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"The Chrysalids"

Thank you, Mr. Wagner, for your fascinating review of The Chrysalids: you've captured both exactly what I liked about it, and exactly what troubled me.

I think perhaps the key to understanding your issues with the book's ending can be nailed down by examining the exceedingly convenient death of Sophie. Sophie, remember, was the little girl with six toes that David met at the story's beginning. When he meets her again, she's living in the Fringes: she has a life there, a community, presumably friends, a lover. She expresses regret that she and he can't have children together.

Sophie is conveniently killed during the battle, by an arrow from one of the Waknuk people. I say "conveniently" because this means she's dead before the Sealand craft arrives. David can deal with the deaths inflicted by the Sealanders' weapon in an abstract fashion: Look at all these deaths. You've killed off all these nameless, faceless people. He's never forced to confront the Sealand woman, or her allies, with an individual death: You've killed my childhood friend Sophie. And, just as conveniently, Sophie seems to vanish from his memory: he never addresses the reality that had Sophie not been struck by that arrow, the Sealanders' weapon would have killed her just as surely as it did all the others.

Re: "The Chrysalids"

That is an intriguing point, and one I had not considered. Thanks for the input!