Personal Desires in the Chrysalids
The Waknuk community present in the Chrysalids is a very religious society where their believes hold utmost importance and where everything and everyone must follow the “Images of the Old People” or those defined by them. Babies are punished for being deviants even though they are innocent, as was the case with Aunt Harriet’s child. Anna, a member of the Group was considered a deviant. The only wish she had was to lead a normal life like women her age and settle down to start a family. However, the society being ruthless as they are denied her the chance to do so.
Sophie, a child David’s age has to live in constant fear shadowing her life because of the fact that she has six toes on each foot and is classified as a deviant. In my opinion, the Waknuk society is such a place where an individual’s desires and needs hold no flame in front of their believes and unless the Government benefits from them, there is no point of them being fulfilled. All desires and needs have to be deemed acceptable by the society, if not it is considered unacceptable even if it is breaking the strong relationship between a mother and a child just to follow their believes.
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Aunt Harriet wanted to save her baby by “borrow(ing)” Emily’s baby in order to obtain a certificate for her child. However, she was kicked out of her sister’s house by her own sister and was forced to give up the child because it did not follow “The Definition of Man”. In the Waknuk Society, everyone must follow the “Definition of Man” if anyone has so much as to even a little deformity or a habit out of the ordinary; it can call upon unwanted attention from the society and is looked down upon, for instance David’s “left-handedness caused slight disapproval”.
The seriousness and extent to which people of Waknuk believe the “Image of True People” is shocking as not even blood relationships can move them. They force a mother to give up her child just because the baby does not fit the “Definition of Man”. A small, tiny innocent baby is considered a deviant only because it does not fulfil the “Definition of Man”, even when the baby is completely helpless, being born that way by default, not by choice. In Waknuk’s society, all needs and desires have to be acceptable in the standards of the society if not it is not approved.
Needs and desires of an individual, more specifically a deviant are not acknowledged even if the person thirsts for what every other normal person wants in life. Anna wanted to lead a normal life and to “marry and have kids” just like any other woman. She “did not ask to be the way” she was and wanted to live life like “anyone else”. It will not “be easy for any of” them because of who they are. Anna was desperate to lead a normal life like any other women her age but was unable to do so because of her special telepathic ability, classifying her as a deviant.
Even though her desires were very minimal and easy to fulfil without any effort, the society did not allow her to fulfil them because she was considered a deviant and a blasphemy, one that cannot reproduce so as to not “pollute” the society further. Simple wishes and desires of deviants are not fulfilled as they are considered inhuman and not worthy of living a normal life, even when they did not wish to be the way they are. In the society, deviants are not allowed to fulfil their desires and needs because they are considered inhuman even when the wish is very minimal and something which is taken granted for other normal women.
Needs and desires of an individual are not fulfilled even when a person is completely innocent and is still a child, never choosing the way he/she is. Sophie Wender, although a child, is considered a deviant, causing her to lead her childhood with a constant fear of being caught. She was insistent on not removing her shoe even when her leg got caught and only when she made David look away and “turn (his) back” did she remove her shoe and made him “promise” her to never “ever tell”.
She endured the pain and crawled the way home only giving up when “her trousers were worn through at the knees, and the knees themselves were sore and bleeding”. Although Sophie was a child, she spent her childhood in constant fear of being found and banished from the society just because she had a sixth toe on each of her foot, a small little one at that. An innocent child had her childhood snatched away from her due to the constant fear of being caught, affecting her entire life, restricting her from enjoying the freedom and life that a child her age should have.
The community treats all deviants the same and even children who only want to have a normal life are not spared. An individual’s desires and needs are taken into consideration only if it is beneficial to the society and the Government. The Great Horses were “huge creatures” which looked “wrong” but were approved by the Government because they were “a good profit”. Even though the Great Horses were technically considered offenses, they were approved by the Government because it could bring about large amounts of profit to them and would help them generate greater revenue, resulting in them having more money.
Although the great horses were offenses, they were certified because they were beneficial to the Government. The Government is selfish and would accept blasphemies as long as they were an advantage to the Government and helped them in one way or the other. Needs and desires of an individual was accepted as long as they were beneficial to the society and helped them in one way or the other, in the case of the Great Horses, they brought a great profit.
In Waknuk’s society, individuals have no place to have desires and needs as they are considered unimportant and only those which benefit the Government are accepted. The Waknuk society shows us how even in our society, there are many cases of discrimination between people, be it due to race, religion or even gender. I feel that we should not stereotype people to have to follow a certain set of rules as each individual has his/her opinions, his/her thoughts and is his or her own person. We are all born with different qualities and have our own positive and negative traits.
It is not right for us to judge someone based on one or two of the characters you dislike about a person. If each individual is given the freedom of though and speech, who are we to force them into a certain mindset and discriminate between them. ? If we are all born as humans belonging to one race, who gave us the rights to force rifts between each other, to separate the ‘superior’ and the ‘inferior’? Who are we to judge people when we are one ourselves? How do we ourselves know what is right and what is wrong?