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New Beginning and Questionable Ending: “Oryx and Crake”

Free «New Beginning and Questionable Ending: Oryx and Crake» Essay Sample

The novel under analysis is a perfect example of a story that shows the possible variants of human future. The action takes place on the Earth and is set among the remains of past civilizations. The last survivor, who calls himself Snowman, lives surrounded by Crake’s children, i.e. genetically engineered post-humans deliberately deprived of many people’s features. They do not know what greed, fear, lust, envy, shame, and other feelings are being common for human beings. Atwood claims that whether the huge change of conditions and new people are meant to have the same future as previous civilizations or they can start a new era, as they have new conditions and do not have limitations and sins characteristic for human nation.

The novel has turned out to be a very rich story but not with the events. In fact, it is full of information. The author starts giving new facts by dripping a drop, gradually increasing speed and flow of the narration at some point engulfing its volume. The author has vividly described both worlds. They are the one that had just existed before the crash and the other one that has become since, where there had been only Crake’s children and Snowman. In the previous world, the name of this character was not Snowman but Jimmy. Besides, there was Crake whose idea was to change the life and try everything new (Atwood 158). The story of the new world is given to readers through the memories of Jimmy and his life, depicting the apocalypse of the universe, as a whole. Far away, in the very beginning of the readers’ journey in a search of meaning and causes, long before the apocalypse twist mechanisms, readers meet Jimmy. The first drop falls, which is meant to ruin everything and make the world to cleared out of everything wrong and bad. Jimmy’s life is a sort of chaos and the world’s end in miniature, small, but still ruinous Armageddon. At first, everything seems to be as in the ordinary world: his parents, most of them are career blinded; younger humans that suffer of self-doubt, while peers that are more talented use their chances, and the desire to enjoy and love. However, the memories offer the uglier surrounding where there is feasibility of superior morality and conscience, where the ethics, art, culture and science have evolved in a very ugly form being though usual and normal for people. . Atwood has a talent of making simple things disaster or metaphors. Personal dilemmas of the main character in fact symbolize problems of the whole society. The crisis of his identity of the protagonist becomes a crisis of the whole world. His depression and hopelessness is a semantic of apocalypse society. Through the prism of Jimmy’s story the author shows a whole range of problems. There appear the confrontation of words and numbers, creativity and cold mind, beauty and utility. The war, according to various front lines, is science and art, the benefits and ethics. Even though every single person is nothing more than a cog in the mechanism of the greater system, eventually comes the time when the number of failures reaches a critical mass and leads to an inevitable end. Then, the time comes when moral categories evolve in the category of rationality and expediency being gracefully articulated though unreliable.

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In this world, people live in reservations, dirty places, poor settlements, as well as modernized and more prestigious compounds. Everyone is under surveillance; and escape is almost impossible. The life that Jimmy recalls is similar to an agonizing end of people because their folly is appalling. There is freely available pornography and drugs in all forms, naked news being available from anywhere in the world via the Internet. Anyone can see the broadcasts of executions and harassments, killing of animals, and quite unimaginable reports for healthy minds. Nevertheless, the most important thing that has to be mentioned about this situation is as follows. For any resident at any age, all the above-mentioned things are fine. If a person becomes tired of watching an execution, then he/she can play a game that is quite interesting and useful.

People are obsessed with rejuvenation, replacement of organs and skin, life extension, and immortality. The money is spent in a big quantity on all these procedures. In fact, the story depicts the current human life that is familiar to readers. However, there in the novel everything has more exaggerated colors. The author strongly expresses cynicism and highlights an emphasis on infinite folly of humankind in the background, flowing into the abyss. In this full stream, the genius was born. Therefore, the secret plan of Crake gets some features that are more distinct. Crake could not agree with the situation on the planet and condemned the world; he sentenced people and carried out his plan. Nevertheless, he leaves his children being pure, innocent, unemotional, without feelings, and not depending on any human passions (Atwood 134). Snowman had stayed with them as a prophet. However, what prophesy he could say to them if they did not know how to kill, steal, and love the wife of the neighbor. There was nothing he could teach them as there had been nothing in them yet. These creatures of flesh and blood were meant to live in a purified world. They were going to meet the new universe where every song was the first one.


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Everything in the world would be started from its beginning being painted as the first picture. They were dancing; and birds around were singing songs. They could listen to the ocean’s surf noise, see how sun colors the land with gold, and hear thunder and lightning coming from heaven. Children were not as simple as they could seem. However, their creator was a genius to ensure that these creatures had been completely deprived of emotions and the issues they could inherit from the past civilizations.

Snowman has already begun passing the information to them. They were not prevented from the development. However, there was a question which direction their growing would go further. They either have chosen to go on the path of humanity and repeat all its mistakes or will remain the creatures devoid of reasons. They will be the representatives of the new era similarly to the new breed of animals as pigoons, wolvogs, rakunk, and others (Atwood 215). The author does not give a direct answer to this question. Readers have to derive their own reply about the further development of the story. Children remember nothing about the past world. The reason is that they never have lived in it. Snowman just cannot explain anything to them. Therefore, a large part of the book takes place in the memories of the hero and with the events that have been before the fall of the humankind. There the dystopia starts that George Orwell would call optimistic.

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The most frightening thing in it is a merciless realism. Margaret Atwood has just slightly strengthened the degree of decomposition being subject to the modern society and got what happened. There is a terrible and ruthless worldview, which does not arouse any pity due to its destruction. The author never gives the detailed explanations of the actions done by characters. Readers do not get any discounts. In order to understand the motives moving protagonists it is necessary to think about them. Otherwise, it is possible that the outcome will seem illogical and far-fetched. However, it is perfectly logical but in the other way it is simply impossible. There are the stylish post-apocalyptic surroundings, which are conquering readers. They are unfolded by the author in a grand canvas in a stunning and deep monologue about the fate of humankind and humanity. Confessions of the main character, his hallucinations, visions and dreams take readers away from the visionary paintings of the world-after-crash, where everything has started from the very beginning.

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Another interesting and mysterious image in the novel is Crake. Readers have a number of questions and thoughts about him. They do not exactly know who this man was, either the mad person striving to judge the world and managing to lead his sentence; or the individual who considered himself as God and who thought that he could change the life and give it a fresh start. Even Crake’s genius was not sufficient to deal with the emotions. Even robots had their dreams and emotions. These new human creatures were waiting for the whole world being specially created for them. They had their new ideals, the food they were eating was vegetable. However, they were open to the new universe; and they were meant to experience love in their life inevitably. Their future was not clear; and readers had a number of thoughts whether these new humans had chosen the path of their previous civilizations or gone their own way.

People tend to make mistakes. It becomes interesting what faults may be waiting for these children in future. At the same time, all humans are kids at the very start even within a new beginning. The question and future development is open by the author. This issue has to be rethought over by every reader. The answers to this question are hidden though the story is so similar to the real world and its possible development. Therefore, it makes readers search for their own answers and their own truth. The narrative reveals the past and shows the future. At the same time, it is depicting the picture of the possible tomorrow of the current reality. The mix of time collisions creates a perfect twist of mind and directs readers thinking of possible variations and probable initial conditions of the world around.

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