Every human being encompasses an innate desire to fit in. Societal discrimination has existed throughout history and is still present in modern day civilization. Because of influences from one’s family, peers and faith, one will constantly strive to conform to the idealistic standards which society conveys. By comparing David Storm of John Wyndham’s The Chrysalids to Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet from William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, it becomes evident that each protagonist struggles to belong in their society due to restrictions they face and through negative life changing experiences.
To begin, in both The Chrysalids and Romeo and Juliet, the main characters face societal restrictions. Throughout The Chrysalids, David Storm along with several other telepaths like himself, strive to fit within a society driven by a corrupt faith. In Waknuk, a community solely built upon biased stereotypes, it is against the law for a living being to have a deformity of any sort. If a human does not comply with the conventional and prejudiced principles of society, he or she will no longer be considered a human, and will be banished to an uncivilized land. For instance, when Uncle Axel discovers David’s telepathy, he makes David swear never to reveal his talent. In fear of being sent to the “Fringes” of their land, David, along with the other telepaths, must conceal their ability in order to be socially accepted.
By classifying individuals based on their outward appearances, David’s society illustrates its discrimination against those who do not fulfil the requirements of a “normal” human being. Likewise, in Romeo and Juliet, the title characters cannot freely and openly express their affection for one another because of their feuding families. Had their strong passion for each other been discovered, both Romeo and Juliet would be looked down upon by their own families, and forbidden to be with one another. For instance, Romeo and Juliet are forced to discreetly share their love throughout the novel and must even marry each other in secret. Through the hindrance of their children’s love for one another, both the Montague and Capulet families concisely portray how Romeo and Juliet must struggle for the acceptance of there love.
Moreover, the protagonists in both The Chrysalids and Romeo and Juliet endure life altering experiences because they do not comply with societal standards. Throughout The Chrysalids, David and the other telepaths are forced to run away from Waknuk to a society where they will not be judged but accepted for who they are. For example, David, Petra and Rosalind spend days in the Badlands fleeing from the search party that is out to find them, while Michael helps them get away by providing them with tips on how to escape. By having to flee from a prejudiced community, David and the other telepaths display the battle that they were forced to endured in order to fit in. Similarly, In Romeo and Juliet, when all else fails, the two lovers decide that the only place where they can be together is in heaven. For instance, when Romeo discovers that Juliet has died he finally accepts the fact that his society will not approve of his love for her. As a result, Romeo kills himself so that they can be with each other. Ultimately, by doing so, he demonstrates the difficulties one must undergo in order to be socially accepted.
With careful examination of both Wyndham’s The Chrysalids and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, one can infer that the main characters in each novel must fight an ongoing battle of acceptance in their societies, as seen through both societal limitations and dramatic experiences which they are forced to suffer. It is evident that the similarities between the two novels stress the unending crisis of social acceptance within different civilizations. This dilemma can lead to many other serious troubles and may even result in death. Essentially, one must realize that there is more to a human being than their outward appearance or ability, or the history of the family that they come from. By treating all as equal and unique individuals, one can ultimately live in harmony and peace with another.