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Hypocrisy in the Chrysalids

macawtopia 2 / 5  
Apr 6, 2009   #1
Note* it is supposed to be in the form of a standard essay; an intro, two body paragraphs which consist of three proofs, and a conclusion. Any feedback is welcome, as this is my first essay. I need to hand it in on Wednesday, so please reply ASAP!

When people are forced to hold certain beliefs which they do not agree with, they often end up becoming hypocrites. Such is the case in The Chrysalids by John Wyndham; the citizens of the book's setting, Waknuk, are forced to believe that any being which is not completely normal is a mutant, and should be removed from society. These stern beliefs force several citizens to become hypocrites.

Waknuk is a very strict community, and its inhabitants are compelled to maintain numerous rigid beliefs. They are taught, from a young age that all living creatures should look the same as their parents, and that all living things which diverge from their true form are deviations. To Waknukians, it is compulsory to, "know what Offences were. They were things which did not look right... and if it happened among people it was a Blasphemy...both kinds were commonly called Deviations." (Wyndham 19) The society of Waknuk forces its citizens to learn this lesson in schools and churches and by doing so they strive to ensure that everyone holds the same beliefs, with no exceptions. After these lessons are learned, the Waknukians try to constantly remind themselves of the dangers of deviations. They do this by placing reminders of their beliefs all around their homes, for instance a reminder, "on the left of the fireplace read: ONLY THE IMAGE OF GOD IS MAN. The one on the right: KEEP PURE THE STOCK OF THE LORD." (18) Reminders like this make it impossible to forget the values that the citizens of Waknuk are supposed to keep. Moreover, even the mention of deviations, in jest or otherwise is strongly discouraged in Waknuk. In fact, when one of the book's protagonists, David gets a splinter and has trouble bandaging the wound, he says, "I could have managed it all right by myself if I'd had another hand" (26), and for this casual mention of blasphemy, David gets severely punished and rebuked by his father. This is because the father, like most other Waknukians, is very strict with his beliefs. In short, the people of Waknuk are too rigid in their beliefs, and they force all members of their society to maintain the same opinions.

The pressure put on Waknukians to maintain the norm and remove deviants is too much to surmount, and this forces countless citizens of the area to become hypocrites, who distrust and lie to each other. However, the biggest hypocrite of all is the government itself; the government of Waknuk tends to bend the rules of deviations when it suits them. Such is the case when Angus Morton says that his abnormally large horses are, "Government approved" (36). Although the horses are twenty-six hands tall and obvious deviations, the government approves them because they are strong and profitable. Another way hypocrisy is shown in the municipality of Waknuk is that David's father, the man who preaches being honest about deviations and reporting them quickly, tries to hide a possible deviation. When Petra is first born, the entire Strorm family waits for the inspector to come and prove the baby to be a true image of God. Because no one mentions the baby, David becomes aware that "should it unhappily turn out to violate the image ...the whole regrettable incident would be deemed to not have occurred." (66) David's father enjoys pointing out the deviations of others, however, if he had a deviant child, he would not want anyone to find out about it, and that is true hypocrisy. Similarly, David's mother, Emily, turns out to be a hypocrite as well. When her sister, Harriet, comes to see her, and shows Emily her daughter, Emily calls the child beautiful, and fawns over her. Later, when she discovers that the child has a small flaw, she shouts to Harriet, saying, "You have the effrontery to bring your monster into my house!" (70) As soon as Emily sees that the child is a deviant, she forgets her earlier comments on it, and calls it a monster. Her beliefs make her into a hypocrite. To summarize, many Waknukians are two-faced, and this causes them to have a very insecure and suspicious community.

The reason for all of the hypocrisy, and doubt hidden in the hearts of the Waknukians, is the stern values which are forced upon them. The people of Waknuk are forced to believe that all creatures who do not look normal should be taken out of society, and although they all preach this, they do not all follow it. Hypocrisy is common not only in this story, but everywhere for everyone in our society wants to be virtuous, and at the same time, no one does.
Rosamond 3 / 26  
Apr 7, 2009   #2
Wlcome to the board Macawtopia,

May I remark something? I think the way you arrange your essay truly counts. You see, you have two obses body paragraphs and a bony beginning ( the ending is quite healthy!). Why don't you try to use less lenghty sentences, even if it would take three paragraphs? It will look more pleasing to the eye. I truly wish I could help, but aside from the stunning look of your essay, I have not got a clue about the novel in quetion, which may undermine my feedback.

But there is something that attracred my attention: the very first sentence:

When people are forced to hold certain beliefs which they do not agree with, they often end up becoming hypocrites.

I always thought that the hypocrites are those who (willingly) show other than what they truly believe for some gain. But, I think, if they are forced to, then this is tyranny. From my own experience, sometimes you MUST hide what you truly think just to avoid being harmed or falling into serious trouble..especially in such a cruel world as the one we are living in today. Of course they are rare cases, but the point is: this may not be truly hypocricy. It is either tyranny or stagnant thinking,to my mind.

Sorry I chatted off topic. I get carried away easily!!

I wish you the best of luck! You are sure to find valuable feedback here.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13319 129  
Apr 7, 2009   #3
In the citation styles that I know, the period comes after the parenthetical reference:

both kinds were commonly called Deviations" (Wyndham 19). However, if a sentence ends in an exclamation mark or question mark, the parenthetical reference goes after it.

"Are both kinds commonly called deviation?" (Wyndham)

... this forces countless citizens of the area to become hypocrites, who distrust and lie to each other. For this part... it is like a logical fallacy or something... just does not seem right. They can't be forced to become hypocrites... perhaps you can reword the sentence. It may have forced them to be "cynical," or "suspicious," and THOSE can lead, indirectly, to hypocrisy.

Ahh, the ending is really good. You explain everything. What I mentioned above is not so important, because you do explain yourself well at the end.
OP macawtopia 2 / 5  
Apr 7, 2009   #4
For Rosamond - Thanks for taking the time to look at my essay! I completely agree with you on the "obese" body paragraphs, but my teacher wants it formatted that way, I dont' really have a choice with it.

As for the hypocrisy vs. tyranny argument, you are correct that it is a choice, and that no one can be forced to be a hypocrit. My point is more that in certain situations, people use hypocrisy as an "easey way out"; they agree with the beliefs of others rather than give their own opinions, and risk being an outcast.

Thanks again for reading my essay!

For Kevin-

Thanks for fixing my quotations, I wasn't sure if I was doing them correctly. And I'm glad you liked the ending, I had a hard time wrapping it up.
Rosamond 3 / 26  
Apr 8, 2009   #5
Your are most welcome!

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