Fear often leads to negative judgment and negative treatment. In the current society, discrimination is rooted from fear. John Wyndham’s book, The Chrysalids portrays the idea that discrimination is the effect of fear. Throughout the society of Waknuk, fear and ignorance cause a further advancement to harsh discrimination toward the supposed mutants or anything out of the Norm.
To begin with, Waknuk lives through distress of the Devil and God. Though the members of the society all strongly worship God, they all fear the idea of punishment due to the incorrect practices of the Bible and the perceived religion.Emily, David’s mother, is asked by her sister, Aunt Harriet, if she is kind enough to lend David’s newborn sister to her in order to pass a certain inspection. Harriet’s previous three births are all deviations. Furiously, Emily states, “I do not understand how you dared to come here, to a God fearing house, with such a suggestion,” (72) They fear God enough to not dare go against Him, even for their close family members. They are so loyal to God and His perceived religion that the members of Waknuk are willing to go against their own family.
In addition, David has a minor accident involving a cut to his hand and he unintentionally states “I could have managed it all right by myself if I’d had another hand” (26). This leads to his father’s furious expression accompanied by “You-my own son-were calling upon the Devil to give you another hand! ” (26) David’s father, like any member of the society, strongly disapproves of the devil. They are strongly afraid of God’s reaction. The society follows many morals. One is “THE DEVIL IS THE FATHER OF DEVIATION. (18) Waknuk attempts to rid itself from all mutants due to fear. They believe that the devil is linked to deviations therefore fear it as well. The community members in Waknuk all fear God and the Devil so they dare not go against the beliefs in any way whatsoever.
Furthermore, the consequences for going against the beliefs of Waknuk are serious. There is cruel punishment to one who disobeys the teachings, which the community practices. Above all, one will also be punished if they are discovered to be mutants, not the “True Image” themselves.
As David comes across a conversation with an elder of the community, he learns that “there was a lot less trouble with mutants on account of it, and when there were any, they were burnt, like other deviations”. (88) This difference from being Norm causes the extermination of the mutant. The deviations are so horrific that they simply were not even allowed to live.
The mutation was never understood. In contrast, it is said that all deviations must be reported immediately, however, David fails to follow this.He soon learns that “concealment of a Blasphemy-not reporting a human deviation- is a very, very serious thing. People go to prison for it. ” (51) Due to his failure to obey the law, he is severely beaten by his father.
David’s own father harms him because he does not identify the deviation immediately. Hence, the society has the will to possibly do anything to purify Waknuk of all mutants. To exterminate any blasphemies, the Strorm family “would sing a hymn while [David’s] father ceremonially slaughtered the two-headed calf, four-legged chicken, or whatever other kind of Offence it happened to be. (19) Similarly, when “a whole field had gone wrong we [Waknuk] would wait for good weather, and then set fire to it, singing hymns while it burnt. ” (19) When a deviation occurs, they act with all might to destroy it. Instead of just simply consuming the produce or disposing it, they fear disobeying their perceptions of God so the deviation is burnt, again.
The head of the community, Joseph Strorm, is examining a new type of larger horse specie and “the moment he set eyes on the huge creatures standing twenty-six hands at the shoulder, he knew they were wrong” (36) Just as he sees the horse, he is disapproving of them.One may only begin to think how he would treat the horses afterwards. Out of fear, the people who do not follow the belief are harshly discriminated against.
Therefore, in the society of Waknuk, various fears cause a further advancement to harsh discrimination toward anything out of the Norm. The people are afraid of both God and the Devil, which leads them to treat anything that goes against their beliefs very harshly. This results in bad relationships amongst the community, which begins to cause a collapse.