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You asked more than one question and so I have had to edit it down to focus generally on the community of Waknuk. We are given our first impressions of Waknuk in Chapter 2 of the novel, which is very revealing and tells us a lot about the kind of setting that this novel has:
Our district, and consequently, our house as the first there, was called Waknuk because of a tradition that there had been a place of that name there, or thereabouts, long, long ago, in the time of the Old People. The tradition was, as usual, vague, but certainly there had been some buildings of some kind, for the remnants and foundations had remained until they were taken for new buildings. There was also the long bank, running away until it reached the hills and the huge scar that must have been made by the Old People when, in their superhuman fashion, they had cut away half a mountain in order to find something or other that interested them. The place may have been called Waknuk then; anyway, Waknuk it had become; an orderly, law-abiding, God-respecting community of some hundred scattered holdings, large and small.
Waknuk then is described as a small but deeply religious district. It is clear that the reference to the "Old People" with their power to cut mountains in half indicates that this novel is located in a future time, after the "Tribulation" when the Old People destroyed themselves and life as they know it. The reference to physical deformities in Chapter 1 also highlight that there must be a high incidence of "deviance" due to nuclear fallout, but the religion of these people has changed to incorporate this and to eradicate any form that does not match the "true image" of the human.
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