The, By John Wyndham Essay

The, By John Wyndham Essay

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The novel, The Chrysalids by John Wyndham, foretells of a futuristic story which unfolds about injustice and oppression of the innocent. In a dystopian world a group of eight telepathic children struggle to grow up undiscovered and when the time comes, to escape. A religious creed is set up “The Definition of Man” as a ‘purity standard’. As a result, people lived with much fear and self-hatred. The standard set one neighbor against the other in fear of another ‘tribulation’. A world scale disaster had occurred many generations ago and out of the chaos the ancestors and consequent generations held to what they thought was the ‘true image’. Anything else was the ‘devils’ work. So people lived under surveillance and suspicion, bigotry, and oppression. The people of Waknuk felt superior to those not ‘the norm’ and thus believed they had the right to dominate and maintain their power. Therefore “The Definition of Man” is manipulative, unjust, and oppressive to those living in Waknuk and the Fringes.
First of all, the authority figures in Waknuk use religion to manipulate in order to oppress those not considered 'the norm '. The religious teachings and doctrine are used as propaganda to assimilate the people of Waknuk. “The Definition of Man” is the purity standard by which is a means to govern society. David is familiar with the religious teachings:
"THE NORM IS THE WILL OF GOD, and, REPRODUCTION IS THE ONLY HOLY PRODUCTION, and, THE DEVIL IS THE FATHER OF DEVIATION, and a number of others about offences and Blasphemies." (Wyndham 18)
David learns the religious teachings which serve as a method of control to maintain order. These teachings build community and trust among the citizens of Waknuk. However, the religious doctrine is...


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...raid of being overrun by these Deviations which they perceive as intolerable evil and the ‘Devil’s work’. As a result, strict conformity with the purity standard is set up.
“And any creature that shall seem to be human, but is not formed thus is not human. It is neither man, nor woman. It is a blasphemy against the true image of God, and hateful in the sight of God.” (chapter 1)
Knowing no better, they turned to their Purity laws to protect themselves, and the extent of their fears cause them to become obsessive about maintaining these laws to the extent of harming innocent children who are born with defects.
In conclusion, the Waknuk society uses “The Definition of Man” in an unjust manner in order to manipulate and oppress those not considered ‘the norm’. Wyndham uses this to comment on society false perception of thinking perfection is the only way of thinking.

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