Check the story how that is done, then take Rosalind's position giving David advice after he has told her he wants to run away.

Remember the following:
* David and Rosalind communicate through images and ideas, NOT words.
* Do not make fun of David or be accusatory. Respect his point of view. Try to express sympathy.
* Remind David that he is not alone. Explain how things might turn out when he carries out his plan.
* Tell him that you have confidence in his ability to make a sound decision.
* Conclude with your advice to David, and offer strong evidence to back up what you are advising.


This assignment is worth 10 points. You will be marked according to:
* Grammar [1 point]

* Originality [3 points]

* Display of empathy [3 points]

* Clear Connection to the Novel [3 points]

Character Reference HANDOUT
The author uses a process called characterization to create memorable details about personalities in the novel.
This can be done as follows:

  • what the author states directly about the character

  • what the character says and does

  • what others say or think about the character

  • how authors act toward the character

Since the story in The Crysalids is told by David - not the author or an all-knowing narrator - you must rely on the on the last three methods to gain information about characters.
Each of the following charts lists some traits possessed by a character in the book. Find several specific pieces of evidence for each trait (from anywhere in the book as you read the text) to prove the character does have that characteristic.

Then decide which characterization method (or methods) in each piece of evidence is used to reveal that trait:

a. What the character says or thinks

b. What the character does

c. What others say or think about the character

d. How others act toward the character

Below you will find an example of a chart for David. Make a similar chart for each of the following characters in the book:
Joseph Strorm - Emily Strorm - Aunt Harriet - Uncle Axel - Spider Man - Rosalind Morton - Anne - Sophie Wender - The Sealand Lady - The Inspector






 How is trait revealed


questions the validity of The Definition of Man.











2. Joseph Strorm
a. narrow-minded
b. authoritarian
c. hardworking

3. Emily Strorm
a. narrow-minded
b. compasionate
c. pathetic

4. Aunt Harriet
a. compasionate
b. understading
c. pathetic

5. Uncle Axel
a. open-minded
b. compasionate
c. honest

6. Spider Man
a. proud
b. narrow-minded
c. pathetic

7. Rosalind
a. proud
b. loving
c. sensible

8. Sophie Wender
a. proud
b. loving
c. pathetic

9. The Sealand Lady
a. proud
b. understanding
c. sensible

10. The Inspector
a. understanding
b. shrewd
c. obedient

One Step Further
Choose a character from the preceding charts for an interview. First write that character's name, then write down three questions that are designed to gain information about that character's personality traits.

Finally, prepare answers for your character that seem consistent with his or her personality and speaking style. Write the character's initial before each response.

Chapter 11: THE GROUP IS IN TROUBLE Handout

1. The group is unquestionably in trouble now, and their detection is imminent. How does the author maintain suspense, considering that the reader knows that the group’s cover will be blown?

2. What little hint of a future development is given during the teaching of Petra by David?

3. In this chapter, the characters are further developed. Using one or two words, how would you describe the character of (a) Michael, (b) David, (c) Rosalind, (d) Uncle Axel?

4. The punishment of deviates is clearly revealed for the first time in this chapter. What is it? Why is it done? How do the people of the Fringes react to this?

5. In a short paragraph describe how David tries to teach Petra? Whatproblems does he encounter?

Character Connections Homework Handout2

The Crysalids has a large cast of characters and they relate to David's life in a number of ways. To distinguish all these characters and understand their relationship to David, a simple visual diagram can be helpful.


In each circle below, write the names of at least three characters that fit the label. Pick the names from the character box; some names will be used more than once. Then answer the questions that follow.


David Strorm
Joseph Strorm
Emily Strorm
Petra Strorm
Aunt Harriet
Mary Strorm
Uncle Axel
Elias Strorm
Spider Man

Sophie Wender
Old Jacob
Alan Ervin
Sealand Lady
Jerome Skinner
The Inspector

  1. Give an example of a character who serves as both foe and friend to David. Give examples to show the character's hostile and friendly actions.

