The Image of God and Deviation in The Chrysalids
In the community of Waknuk, the image of God is an important part of the formation of society. The novel The Chrysalids by John Wyndham is about a group defying the rule of society-image of God as believed by the Waknukian leader. If a person or an object does not fit the definition of God, they are faced with many problems such as death. The novel also discusses and represents issues like the loss of trust the people of Waknuk experience that a person that they know is a Deviant- a creation of the devil. In the novel the Chrysalids, Sophie, Aunt Harriet, as well as Anne all face different problems in relation to not fitting the definition of man.
Starting off, Sophie having six toes makes it very difficult for her to live in a society where being different makes it dangerous to even go outside. In the beginning of the novel when David meets Sophie she is scared to take off her shoe when her foot is stuck in between two rocks as she believes that David will report her to the officials. Soon after this incident at Sophie’s house, David agrees to keep Sophie’s secret. The secret is kept safe for many days until one day, Alan comes upon David and Sophie WHO are playing in the water. After, Sophie’s father finds out that Alan knows Sophie has six toes, he decides that they will move away from the community to keep Sophie safe, “[He’s] afraid its’s come, my dear. This is it” (Wyndham 45). This decision makes both Sophie as well as her mother grieve because they know they can not stay otherwise they would be killed but they also know Deviants are not accepted as a child of God. Sophie being the sweet girl that she is, she is not considered a child of God, her fate has been altered because when the people from the community of Waknuk sterilized her and sent her to the Fringes. In the Fringes we learn that Sophie is unable to bear a child. Consequently, because Sophie is different, she faces many problems which puts her in conflicts with society as well as herself.
Continuing on, Aunt Harriet, was betrayed by David’s mother – Emily did not help Aunt her nor her Deviant baby because of the strict image of God’s view that the community believes in. The trust that is broken between Aunt Harriet and the Strorm’s show the consequence of giving birth to a deviant. In the novel Aunt Harriet comes to David’s house after the birth of David’s sister-Petra. She asks her sister if she can borrow Petra for the inspection as her child has a blemish on her body. However, Joseph and Emily send Aunt Harriet away. Joseph continues to yell at Aunt Harriet and says, “Shame on you woman! Now go! Go home in humility, not defiance. Notify your child, according to law. Then do your penances that you may be cleansed. And pray. You have much to pray for” (72). Emily being the only that Aunt Harriet she really trusts turns her away because she has conceived a child not in the image of God. This quote shows how quickly people in the community of Waknuk lost trust because of anything that goes against the image of God. Further on in the story, we learn that Aunt Harriet as well as her baby are found dead near the river. Their deaths show disloyalty and dishonesty the community of Waknuk has towards the Deviants that are living amongst the “norm”. In effect of Aunt Harriet having so much trust for her family especially Emily, she was quickly betrayed because she gave birth to a Deviant child.
Lastly, Anne is affected by the norms of society which makes Anne then becomes in pursuit of a happy life. Anne always wanted to have a normal life, this led her to marry Alan her love. Anne even stopped communicating with the group in the pursuit to be normal. Continuing with the novel Alan is murdered by Uncle A because he is afraid to that Alan is going to report the group to the officials. As a result of Alan’s death, Anne commits suicide writing a letter stating, “It denounced [the entire thought shape group], including Rachel herself, and even Petra. It accused us collectively of planning Alan’s murder and one unspecified, of carrying it over” (102). This shows that Anne is unable to deal with the fact that she is considered a Deviant. The manner in which Anne chooses to deal with this fact shows she is arrogant. After falling in love with Alan she becomes obsessed with trying to fit into the normal society. This also leads her to move away very quickly. When Alan is murdered and she blames the group for the murder in the letter that she wrote showing that she betrayed he own “kind” to hide the fact that she was not normal in the Waknuk society.
In conclusion, money of the people living the society deal differently because of the rule of society proclaimed by many as the image of God. Each individual character faces internal conflict as well as conflict with the society. The major characters that stood out that have their lived changed after doing with fact they are not normal are Sophie, Aunt Harriet, and Anne. Sophie having six toes, she is sterilized and sent to the Fringes as a punishment for not being normal. Aunt Harriet was betrayed by her family for giving birth to a Deviant. And Anne betrayed the group she was part of just to fit into society they live in. In the community of Waknuk, the image of God is taken very seriously which then impacts many people living in this society.
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In the community of Waknuk, the image of God is an important part of the formation of society. The novel The Chrysalids by John Wyndham is about a group defying […]