The Myth of the True Image (The Chrysalids)


The Myth of the True Image

One of the main ideas that John Wyndham criticizes in The Chrysalids is the notion of "the true image". He shows the reader how fanatical Joseph Strorm and most of the inhabitants of Waknuk are in religious views and what consequences these views entail. Even nowadays, we can still find such ideas with ease, and many of the outcomes that appear in the book have happened at point in history.

Most religions claim that they are "the chosen people", or something else to that effect. These notions were probably created to reassure people that since they were the "chosen people" they were obviously better than all the other peoples. For this reason, they could say that God was supporting them and therefore they had the "right" to dominate, or even kill whoever they wanted. Although this is no longer as relevant, it certainly could not have helped matters a few hundred years ago. These ideas have a striking resemblance to the ones in The Chrysalids, though to a much lesser degree.

In contrast to these ideas, there is the concept of equality that appears in legal documents in many countries. The United States\' Declaration of Independence states "all men are created equal"; The United Nations\' Universal Declaration of Human Rights says asserts "all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights"; and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms affirms "every individual is equal before and under the law (...) without discrimination". Likewise, many countries have some sort of article in their constitution to the same effect.

In The Chrysalids, the fanatical views of Joseph Strorm and of other inhabitants of Waknuk have many consequences. These people destroy anything they think doesn\'t look normal, even humans. They force David, Rosalind and Petra to flee, chase them and attack the mutants living in the Fringes. Even though this story doesn\'t seem to be very closely related to the real world, one can find links between the two. Throughout history, there have been many examples of oppression. In Africa, for one, there have been examples of bloody wars between tribes and the vanquished people being forced to leave their land. The idea of "the true image" results in meaningless wars, and doesn\'t at all help efforts towards peace and tolerance.

In conclusion, the notion of "the true image" although fictionalized in The Chrysalids, is very real. Many religions, in fact, say almost the exact same thing as those in Waknuk, although to a much lesser degree. In contrast with this, we have the UN Declaration of Human Rights, the Canadian Charter of Rights and documents from other countries that all basically state that all people are equal. All throughout history, there have been people persecuted and oppressed simply because the stronger people said that they were "chosen" over them.