2. Which characters seems to influence David the most? Why do you that might be so?

3. Which character seems to influence David the least? Why do you think this might be so?

4. Which character seems most admirable to you? Why?

5. Which character seems least admirable to you? Why?

6. Which two groups seem to overlap the most? Why?

7. Which group do you think influences David the most? Why?

8. Which group do you think influences David the least? Why?

9. Which group seems most admirable to you? Why?


This assignment is worth 10 points. Each answer to the question is worth 1 point [9 points]. The complete diagram is worth 1 point. Half-points will not be given to the answers that do not state the reason for your choice of answer!
The Chrysalids breaks down into a traditional five-part plot structure. These parts are as follows:

  • exposition - an introduction to the main characters, settings, and situations of the plot

  • rising action - the events and complications that lead to an important and dramatic point in the plot

  • climax - the point of greatest interest and emotional involvement in the plot

  • falling action - the events that develop from the climax and lead to the conclusion

  • resolution or denouement - the final outcome which ties up any loose ends left in the story

This structure can be depicted as a lopsided pyramid, with two base lines.



Below is a list of major episodes in The Chrysalids. Copy these episodes on a chart in the order in which they occur.

After you finish putting the events in proper order, turn the diagram sideways and draw the pyramid diagram (right over your answers in a different colour ink) to reflect where the five elements of the plot occur. Then label the parts of the pyramid.

Note: Your pyramid may look lopsided (one side longer than the other)

Major Episodes:

  • Petra, through her awesome telepathic powers, gets in touch with a distant civilization in New Zealand (Sealand).

  • David meets Sophie Wender and discovers that she is a physical deviant with six toes on each foot.

  • David sees his aunt driven to suicide because she has given birth to a deviant baby.

  • David, Rosalind, and Petra flee to the Fringes, where they are pursued by the people of Waknuk, including David's own father.

  • The birth of David's little sister, Petra, causes innumerable problems.

  • Under torture Katherine and then Sally admit that David, Rosalind, and Petra also have the ability of mind reading.

  • In the Fringes, David, Rosalind, and Petra are captured by the deviate inhabitants.

  • David, Petra, and Rosalind escape per helicopter to New Zealand.

  • David is concerned for his own personal safety when he realizes that he and his group of E.S.P. friends are also deviants

  • As a child, David has learned the strict morality of his society: "Watch Thou for the Mutant," "The Norm is the Will of God," and "The Devil is the Father of Deviation."

Pyramid of Action Chart

10. _______________________________________________________________


9. _______________________________________________________________


8. _______________________________________________________________


7. _______________________________________________________________


6. _______________________________________________________________


5. _______________________________________________________________


4. _______________________________________________________________


3. _______________________________________________________________


2. _______________________________________________________________


1. _______________________________________________________________




Which of these character traits apply to Joseph Strorm? To Uncle Axel? To both men? To neither men? Justify your choice with examples from the novel.



forms opinions

open minded

ruled by emotions










makes prompt decisions




questions things




accepts facts without question


tunnel vision

lateral thinker

relies on set opinions

What is the difference in the way these two characters make use of their minds?


equally important



on the contrary




on the other hand


in contrast

in the same way








Your essay will be marked according to the following:

a) thesis statment;

b) coherence: use of transition words;

c) content – the quality of arguments;

d) originality;

e) grammar/mechanics/spelling.

[The total number of points for this essay is 25. Thus, each of these assessment categories is worth 5 points.]

The Chrysalids - MOTIFS
One way of tying a story together is through the use of motifs.

Motifs are incidents, images or ideas that appear again and again in a novel. Like links in a chain, they serve to unite a story.
Some motifs in The Chrysalids are listed below. List four examples of these motifs from the book.

