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The Chrysalids of Whydham: Prejudice, Superstition and Discrimination Shown by Different Literary Devices

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The author uses the influence of storytelling to communicate religious persecution as a key concern to their audience. Wyndham uses religious persecution as the main issue to show how it caused individuals to live in fear and its cruel punishments. John Wyndham wrote the Chrysalids during the 1950s. He displayed speculative fiction to the audience by analyzing world trends and problems to contemplate future problems.

John Wyndham served for his country during the war showing patriotism and loyalty for his country. He uses his experiences to communicate real-life problems through the Chrysalids. Wyndham shows us religious persecution through different themes. He uses Superstition and Conformity to show how the people in Waknuk were fearful and irrational and how they believed in one way of things. He also uses Prejudice, Judgement and Discrimination as a key concern to portray the consequences of religious persecution through the society of Waknuk. Wyndham shows real-life problems through his book which is used to strike fear in the audience. Wyndham uses concerns of superstition and conformity through the characters to reveal social warnings to society. People in Waknuk have grown up and been raised in a world where there can’t be any abnormality, diversity and individuality. “My father's faith was bred into his bones, his principles were his sinews, and both responded to a mind richly stored with examples from the Bible” In this quote Wyndham has used the repetition of “his” to make it clear that David didn't think like his father. Wyndham uses confidence as a tone in this quote to show how his father is loyal to God.

Everyone that was raised in Waknuk believes the same thing, applies to the same rules and looks down at anyone that is different in any way. “Only God produces perfection, so although deviations may look like us in many ways, they cannot be real humans. They are something quite different.” In this quote, Wyndham has used hyperbole to emphasize perfection. By doing this he shows how anything that isn’t classified as perfect was a deviation. How would you feel if you were classified as a deviation? People were raised blinded by real problems, everything was made concise so they couldn’t get a feel of problems in society. Being raised like this, people didn’t know any better. “Most of the numerous precepts, arguments, and examples in Ethics were condensed for us into this” this quote shows how they don’t believe in individuality and abnormality. This shows us how they act upon people and “things” they fear.

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The people of Waknuk act like they do because they fear people that are different and act upon that with being ashamed and treating them cruelly, they feel like anything that doesn’t live up to the standards are a disgrace. This is all a consequence of superstition and conformity. This is a result of the kind of world John Wyndham lived in. In the 1900s religion was a big thing in England. People were extremely religious and believed in one way of things. England was increasingly only one part of a vibrant and often competitive religious culture. The society was extremely superstitious and everyone was a conformist.

The society in which Wyndham grew up in had a big influence on his book. Waknuk serves under a series of laws and principles that discriminates against anything that isn’t normal in their eyes. Everyone in Waknuk judges and discriminates anything that isn’t the true image. The people in Waknuk are prejudice to anyone who doesn’t believe in the true image and the rightful image of God. There was similarly lots of prejudice during the 1900s when John Wyndham wrote the Chrysalid and his experiences with prejudice have influenced this. “This isn’t a cosy world for anyone – especially not for anyone that’s different”. Here Wyndham has used the repetition of “anyone”, this emphasizes that life isn’t perfect for anyone even if they seem like they are perfect. By the use of repetition, the author draws our attention to it to make it more memorable and clearer. Wyndham uses the story to reveal the consequences of pre-judgement and discrimination to us. He shows this through David and the things he goes through.

Wyndham uses David as the narrator and shows the world they lived in through his eyes by applying his own experiences and societies problems to the book. Wyndham uses Joseph Strorm to show discrimination and how all his decisions are influenced by religion no matter what it may be. “The devil struts his wide estate, and the law of God are mocked”. This clearly shows how religion influenced ones to point of view. In this quote, the author has used hyperbole to over exaggerate how the devil is among them. He has also used juxtaposition to compare the devil and god. Wyndham also uses the symbolism of the devil to represent fear and abnormality. Wyndham uses the power of storytelling to portray religious persecution and its effects to reveal real-world problems. To exhibit religious persecution he uses the themes superstition and discrimination. These problems were influenced by his experiences in the 1950s but are still issues now. Wyndham has effectively expressed issues in society and the world through the use of Waknuk in a convincing and powerful way to show the audience the effects of religious persecution in the real world.

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The Chrysalids of Whydham: Prejudice, Superstition and Discrimination Shown by Different Literary Devices. (2023, February 01). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 4, 2024, from
“The Chrysalids of Whydham: Prejudice, Superstition and Discrimination Shown by Different Literary Devices.” Edubirdie, 01 Feb. 2023,
The Chrysalids of Whydham: Prejudice, Superstition and Discrimination Shown by Different Literary Devices. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 4 Mar. 2024].
The Chrysalids of Whydham: Prejudice, Superstition and Discrimination Shown by Different Literary Devices [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Feb 01 [cited 2024 Mar 4]. Available from:
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