An Analysis of the Society in Oryx and Crake By Margaret Atwood
The analysis is organized as follows:
Introduction:It tells us something about the author and the book in a brief sense.
Body: What does Oryx and Crake say about society?
It has the analyzed points. Each point takes approximately one standard paragraph.
It has a summary of what appears in the analysis essay body.
An Analysis of the Society in Oryx and Crake
Oryx and Crake is a novel by Margaret Atwood. Crake and Snowman are the leading characters. Snowman is also called Jimmy, his actual name and he is the one given the privilege of telling us what happens in the world that has been created by the novel. He is arguably the novels’ protagonist while Crake is the antagonist. Oryx and Crake as a novel has a lot to say about the world we live in today. It covers the major aspects of modern life in terms of opportunities that are availed by scientific breakthroughs such as genetic engineering as well as the perils of uncontrolled handling and use of this knowledge.
What does Oryx and Crake say about society?
As far as human life and society is concerned, Margaret Atwood has a lot to say through the characters she creates in Oryx and Crake as well as the roles she gives them and most importantly, the nature of the world in which she puts them .The world that is torn apart as we view it from the time we meet Snowman/Jimmy at the beginning of the novel started at the time when the two; Jimmy and Crake were in College. Crake’s idea is to create a new breed of humans who operate according to his programming and he is convinced that this is possible if he breaks the generational production line by just one generation (Atwood 223).Crake is convinced that all he wants to do is to make the world a better place and he thinks that at the end of the day he is likely to improve human life. Look at how he later gives his project the name paradice.From this point, we are brought to the blysspluss point, a pill marketed as a cure for all diseases that are passed from person to person through sex. It is also sold as a means of prolonging youthfulness and a booster of sexual vigor. But with the logic of eliminating all the outside agents of death, (Atwood 293,) blysspluss is a onetime birth control pill.
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In Crake’s design of the new world that, according to him does not have the many ills that the arts have brought in the world he wants to dissociate himself from, he has a plan in place to eliminate racism which is referred to as ‘pseudospeciation’ in his new world,’paradice’ (Atwood 305).Other maladies that he is determined to eliminate from this new world or Crakers include slavery and diseases. He has an aversion for the arts and humanities and there is going to be a surprise for him at some point when this same things or atleast a number of them reappear in the Crakers.Oryx, the go-between for the Crakers and Crake is confronted by the Crakers and asked about their origin. She tells them the truth; that a brilliant fellow by the name Crake made them. Later, Crake is deified. They (Crakers) start treating him as a god and even worship him (Atwood 311).Worship is an art and this is ironical that what Crake was so determined to eliminate in the process of creating these new people is now emerging again.
Beyond this confusion of creating new species through the powers of scientific knowledge, Oryx and Crake present another sobering reality about society. There is division on so many grounds. Consensus is hard to find and barriers from one group to another are often a reality. Jimmy is said to have been born in a compound, the big safe houses where the wealthy live. They do not go to the cities for the simple reason that they will meet poor people. These cities inhabited mainly by poor people are also full of crime with and not going there is a precaution taken for their security and safety (Atwood 27).Separation on grounds of economic wellbeing is a common thing in the current world. Like in Oryx and Crake, those with money are able to purchase luxurious homes in safe neighborhoods. These luxurious homes are the equivalent of compounds. The poor people are dwellers of slums and all that takes place in such filthy dwellings is the abuse of drugs, prostitution, violent crime and many other disorderly things. The rich rarely come to such places.
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It is also interesting to note how Atwood connects her Oryx and Crake world to the modern world in which we live through not only the widely explored issues of economics and genetic engineering but also perversion, sexual immorality and pornography. Look at how the two; Snowman and Crake are surfing on the internet and all they are enjoying is a pedophile website (Atwood 91).Snowman sees Oryx here and keeps or commits her face to memory. He actually goes ahead to appreciate her so much such that he transfers the love he had for her mother to Oryx. It worth noting that Snowman had a uniquely powerful Oedipus complex with strong feelings for his mother and immense hatred for the father. Anytime he fails to please the mother, he gets sad. Crake also seems to be a victim of anal attachments. He makes comments about the same and he goes to sites that have this kind of information.
Does Atwood have anything to say about society and balance in human behavior? Yes and in plenty. Snowman loves the arts and he feels like he is not sufficiently brilliant compared to his friends like Crake who have excelled in the sciences. This affects his personality to some level making him feel less confident. His mother does not help matters when she tells Jimmy/Snowman that she feels comfortable having a chat with Crake because he reasons and behaves like a grown up. This makes him(Jimmy) feel like a failure having made it his mission to impress his mother (Atwood 69).This is balanced by the author by painting Crake as a social moron who is completely unable to come out and make a reliable and reasonable relationship. He is therefore compelled to resort to calling someone to meet his sexual needs and this is the lady he had met on the child pornography site. Her name is of course Oryx. As a balance, Atwood is telling us that it is not possible to find a perfect person in society. We all have problems and therefore the underlying message is that we need each other.
We live in the scientific times and technical knowledge has obviously become more valuable. This was especially true during the early days of the computer when only a small number of people were in the possession of these very useful skills. With the opening up of the knowledge highway, even someone in the arts world now has technical knowledge. But the high esteem in which scientific pursuits are held comes out in the novel when the two; Crake and Jimmy finish high school and they are destined to go to college. Jimmy is going to a school in New York that was established by liberals who are now rich and the school is in very poor condition. This is a sign that their attention is now no longer in the arts, given that this is the specialization of the school (Atwood 187).The security of the school is down and no one cares what goes on around there. Even all the students are cheats and they do exams using short cuts. But what is happening at the school where Crake is studying? Security is high. They are perhaps protecting the best minds in science since according to them; they mean much to mankind than those in the arts and humanities. The school is evidently well taken care of than the school that Jimmy attends (Atwood 197).
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Leaving the above aside, the pressing issue of trafficking children for purposes of sex is a concern for today’s’ governments the world over. Young children are trafficked from Asian and African countries and sold to old men who abuse them sexually. In a powerful way, Oryx sends this message in the novel. She was sold to men for sex when she was a child and this has totally interfered with the way she views sex.For her, it should not feelings and attachment at all and it is not because she has chosen to clear all feelings from her system. It is a product of a long spell of abuse by numerous men. Nothing confirms this better than the answer she gives when Jimmy tries to ask her about a man who once possessed her in San Francisco. She praises him as a kind man whose mission is to rescue children (Atwood 316).
In conclusion, it is evident that Atwood Margaret has a lot to say about the issues that a typical society has to grapple with. The concerns of scientific discoveries that have the potential to annihilate human life, family conflicts as seen in Jimmy’s family, the divide between the rich and the poor in society that affects even their places of residence are all dealt with. She also handles the debate on knowledge that has always dominated our education conversation on the significance of arts, sciences and humanities. Most importantly, she projects the point that all humanity has shortfalls by showing us the weak side of the man of words (Jimmy/Snowman) which is his lack of confidence and the weak side of the man of science (Crake), which is his lack of social skills such that he is unable to get into a relationship. He only manages to get someone who satisfies his sexual needs.
Atwood also confronts emerging social complications, some of which have been worsened by science. An example is child pornography. This comes out through the surfing of a pedophile website by Crake and Jimmy. The involvement of Oryx in child sex trade given that she was sold to child sex addicts (Atwood 316), adds more complications to the whole affair of children and sex which is harder when the children are trafficked from country to country for the enjoyment of pedophiles.