  1. Death

  2. Lack of personal freedom

  3. Cruelty

  4. Punishment

  5. Humiliation

  6. Weather conditions

  7. Kindness and compassion

  8. Jealousy

  9. Superstition

The Crysalids Board Game Assignment
In this activity, students will create a board game based on the events described in the novel. In order to do this activity properly, students will have to consider the life in WAKNUK, FRINGES, THE BADLANDS and SEALAND. This is a group-work type of assignment. Each group of students will be asked to identify the goals of their board game, select questions, create rules, and write directions on how to play the game. The worksheet outlining their board game plan must be submitted to me before they proceed to make an actual board game [so that I can assess their progress and given them additional suggestions if needed]. Then, students will present their board games to the class and play the games [the groups will exchange their games among themselves] as a class activity. Each group’s board game will be assessed by: a) me [the teacher] throughout the course needed for the completion of this activity; b) the peers from another group that played the game.
Assignment Objective:

  • To solidify and creatively represent the knowledge of the novel – characters, setting, themes.

  • To learn how to share knowledge effectively and work collaboratively within a group.


[Student Handout]
As a method of assessing your knowledge of THE CRYSALIDS you are to design a bard game representing the events relating to DAVID and other characters of your choosin from the novel. THE FORMAT OF THE GAME IS ENTIRELY UP TO YOU [STUDENTS], but the game must accurately cover the events and themes as we discussed them in class during this unit.
In groups of four, discuss how a board game might be able to convey information about the life of the characters in the novel. Use the following questions and to spark your discussion:

  1. What could a game board show about the community of WAKNUK and its neighbouring communities.

2. What kinds of tokens might be used to reflect information or ideas about the people/mutants living in these areas?

3. What would be an appropriate “reward” during the game—like the play money in Monopoly?

  1. Your game might include positive events that move a player forward, or negative events that set a player back. Think of a few examples of positive and negative events surrounding David’s life.

5. How could the game objective and rules tell something about the themes of the novel?

In addition to creating an actual board game, each group must design a proposal for their game – that must include: name and the design of the game, playing pieces [including any tokens, cards, dice or other devices accompanying it],and instructions and rules that explain how the game is to be played.

*** See Game Design Worksheet for planning guidelines ***
*** See Peer Evaluation Worksheet to get an idea about my expectations for this assignment’s final product ***


Game Design Worksheet

Use this sheet to plan and design all parts of your game.

GAME CREATORS: __________________________





[Remember: the board game should include as many important things

as possible about the novel]





[How play proceeds/ends + play-rules; WRITE THE INSTRUCTIONS ON A


PRODUCT – instructions are a crucial part of the board game]


Peer Evaluation Sheet

Play the game according to the directions,

then rate the game using the following criteria and the point scale!

Game Evaluators:

Marking Criteria: The board game will be evaluated according to its success in the following categories:
STYLE AND NEATNESS [0-5 points]:
4-5 = The game is aesthetically neat and appealing, features the variety of interesting tasks that need to be completed during the course of the game, items needed to play the game are creative.
2-3 = The game board is a little sloppy or some pieces needed to play it are missing, the tasks are somewhat interesting and varied.
O-1 = The game is boaring [the tasks are too repetitive], aesthetically unappealing and sloppy, shows no extra effort made in creativity.


4-5 = Includes detailed information and rules ready to duplicate for handing out to students [neatly typed and without grammatical errors].  Easily read and understood.

2-3 = Includes rules ready to duplicate, but somewhat unclear on details of the game or includes outline of how game should be played, but lacks specific rules and content. Some grammatical mistakes are present.

O-1 = The game includes poor information [both in content and grammar] and features little or no rules of game play.
11-15 = the tasks and questions associated with them relate directly to the events surrounding Waknuk and the adjoining areas.
6-10 = the tasks and questions partially relate to David and other inhabitants of Waknuk. Other areas are not incorporated.
0-5 = the tasks’ focus in unclear in its relation to the novel.
GROUP EFFORT [0-5 points]:
4-5 = All members contributed evenly to the group.

2-3 = Most members contributed to the group evenly, evident that some members contributed more than the others.

0-1 = One member did all of the work or the group was in major conflict and no work was done

Course Marks:

  1. Board Game = 30 points

  2. Comparison/Contrast Essay = 25 points

  3. Character Connection = 10 points

  4. Telepathy Advice = 10 points

  5. Aunt Harriet’s Imaginary Letter = 10 points

  6. Quizzes = 15 points [3 X 5 points]




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