Oryx and Crake


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Oryx and Crake

  1. 1. Ron Beilinson
  2. 2. Background on Atwood Atwood was born in Canada a passionate writer from the start. She is said to have begun writing at age 6, and officially decided to become a professional writer at 16. She went on to study at the Victoria College in the University of Toronto. She published many poems and articles in the school’s literary journal. She went on to Harvard for grad school, but dropped out after a couple years.
  3. 3. Awards and Accomplishment Atwood is an extremely accomplished poet, she received the Nelly Sachs Prize for her poetry collection, “The Door.” Also received the 1966 Governor General's Award for The Circle Game. Her novels have also gained much recognition as she has been the winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award and Prince of Asturias Award for Literature. She’s also been nominated for the Booker Prize five times, winning once.
  4. 4. Atwood The Activist The Humanist Atwood is also a famous Humanist, she’s been named the Humanist of the Year by the American Humanist Association in 1987 and has made many public appearances to debate and discuss her Humanist views. The Feminist As seen in many of her books, Atwood is very much a feminist. Many of her characters are often dominated by patriarchal societies. Atwood also wrote The Edible Woman during the early second wave of the feminist movement.
  5. 5. Girl Has Style Atwood writes in an exact, vivid, and witty, style. Many of the worlds she sets up are often unfair and painful to live in, even her poetry when describing nature seems to imply that everything is “haunted” and “looming.” Atwood's novels are sarcastic jabs at society as well as identity quests. Her protagonist are usually women in a fight for survival in a society ruled by oppressive men.
  6. 6. Speculative Fiction Oryx and Crake is often described as a scientific fiction novel, but I think a more accurate label would be speculative fiction. The book is a warning to humanity for what’s to come if we do not change our ways. It’s an extreme prediction of what is to come of genetic mutations and unnecessary manipulation of nature.
  7. 7. The setting plays a huge role in the story, as it is a result of the citizens’ attitudes and corrupt nature. The setting effectively helps characterize the people, its uncomfortable aura can be attributed to the greedy industrialists’ manipulation of nature and disinterest for anything that won’t bring some sort of profit or personal benefit. Importance of the Setting
  8. 8. The Two Main Settings Wasteland The setting of the wasteland is meant to show how genetic mutations and exploitation of modern technology can cause a virtual extinction of the human race. It’s all attributed to humanity’s unsustainable usage of natural resources, which is why many think this book is Atwood’s way of presenting our potential fate. Corrupt Industrialization In the near future society where "Jimmy" lives is a lot different from the wasteland in which "Snowman” lives. Jimmy lives in a society where Bio genetic technology is rapidly developed, however without consideration of consequences. In addition, entertainments such as pornography is almost available to everyone in the society and it is really simple to skip the age restriction. Suicide and execution are standard viewing materials.
  9. 9. Jimmy is a self described “word person” because of his inability to relate to the interests of the scientific community. Instead, Jimmy spends his time writing, which is often unappreciated by the rest of society. Jimmy is very analytical and self assured in his understanding of the corrupt nature of the mad scientists and industrialists. He is the protagonist of the novel and is best friends with Crake. Character: Jimmy
  10. 10. Character: Crake (Glenn) Glenn, later renamed Crake, is Jimmy's peer and best friend. He is a brilliant student who attends the prestigious Watson-Crick Institute where he buds into a formidable geneticist. His talents in this field as well as his unique philosophies ultimately lead to his creation of a group of superhumans later referred to as the Crakers. Over the course of the novel, Crake turns from boy to brilliant teenager to mad scientist. Crake meets his demise after slitting Oryx's throat in front of Jimmy, who shoots him.
  11. 11. Oryx is by far the most mysterious character in the novel, we know little about her but are intrigued because of Jimmy’s obsession with her story. She is seen as a lover of nature. Jimmy believes that he saw her as a little girl on a pornography site, but this is never confirmed. She is seemingly traded like a material object throughout the entire novel. She had been forced to sell flowers on the street as a little girl, until she was sold into the pornography industry. She was later bought again and transported to San Francisco where she was found in a storage locker. She went on to work for Crake and was a lover to both Crake and Jimmy. Character: Oryx
  12. 12. Character: The Snowman Snowman is Jimmy, he renames himself Snowman after the world falls apart. The Snowman is the narrator of the novel, he lives in a wasteland as a result of the story he tells us. We don’t know much about the snowman, other than the fact that he is relatively biased towards the past as it resulted in him living in such harsh conditions.
