Essay on Chrysalids

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When people are forced to hold certain beliefs which they do not agree with, they often end up becoming hypocrites. Such is the case in The Chrysalids by John Wyndham; the citizens of the book's setting, Waknuk, are forced to believe that any being which is not completely normal is a mutant, and should be removed from society. These stern beliefs force several citizens to become hypocrites.

Waknuk is a very strict community, and its inhabitants are compelled to maintain numerous rigid beliefs. They are taught, from a young age that all living creatures should look the same as their parents, and that all living things which diverge from their true form are deviations. To Waknukians, it is compulsory to, "know what Offences were. They were things which did not look right... and if it happened among people it was a Blasphemy...both kinds were commonly called Deviations." (Wyndham 19) The society of Waknuk forces its citizens to learn this lesson in schools and churches and by doing so they strive to ensure that everyone holds the same beliefs, with no exceptions. After these lessons are learned, the Waknukians try to constantly remind themselves of the dangers of deviations. They do this by placing reminders of their beliefs all around their homes, for instance a reminder, "on the left of the fireplace read: ONLY THE IMAGE OF GOD IS MAN. The one on the right: KEEP PURE THE STOCK OF THE LORD." (18) Reminders like this make it impossible to forget the values that the citizens of Waknuk are supposed to keep. Moreover, even the mention of deviations, in jest or otherwise is strongly discouraged in Waknuk. In fact, when one of the book's protagonists, David gets a splinter and has trouble bandaging the wound, he says, "I could have managed it all right by myself if I'd had another hand" (26), and for this casual mention of blasphemy, David gets severely punished and rebuked by his father. This is because the father, like most other Waknukians, is very strict with his...
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