Imagine living in a place where there seems to be a sense of hate in the eyes of everyone, and that is Waknuk. Waknuk is a place where anything out of the “norm” is wrong and sinful and could even end in a consequence as serious as death. “The Chrysalids” written by John Wyndham carries a message that can very accurately be used in today’s society. Many of the characters’ and attitudes of Waknuk’s society are very similar to ours today and portray the same problems and deficiencies. John Wyndham had used his story, the Chrysalids to criticize the cruelty of our society today.
In “The Chrysalids” a nuclear war created a world full of mutant creatures as well as vegetation because of the radiation. The population of Waknuk struggles to keep purity from all mutants and in doing so, they must burn vegetation, kill mutated creatures and kick out deviational humans to the outskirts or Badlands called “The Fringes”. They do this because they want to keep the human race pure and believe they are the true image of God and that everything different is from the devil and should be destroyed.
This attitude is very similar to our people today. Many of us believe that we are the true image and discriminate what we feel isn’t the norm. People everywhere are being mocked and made fun of because they don’t look like what we have defined as the norm. Today, Radio, television and other media are just like the political leaders such as Joseph Storm and inspectors in “The Chrysalids”; they give others the definition of “normal” and show people how to think and how to dress not knowing weather that is actually how people should think or look.
The world acts upon what they are told even though the people that are telling them what to do are not always right. Also, in the Chrysalids, the Waknuk society was scared of mutants; scared of being overcome or loosing their valuable image of God. Today’s society is very much like this. This is mostly the cause of racism though many places today already had accepted multiculturalism. Races discriminate others for the fact that they have a different skin color or a slight physical difference.
This causes grief because every race is scared to be beaten or taken over by others. They want to stay pure and only promote their own while others are just as good as them and can bring great help if they can work together. In our history of mankind, some groups have always reacted negatively towards groups that are supposedly different. John Wyndham had applied the recent history events happened during his time into the book, Joseph Strorm’s killings of the deviations and mutants was refereeing to the six million Jews killed by Adolf Hitler during World War II.
At the end of the book, Wyndham shows how the Sealand people think together and ignore their physical differences. He shows how well their world works and how superior it makes them from the people of Waknuk. If today’s society would loose all prejudice to other people’s differences, it would probably prosper just as the Sealand people did. Although like the Sealand woman said in her statement, nothing lasts forever, but if we do not work peacefully with each other, our society within a short period of time will die.
Throughout the book many events that occur are not necessarily important to the development of the story but are as to bringing the reader to realize how indifferent today’s society is from the one in “The Chrysalids”. In the story, John Wyndham aims at a general impression, rather than writing about each individual character precisely. The story was planned perfectly and John Wyndham exposed his message to the readers with great success.