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The Chrysalids Essay, Research Paper

ESSAYBy Edward Keys

The novel, The Chrysalids, is a book based on the despair of our society in the past, present, and future.

Throughout the story, we are discouraged by the way in which man treats his own kind. Before the story begins, their society originated from a nuclear war in which most of the world’s population was destroyed. The people now refer this to “Tribulation”. This effectively summarizes man’s eternal fight with himself. Man does not know where to stop, even if it means almost destroying the earth. Much of this has to do with differences. And many of these differences are just physical or even spiritual. Any difference than what you are use to, often brings out a destructive side of humans. We often only want to accept “normal” people into our own society. The Chrysalids is a story that has much to do with this despicable, but commonly seen nature of humans.

“And god created man in his own image. And God decreed that man should have one body, one head, two arms and two legs; that each arm be jointed in two places and end in one hand; that each hand should have four fingers and one thumb; that each finger should bear a flat finger-nail?” and so on went the affirmation that all heard every Sunday at church. Any difference from this was an abomination and a blasphemy before God who had fashioned man in his own image and must be dealt with immediately before the evil could spread. David, the main character, soon learned to what extent his society would go in these cases. In most cases, these blasphemes would be sterilized and sent into the fringes, a desolate place where nothing seemed normal. This showed just how much mankind could not handle any difference in appearance. David’s best friend Sophie had just one extra toe. David could not see the harm in one extra toe, and that lead him to doubt his societies laws and beliefs. When Sophie gets sent into the fringes, near the beginning of the novel, the reader starts to question the justification that Waknuk has to do this. This leads the reader to compare the book with our society.

Throughout the ages man has been at war with himself. As technology advanced, people abused its powers, and disregarded its consequences. Here in The Chrsysalids, humans went too far, and destroyed much of the earth. This all comes about from people hating any difference from themselves. Even after the Tribulation occurred, people soon forgot what happened, and they started the abusive behavior anew. The Waknukians did not learn. They did not accept anything different from each other, and banished any difference.

If the people of Waknuk had learned from humanity’s mistakes after the nuclear war, they might have had a chance of survival. But their arrogance had blinded them. They believe that they are superior to all others, and this arrogance will keep building, on and on, until one day something terrible will happen, like a nuclear war.

People need to learn from past mistakes in order to survive in the future. The people from Waknuk did not, but the telepathic society, across the barren uninhabitable landscape, might have a chance at succeeding. They need to continue on considering future possibilities, and always thinking ahead to the long run.

This really proves the destructive tendencies of mankind. It also shows that the future look of this book, is one of despair. If we do not learn from our mistakes, we will go on and on and eventually destroy our selves, and the Earth.


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