There is an excessive amount of prejudice, intolerance, and ignorance all around society in today’s world, nevertheless, there are some individuals who are aware of this and are trying to change the amount of it around them in their own society. As one can see, in the novel the author deals with these subjects very well and it makes it enjoyable for the reader. In John Wyndham’s novel The Chrysalids, the author deals with themes of prejudice, intolerance, and ignorance; in many ways, the nature of Waknuk society parallels our own present society
In the Chrysalids, the people of Waknuk are prejudice against anyone who does not live up to their beliefs of a “true image.” They discriminate against anyone who looks or acts differently than they do. For example, there are signs all over David’s house saying things like “WATCH FOR THOU MUTANT,” and on the other hand Sophie has only one extra toe on each foot and she had to be sent away to the Fringes for being different.
Also, Aunt Harriott’s baby has the smallest little mark on her but she is still labeled as a deviation. Similarly, there is a lot of prejudice in present-day society. People still discriminate against other races and religions. It is unbelievable that this is still happening in society. Just because someone has a different skin tone than oneself, or speaks a different language, or has different religious beliefs does not give one the right to put that other person down or treat them with any less respect. Everyone is equal.
The people of Waknuk do not let people be who they are, which shows intolerance. They believe everyone has to be the same and look very similar.
If people are slightly different in any way they get sent away to this place called the “Fringes,” also known as the Badlands.
Intolerance does not really occur to such an extreme in present-day society. In the 1940s, this intolerance was present in Germany. If one were Jewish, or a Gypsy or not of “pure German descent,” one would be arrested and sent to concentration camps to one’s death by starvation, forced labor, torture, or poisoning. Jews were forced to wear stars of David or “J’s” to indicate their religious backgrounds.
In The Chrysalids, Waknuks society does not know anything about any of the other “groups,” who live in other parts of their lands, which shows ignorance. Waknuk’s society thinks that those groups are different from them and so they frown upon those differences. Ironically, the other groups speak of the people of Waknuk in exactly the same way. Those other “groups” from different places think that Waknuk’s society is strange and weird.
Waknuk’s society does not even make an attempt to gather more knowledge about those other groups. One could argue that we have a lot of ignorance in present-day society. Some people critically judge homeless people by their dress and behavior, without talking to them to find out why they live on the street. People judge them by their appearance and they just see them as lazy and worthless.
As in The Chrysalids, prejudice, ignorance, and intolerance are present in our own society. It is impossible to get away from it. One can avoid being prejudice, intolerant and ignorant but it is still going to occur all around oneself. The question he must ask is can they personally make a difference to the amount of prejudice, intolerance, and ignorance there is today by one’s behavior. People should just accept other people for who they are and not something someone wants them to be.