Chrysilids Essay Example
Chrysilids Essay Example

Chrysilids Essay Example

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  • Pages: 2 (941 words)
  • Published: November 3, 2016
  • Type: Essay
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“Extremism reaches its utmost limit when a single group deprives all people of the right to safety and protection and instead sanctions their killing and confiscation of their lives and property” (www. factbites. com). Few people other than those in control would wish to live in a society dominated by extremists. It is under these conditions that individuals live with fear, violence, and intolerance. In John Wyndham’s novel “The Chrysalids”, he creates the society of Waknuk where extremist views and policies control the population. Wyndham clearly illustrates the dangers that extremism brings to Waknuk.

Living under these extreme social conditions has an obvious negative effect on the happiness of individuals living there. Violence and intolerance creates fear, and fear is a powerful tool when controlling individuals. People who live in fear are unable to create and prosper within the society as a whole. Waknuk is a society where difference is not tolerated. Those who do not fit the physical norm or who have some form of deviation, are systematically discriminated against. Joseph Strorm, the father of David, the novel’s hero and protagonist, is the face of extremism in Waknuk.

He is an authoritarian figure who firmly upholds the belief in Nicholson’s Repentance, above all else. It is Nicholson’s Repentance which describes the “true image” and outlines the way Waknuk residents should live. In the Strorm house there are signs that illustrate the families beliefs, “blessed is the norm” and “in purity our salvation” (Wyndham 18).


Joseph, who is considered a leader in the community, shows no mercy for any creature which shows mutation “seldom called in the inspector, he preferred to…liquidate anything doubtful. ” (Wyndham 19).

In addition, it is the duty of the Waknuk people to report anyone who is suspected of deviance “It is everybody’s duty to report any kind of offence” (Wyndham 5) those who fit the norm must carry a “Normalcy Certificate” (Wyndham 56) when they leave Waknuk. Not surprisingly, the effect of such extremist domination leads to a society filled with fear, suspicion, and there is no place for those who are different. David’s Aunt Harriet kills herself and her baby because the baby is not perfect. David’s mother called the baby “a monster” (Wyndham 70).

David’s friend Sophie has to be hidden away and is ultimately banished to the Fringes with her parents because she has six toes. Joseph Strorm’s own brother is forced to live in The Fringes because there is something wrong with his arms and legs. Waknuk is a place where anyone who is different is not tolerated – the deviant is forced into hiding or is banished. There is no kindness, empathy or tolerance. In Waknuk there is a major lack of progress within the society. New opinions or ideas are irrelevant and they would never dream of changing the living conditions of Waknuk.

When Rollen and David had a conversation with the Sea land Women she tells them that Waknuk is “The static, the enemy of change, is the enemy of life. ” (Wyndham 196). Waknuk refuses to move forward and is

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stuck in the same constant lifestyle. Everything and everyone must be the same and always reflect on what “god says”. Everyone’s beliefs were anti-intellectual and any thoughts of logic or imagination were eliminated. The society in the Chrysalids is very sheltered from the outside world; everyone still lives an agricultural lifestyle and living on old farms.

Cities did not exist although David dreamed of a place, when David asked Mary about these cities she said “there was no such place” (Wyndham 5). There was only one steam engine in a vast area, “there wasn’t another steam engine for miles. ” (Wyndham 24) this adds to the fact that Waknuk was isolated having no outside influences to bring new ideas and therefore stuck in their old ways,were unwilling to move forward. The Chrysalids by John Wyndham highlights how the fear that comes with the absence of an individual’s freedoms and rights to a great extent.

The citizens of Waknuk are extremely limited with their amount of freedoms and rights. During the Chrysalids Katherine is tortured for having her telepathic powers, this shows the violence that comes from intolerance and the lack of the freedom to be different and have special abilities. Any Mutants were sent to the Fringes and lead horrible lives. These people or animals were considered deviations and were unable to participate in the lifestyle the people experienced in Waknuk. The Muntants were isolated from the rest of society.

The unhappy Fringe people were commended through no act of their own to a life of squalor and misery – there could be no future for them. ” (Wyndham 195) He clearly shows the dangers of extremism through the intolerance for deviations, the lack of acceptance for those who are different from the rest. Extremism is also restrictive to the growth of a society and this is present when Waknuk shows no sign of moving forward, and no changes to their way of living. Living in a society where you have no personal rights or freedoms is not living.

It is existing for the sake of survival. When there were not many individual freedoms and rights, citizens of Waknuk were stripped of these and fear grips everyone. The Chrysalids is a very telling book that highlights the dangers of extremism and the importance of civil and personal freedoms. Paranoia and fear go hand in hand throughout the novel and consumes any chance for individuals to celebrate or utilize difference. Growing up in a country like Canada and comparing Waknuk to my society, makes me really appreciate what we have.