What was the importance of Tribulation in The Chrysalids?

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The Tribulation was a catastrophic nuclear holocaust which destroyed the Old People and dramatically altered the environment of the world and its inhabitants. The citizens of Labrador are strictly religious and believe that the Tribulation was God's form of punishing the Old People for their transgressions. The zealous citizens of Waknuk, particularly Joseph Strorm, use the Tribulation to support their arguments for laws enforcing standards of Purity, which discriminate and punish any type of mutations or deviations from the norm. Since the Tribulation, a significant amount of the population is mutated, which the religious citizens regard as "Blasphemies" against the true Image of God. These "Blasphemies" are sent to the Fringes, which is a harsh environment, where everyone with a deviation is forced to live. Uncle Axel also explains to David that the Tribulation has caused some of the barren regions of the Badlands to glow at night, which is another clue that implies it was a nuclear...

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