YMMV / The Chrysalids

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: The Sealanders. It is possible to interpret their worldview as sinister, depending on the views of the reader. Their arrogance is noted even by David; they call David's people primitive, kill them easily, and overall seem quite sure that their own kind is inherently better than any other.
  • Complete Monster: Joseph Strorm is the father of David Strorm. A fanatical fundamentalist who beats and whips David for an innocent childhood remark about needing a third hand. He also brutally whips ten-year-old David to get him to denounce his six-toed friend Sophie Wender; upon Sophie's capture, he proceeds to smugly gloat about it in front of his son. When it is discovered that David and his little sister Petra are telepaths, he personally leads a posse to capture and presumably kill them. A man who frankly unnerves even the Inspector, whose job is to deal with blasphemies, Joseph represents the worst of human intolerance, seeing purity as more important than even his own children.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Active, intelligent, cynical group leader Michael tends to stand out as one.
  • Iron Woobie: David is the sensitive, gentle son of a horrible father and an overly stoic mother. He has a secret that would probably ensure instant death if he ever told it to his father, his mother thinks he is a nuisance, he gets savagely beaten up while trying to protect the very few people that he loves... and then he has to deal with the consequences of his secret actually being exposed later into the novel. He still keeps fighting.
  • Moral Event Horizon: It's established early on that Joseph Strorm is a hard, unforgiving religious bigot, but he crosses this line when he brutally whips David to force him to betray Sophie's family. The inspector, arguably, crosses this with the implication that he takes part in the Cold-Blooded Torture of Sally and Katherine to get information on the other telepaths.
  • Never Live It Down: Joseph Strorm once slew a neighbor's tailless cat as a Deviation, without waiting for the outcome of an appeal to the authorites. Then comes confirmation that there is in fact a recognized species of tailless cat with a well-documented history. The inspector is fond of citing this embarrassing blot on Mr. Strorm's Knight Templar reputation.
  • The Woobie:
    • David's Aunt Harriet, who has already given birth to two deformed children and is in danger of being divorced by her husband, if she gives birth to a third. Then there's Rachel, one of the telepaths, who during the climactic pursuit keeps the others in on what's happening back on the home front. Little innocent Petra gets exasperated as Rachel's 'behind-thinks' become increasingly stressed: "She does cry an awful lot, that girl, doesn't she?"
    • Katherine and Sally, who undergo torture to the point of death in order to keep the others safe. It makes it all the more heartbreaking that they eventually crack.