Chrysalids: Bias towards Appearance and Behavior in Humans

Categories: The Chrysalids

he ChrysalidsHumans have bias opinions towards distinct behavior or appearance within their society. This is commonly shown in The Chrysalids by John Wyndham first published in 1955. John Wyndham demonstrates how humans are willing to discriminates the slightest different between one another. Waknukians used terms such as deviation, deviance and offence to describe any person, animal, or plant that does not apply to their idea of purity. Moreover those terms are closely associated to devils and blasphemies. This idea of deviations or deviance in The Chrysalids suggests discrimination.

The author uses the idea of deviations and deviance to illustrate discrimination and intolerance within Waknuk. The society of Waknuk is forced to follow the laws from their religion and The Definition of Man, due to the ruthless punishment that they will receive if they do not obey. Waknukians emphasize this idea and concept to their younger generation every week; as David complains about how he is forced to listen to The Definition of Man every Sunday, and perceive no connection between it and the affirmation which I had to hear almost Sunday of my life (10).

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When David finds out about Sophie's sixth toe, he soon remembers what The Definition of Man is, stating: And God created man in his own image. And God decreed that man should have one body, one head, two arms, and two legs: the each arm should be jointed in two places and end in one hand: that each hand should have four fingers and one thumb: each finger should bear a flat finger-nail' And so on until: Then God created woman, also, and in the same image, but with these differences, according to her nature: her voice should be of higher pitch than man's: she should grow no beard: she should have two breasts(10-11)He notices Sophie does not apply to the definitionThis reveals what is accepted and classified as The Norm in David's society.

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Moreover, this idea of Normal has blinded the people in Waknuk so heavily that they cannot identify what is right and wrong, devotion and discrimination. Later on in the novel when Uncle Axel tells the reader that the true image is unclear and has not yet been proven. Uncle Axel goes on talking about the doubts of the true image that his voyage had given to him saying:I'm telling you' he went on that a lot of people saying that a thing is so, doesn't prove it is so. I'm telling you that nobody, nobody really knows what is the true image. They all think they know just as we think we know, but, for all we can prove, the Old People themselves may not have seen the true image.' He turned, and looked long steadily at me again.( 64).Uncle Axel, being the more experienced and wise character in the novel. He explains that there are many other similar societies that also have faith in God and the true image, but nevertheless none of those definitions are told to be the one. Uncle Axel's open minded perspective of religion amazes David and for the first time, he is told that deviations may consider Normal. On the other hand, Joseph Strorm is the character in Waknuk that has the greatest hate toward Blasphemies. Joseph Strorm is puritanical in his religion and his entire life is based on his religion. He is a ruthless and cruel person to anyone that is a deviation or associates with deviations. Reader knows this when Aunt Harriet visits the Mrs. Strorms with her deviant child He uses the name of God to discriminate and punish Blasphemies. Discrimination is because by people who think they are ordinary and discriminate who they think are not, which in Waknuk; deviations are treated with disrespect and discriminated against. Difference between people will lead to discrimination since one think they are superior to the others.The society David lives in discriminates, tortures and treats deviations with dreadful trials using the name of Purity and justice. In the end, David as the narrator gives his final thought: A series of memories cut off what my eyes were seeing”my Aunt Harriet's face in the water, her hair gently waving in the current; poor Anne, a limp figure hanging from a beam; Sally, wringing her hands in anguish for Katherine, and in terror for herself; Sophie, degraded to a savage, sliding in the dust, with an arrow in her neck Any of those might have been a picture of Petra's future.'David recounts all memories with all the woman he cared about in his life, which all of them were either killed or hurt by the name of justice, and wanting to at least to protect his sister, Petra. Moreover, this quote explains what it truly means to be a deviation, looked down to, savages, monsters, degraded, sinned creatures, and forced to fight for their life when intellectually Deviations and the Norm are the same.All in all, The Chrysalids greatly illustrates the discrimination that is happening in our society. Mankind cannot be born genetically superior to others, and should not have bias opinions and discriminates against who isoutstanding and have dissimilarity.

Updated: May 03, 2023
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Chrysalids: Bias towards Appearance and Behavior in Humans. (2019, Aug 20). Retrieved from

Chrysalids: Bias towards Appearance and Behavior in Humans essay
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