Two settings are present in this novel. The one that we see the most is a future society where “Jimmy” lives. The other setting, is the wasteland where “Snowman” lives. The story starts off with the wasteland with Snowman. The wasteland is used to show that humanity is gone. There still are people who inhabitants the planet, they are called the Crakers, which are genetically enhanced humans. The other living creatures, are once tamed animals, the Pigoons and Bobkittens.
The future, the setting and time, that Jimmy inhabits is very different from the wasteland where Snowman is forced the live. Jimmy lives in a time where Bio genetic is developed a lot farther than any time we know of now. The only problem is that what they completed, they did not think about the impact it could have. Take for example, The stuff they watched for fun. Entertainment that is considered horrible and inhumane, was available to everyone. Porn, execution, and suicide were used for entertainment and everyone was watching.
Characters and Brief Description
Snowman – Snowman is the apocalyptic identity of Jimmy. Snowman is an adult male, he also seems to be the only human left. He shows symptoms of trauma, such as replaying traumatic events in his head, calling himself Frankenstein, hearing voices, and seeing no hope left in the world.
Jimmy – Jimmy lives his life within a controlled compound. Small bits of his life can be gathered, but most moments that are shown to the reader are traumatic events. Jimmy believes that he is in love with Oryx. Jimmy is seen as a “Words person.” these people are less valued than the “Numbers person.” This implies that even though he is progressing in the academic world, this academic strength would not be good at contributing to society.
Crake – Jimmy’s closest friend. Crake seemed to be an introvert. Even with that, both Crake and Jimmy are able to bond quickly. The two of them watch porn together, as well as play video games. These moments reveal some of Crake’s beliefs and morals. Crake is a “Numbers person.” He also bioengineers The Crakers.
Oryx – She was born in an area in East Asia. It appears that she was sold at some time to be a prostitute. Jimmy meets Oryx, after Crake hired her at Paradice. Her role in Jimmy’s life is mysterious. She simultaneously sleeps with Crake and Jimmy.
Point Of View
This book is told through an Omniscient Narrator. The text is effective in using third-person narrative, because the narrator has full knowledge of the characters and events, as well as the ability to jump from event to event.
The Color Green – The compounds are decorated with artificial plant life. Most the eyes of the Crakers are green color. The color usually represents nature and the environment, in this story it indicates the intrusion on the natural processes. The plant life is still around after the destruction of the human race because of the genetic splicing not because of natural processes. Green also represents the naiveté and innocence. Oryx had to put on green contacts in because the Crakers did not understand her brown eyes.
Inside – The book draws attention to the difference between “inside” and “outside.” it also makes a big deal about keeping the two separated. This is shown by the emphasis on keeping the clean in and the dirty out. “Inside” represents health, wealth, cleanliness, comfort and familiarity.
Outside – The Pleeblands are “outside.” the outside represents foreignness, poverty, fear, dirtiness, and desolation. After the plague, the outside and inside were no longer separated, because the barriers between the groups were no more.
The novel is told from third person, but the narrator only knows what is in Jimmy/Snowman’s mind. The narrator helps guide the reader through the story using Jimmy’s thoughts. She also uses the bits of conversation Jimmy remembers having with the other characters. As for the structure, the novel comprises 15 sections. And those sections have several subsections. Each subsection has titles that help the reader identify the important people in the next following passages within the subsections.
Description and Significance of Opening Scene
The opening moment is used to introduce the reader to Snowman’s isolation: his watch no longer works, the ocean is full of leftover rusted car parts, broken technologies litter the ground. Where he currently is, it’s kind of a jungle. The high-tech world has collapsed into nature. The emphasis on Snowman’s routine informs the reader that poor Snowman has been in this hopeless place for quite some time. This is also where the reader is introduced to the disembodied voices in his head.
Description and Significance of Closing Scene
As it seems like Snowman will die until he hears a female voice that tells him that he needs to survive. At that moment he sees the footprint. He knows that these people represent hope, but they also pose a problem. At any moment they could react hostility towards him. He asks the voices what to do because he is unsure. The voices give him an answer but dont give an indication of what is the right choice. It then ends the story on an ambiguous note. The ending captures the indecisions he must face. He has to ponder the possibility of joy because he’s not alone or risk the safety from extinction.
Oryx and Crake is told from the viewpoint of a man named Snowman. He’s living outside near a body of water in a jungle with a group called Crakers. The Crakers are seemingly alien entities. They would ask questions as well as bring him fish. For an unknown reason (at first) Snowman shows a lot of anger towards a man named Crake. He also seems very fond of a girl named Oryx.
