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Chrysalids Project

How do the attitudes of Waknuk relate to our attitudes of the past and present?
Henry Chadwick

Sometimes when I sit down and start thinking, I wonder what it would feel like to
be a god. I would be remembered for hundreds of years as a great guy, but
eventually my legend and image would be disfigured from miscommunication,
exaggeration, and by people just trying to use my image for their own personal
gain. More over when you think about it, after a few hundred years I would be
remembered as a completely different person from when I was alive. I could have
been a completely horrible person when alive, but it would be very probable that
eventually people would remember me as a great person. This is because the
general prejudice of gods is that they are great and mighty, and were always good
and generous people. This may not seem like much of a big deal, but when you
look at the bigger picture many examples of information has been used and
abused and changed throughout time. As a matter of fact, I feel like prejudice and
misinformation has planted it's ugly tainted roots into all parts of this modern
world, from politics to racism to sexism. The main ways misinformation spreads is
by fear, hatred, and lack of information. In the dim futuristic novel 'The
Chrysalids', John Wyndham provides a great drastic example of what
misinformation can really do if it is allowed to run rampant among a small isolated
society. In this paper I will address some problems with our world and try to open
your eyes to just how similar our past and present is to the small fictional town
Waknuk, the main setting in the Chrysalids' story.
Racism and prejudice is what creates chasms between colors, tears relationships
apart, and can completely shapes societies in the modern world. One of the main
reasons Donald Trump is winning in his election campaign is because he appeals
to all the hate and racism that is deeply rooted within society. He focuses his
speeches on shattering weakly mended relations between colors, and he
essentially focuses all of his effort on making himself and his propaganda seem
attractive to one specific demographic racist old white men. Prejudice can
literally shape what history becomes, and can do horrible things when things get
out of control. A drastic example of prejudice gone hang wire can be found
throughout The Chrysalids. Civilians of Waknuk would not allow humans that
differed from the definition of 'normal' to live in Waknuk, and they had the
conception that anything that was even slightly different from the definition of
'normal' was a sin of god and a disgrace to man kind. The Civilians of Waknuk
hated and despised any other variation of what they believed was normal, so
'abnormal' people were forced to flee from Waknuk or face the consequences of
dealing with the extremists of the town (such as David's father). I believe that this
type of prejudice and hatred could be found during the holocaust Hitler had a
vision of a population of elite humans with blonde hair and blue eyes, and he
would do literally anything to achieve what he wanted. Hitler appealed to the
Germans' hate for the Jewish population, because Germany was in a deep
recession and many German's were out of work. Soon after this hatred got out of
control just like in Waknuk, and gentrification ensued shortly after Hitler got in

power.
The most intense feeling of all is fear. Fear can make a strong grown man shrivel
up into a ball and cry, and it can stop entire demographics of society from
speaking up. One of the huge reasons why Waknuk was so strict and inclusive was
because fear ran rampant in the isolated town. People would be scared to flaunt
their special abilities and would be terrified to show other people their
'deviations', and how they physically differed from Waknuk's 'definition of man'. A
prime example of this would be the main character, David Strorm. Throughout
David's youth and teenage years, he had to constantly live in fear of having
someone catch on to the fact that he had a telepathic ability that barely anyone
else in the town had. More over he had to live in fear of his fathers shadow, due to
the fact that his father was Waknuk's preacher. Examples of fear can be found all
over the world. Fear is especially prevalent in places where free thinking is not
allowed, such as North Korea. North Korea is run by a dictatorship, and the
majority of the citizens are malnourished and horribly mistreated. Almost all of the
countries income is sunk into military resources, so starvation and death runs
rampant throughout the nation. It is actually against the law in North Korea to
take pictures that even suggest that a civilian is malnourished or sick, because
the government had tried their best to feed propaganda to the rest of the world
suggesting that North Korea is a very wealthy and militarily dominant nation. The
civilians are even too scared to even usually speak to reporters who sneak into
North Korea because they have lived in fear of the government for their entire life.
This can be tied back to how David felt with his ability, he learned to be terrified of
people catching on to his telepathic ability, and he lived in fear of his father and
the rest of Waknuk for the majority of his youth and later years. Fear can break
any body, and it lives among many people and groups in the modern world.
The last and most common form of misinformation is a caused from a lack of
information. Many people with a lack of knowledge on something decide to
elaborate on those pieces of information with false and misleading details for their
own personal gain. Eventually something that started out with good intentions in
mind can be completely flipped around into something used for hate and
prejudice. Throughout The Chrysalids 'Tribulation' is mentioned. Tribulation was
apparently when the gods decided to wreak havoc on the 'Old People' for sinning,
and the Waknukians believe that by living very strict and in the fear of god, they
can avoid another catastrophe. In reality it later develops that 'Tribulation' was
just a nuclear blast that wiped out the world, but the point is that the people of
Waknuk had developed a ridiculous story to try to provide an explanation as to
why the world looked so messed up. This occurred because the first few
Waknukians were lacking in enough information and technology to assess or
theorize a more realistic solution to what happened. Their entire religion was just
a result of people adding layers upon layers of lies to cover up something that
people had no explanation for. This can be seen in the modern world everywhere,
especially religion. Almost every religion was created to try to illustrate and
provide explanations to things that nobody had explanations for. Whether it's
Christians, Muslims, or ancient Nematic tribes, they always share one similarity

they provide explanations for how the world was created and what happens after
you die. Even to this day people devote their lives to these religions, because it
gives them a sense of wellbeing thinking that they are going to a great place after
they take their last breath in this world. Nobody can even argue with these beliefs
because even the latest scientific research doesn't boast a completely positive
theory on how the world was started. Even though many people devoted their
lives to these religions, many people throughout history took advantage of this
lack of information for either political or monetary gain, or sometimes even both. I
believe that this search for fulfillment and explanations to things was why the
Waknukians followed their beliefs so fiercely, and I believe this could happen to
any isolated society that has no explanations.
To wrap this up, no society is exempt from fear, hatred, and misinformation, and
the novel 'The Chrysalids' by John Wyndham is a scarily realistic example of what
an isolated society could end up like with these 3 things spreading around.