The Chrysalids Questions and Answers
by John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beyn Harris

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What are the expectations of the Waknuk people and their society in John Wyndham's The Chrysalids?

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Simply put, the Waknuk society expects everybody to work toward minimizing genetic variation. Chapter two gives good evidence for that when it tells the reader about some of the decorations hanging up in the Strom household. The family has signs hanging up around the house in much the same way some families like to hang nicely framed pictures with Bible verses. Some of the sayings in the Strom household are as follows:

  • KEEP PURE THE STOCK OF THE LORD
  • BLESSED IS THE NORM
  • IN PURITY OUR SALVATION
  • WATCH THOU FOR THE MUTANT
  • THE DEVIL IS THE FATHER OF DEVIATION

Why the Waknuk society is so averse to genetic change is beyond me. They obviously didn't pay attention in biology class. The advantage to sexual reproduction is genetic variation. That's why inbreeding usually doesn't work out so well: not enough genetic diversity.

The expectation of the Waknuk society is that people will work toward reducing the "deviant" population. The people are conditioned to watch for deviant genetic traits and report them. That way the deviant can either be killed or banished.

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