Soon the reader learns that his name used to be Jimmy. When he was young, his dad and mom got in a lot of fights. In the end, his mom left him in the care of his father. A few months after his mom left, he met Crake. Because of the proximity of time, the two things became tied together in his mind.
The two boys begin to spend time together after school. They played online games and viewed vulgar websites. One game, Extinctathon, gave them their nicknames. Extinctathon required a lot of knowledge of the extinct species of Earth. The two boys took on nicknames as a part of the game. Of course Crake’s nickname stuck, but Jimmy’s did not. It was during one of the many web-surfing hours that they first saw Oryx. About at the age of eight, they saw her on a pornography site.
After high school, sadly the two boys went to different schools. Jimmy went to Martha Graham Academy while Crake gains admission to the Watson-Crick Institute. During college, Crake and Jimmy drift apart. After Jimmy graduates from school, he gets a job at AnooYoo. While Jimmy was working at at AnooYoo he had a lot of sexual flings. Some people show up and asks Jimmy where his mom is. Later he is shown a video that is the execution of his mother. Which causes him to fall into depression.
Crake ends up helping Jimmy from his depression. Crake offers him a job at BlyssPluss Pill, which produces a medicine that supposedly reverts the aging process. Crake also showed Jimmy the Crakers. They were created by Crake to be an immortal species that showcases the best of humanity. This is where Jimmy met Oryx in person. Eventually Jimmy and Oryx developed a relationship even though Crake and Oryx were already in a relationship.
Oryx’s job was to teach the Crakers. Then one day a pandemic broke out. Oryx slowly realizes that the pandemic is happening in the cities that she had visited with the pill. Jimmy lockes the compound, so when Crake got back from some undisclosed location, he could not get in. Jimmy then lets him in, just to watch him slit Oryx’s throat. In the end Jimmy shoots Crake. The world then starts to fade.
1 – Corporate Power
2 – Hierarchy
3 – Parental Responsibility
4 – The verbal vs. the numerical
5 – The nature of Nature
Names – Throughout the text there is a division in the names of the main character between before and after the release of the virus. The renaming of the character is a symbolic way of showing the enormous changes that have plagued the world. The protagonist of the book, is an fantastic example of the symbol of the name change. The names of Oryx and Crake are renamed earlier to foreshadow the events to come. Both of there names are extinct animals, in the end they happen to die. Interestingly enough, Oryx does not have a “real name.” It reflects her character that they only use her nickname. She has an undefined character, she speaks vaguely, reveals little about herself, and most of what the reader learns about her is just what Jimmy speculates about her.
Immortality – The the Crakers being created was driven by desire to achieve immortality. While most were pursuing the goal through modification of the human body. Crake approaches the quest differently. Instead of trying to find immortality by changing humans, he decided to recreate the human, by creating something better.
Disease – In this story, Disease plays many roles. It is an overarching presence that makes it one of the most important themes of the book. Disease is a marker of class through the urban areas. Those who have comfortable jobs live in safe compounds. Those who do not live in the disease-infested pleeblands. Disease is also used as a weapon of destruction. The distribution of Crake’s virus ends in the death of almost the entire human population.
Thesis Statements for Each Theme
1 – Names in Oryx ; Crake are not only interesting sounding, they also foreshadow the future of the world.
2 – Immortality is is something that a lot of people crave to have. In Oryx ; Crake it shows that no human can live forever.
3 – Disease are designed to kill, but in Oryx ; Crake, Disease is a symbol for a broken system.
Significant Quotes to be Memorized and Related to Theme/Thesis
1 – “He doesn’t know which is worse, a past he can’t regain or a present that will destroy him if he looks at it too clearly. Then there’s the future. Sheer vertigo.”
2 – “Immortality,’ said Crake, ‘ 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…”
3 – “All it takes,” said Crake, “is the elimination of one generation. One generation of anything. Beetles, trees, microbes, scientists, speakers of French, whatever. Break the link in time between one generation and the next, and it’s game over forever.”
4 – “After everything that’s happened, how can the world still be so beautiful? Because it is.”
5 – “Toast was a pointless invention from the Dark Ages. Toast was an implement of torture that caused all those subjected to it to regurgitate in verbal form the sins and crimes of their past lives. Toast was a ritual item devoured by fetishists in the belief that it would enhance their kinetic and sexual powers. Toast cannot be explained by any rational means.
Toast is me.
I am toast.”