After reading The Chrysalids, readers must be alarmed and confused by the book’s own title for in the text itself, no where does it state the meaning of The Chrysalids.
A chrysalis refers to a pupa (larva) especially a moth or butterfly which is enclosed within a cocoon undergoing a protected stage of development. In this cocoon, the pupa is gradually transformed into the adult version; metamorphoses. “Chrysalids” would be the plural form. For example, a caterpillar undergoes metamorphoses, and is transformed into a butterfly. The creature in this stage of development is inactive.
The Chrysalids refers to Joseph Strorm and the other citizens of Waknuk who are continuously trying to purify their world and isolating themselves from mutations. They are not allowing nature to evolve and want time to stand still. They are trying to create a world of the past, and try to endlessly force this idea on humanity. They do not understand that life is change and that change is good. If they do not learn to accept the fact that the future is different from that of the present or past, they are doomed to live a life of misfortune and face the cruelties of death. If a creature is not able to adapt to the changing environment, they themselves will suffer and eventually die. “Evolution cannot be denied and the chrysalis cannot be stopped in its development to the next stage.”
This theme in The Chrysalids applies to the “real world” and the society that we live in now. Some are terrified of change, and they like being able to be familiar with their surroundings. But life is not as perfect as one could want it to be; there are twists and turns around every corner. Evolution is not controllable, nor is it always pleasant to some, but we have to accept the ways of mother nature and respect that what happened was meant to happen for a significant reason. Our lives cannot revolve around the past, and in our minds, we should think that life is full of changes and it is only natural to come across them.