  13. 13. Let’s Summarize The story starts off with The Snowman (Jimmy’s future self) describing the post apocalyptic world in which he now lives. He goes on to tell his story as Jimmy. Jimmy is the son of two genetic scientists, the leading industry of he time. Jimmy becomes friends with Crake, and they bond over their interests of video games, watching mock executions and child pornography. (one actress in particular which might be Crake) Both friends split when the go to separate colleges, Crake goes on to become a bio technician, and starts his Crakers project. It was basically a set of superhumans which would allow parents to pick characteristics from them to genetically mutate their children. A little about the Crakers, they only ate vegetables, had sex all together at once at very specific times of the year, and they would eventually take over human society as they were “perfect humans”.
  14. 14. Things get interesting… Crake finds his favorite child pornography star and hires her as his own personal sex slave. We now see Crake becoming a bit of a maniac. This girl is named Oryx, Jimmy and Crake meet again when Jimmy comes home. Jimmy and Oryx seem to connect and eventually become intimate. Both Jimmy and Crake fall in love with Oryx. She doesn’t seem to prefer one over the other from the start, as she admires Crakes masterful work but often goes to Jimmy for fun and affection. Crakes insanity becomes more prevalent when he creates a germ that would eventually kill off most of the human race except for Jimmy and him. Crake gave Jimmy an antidote of sorts without Jimmy’s knowledge. He decided that everyone except them were subordinate and thus he would be saving intelligent life from a rotting society. The population is cut in half in a matter of hours.
  15. 15. The Standoff Things get heated when people all over the world start dying and Crake tells Oryx and Jimmy that he is essentially responsible. Crake then proceeds to slit Oryx’s throat, Jimmy proceeds to shoot Crake because of this. There isn’t very clear reasoning for why Crake killed Oryx. I believe that Crake knew that Jimmy would be a good guardian for the Crakers and planned a double suicide leaving Jimmy in charge of the world. Another possibility is that Crake knew of Oryx’s preference of Jimmy over him and decided that he would let Jimmy rot alone in this horrid world. Crakes rational is up for interpretation.
  16. 16. Conclusion The Snowman offers a little hope, as he has encountered some actual humans and believes that they may be able to one day rebuild society. The Crakers begin to build religious monuments in respect for Snowman, their “leader.” This is slightly ironic because Crake wanted to “root out” religion and worship. I believe Atwood was almost satirizing our alleged beginning with Adam and Eve, as they are all innocent and naïve, but as they gain more knowledge and temptation they will eventually become the humans we are familiar with, offering some sort of strange circle of life scenario.
  17. 17. Quotes! "What is reality?” (83) "Immortality, is a concept. If you take 'mortality' as being, not death, but the foreknowledge of it and the fear of it, then 'immortality' is the absence of such fear. Babies are immortal. Edit out the fear, and you'll be...” (303) “Nature is to zoos as God is to churches.” (127) Crake is obsessed with nature and reality. He does not believe reality is limited to what currently exists. This understanding of immortality drives Crake’s vision for the Paradise Project. (The Crakers) Crake explains his dismay with the worship system in his society.
  18. 18. Symbolism of Toast One of the main symbols that is constantly highlighted in the book is toast. As you get further and further into the book toast gets associated with and surrounds most of jimmy's problems, weather it's his relationship with his mother or his best friend Crake. Toast is burnt, dry and desolate witch symbolizes Jimmy's relationships with his close ones and it also very much symbolizes the world surrounding Jimmy.
  19. 19. Themes Nature and it’s true meaning is questioned all the time the the novel. The question of whether or not genetically modified beings are “natural.” The debate between "natural" evolution vs. "synthetic" evolution is very prevalent. Immorality and it’s true meaning is also questioned, as Crake believes that one’s image and history can make one immortal, rather than actually being alive forever.
  20. 20. Read It! If you love or are interested in Science Fiction, this book is for you. It questions reality and preconceived notions that could only be questioned in such a strange world. Atwood’s writing is perfectly descriptive and engrossing. As difficult as it may be to identify with any of the characters, it allows insight into the minds of the corrupt and the potential extreme that may come of our world some day. This book allows you to step out of your comfort zone and examine a completely foreign world.