ChickieNobs, PETA, and Crake.

I think Crake is an extremely interesting character in the novel, even more so after the discussion we had in class about him being a mad scientist/super genius. Personally, I think he is a mad scientist, because he took the route that, in his view, promotes 'the greater good', with the end justifying the means. But past this, I think what he did is something that anyone is capable of doing, given the circumstances. He is extremely intelligent, and gets the best education; he has the drive to see his projects through, and develops the ego necessary to completely believe in his vision.

Oryx and Crake...Apocalypse or Rebirth?

The central event for the novel Oryx in Crake is the advent of a mega-virus, named JUVE, which nearly completely obliterates the human population. All that remains after it sweeps the world are Snowman, aka Jimmy, and a bunch of "Crakes"...genetically engineered humans designed to live easily and peacefully. Oh, and apparently some other humans...but we don't find that out till the end (and book doesn't say much about them).

The World According to Asperger's

Crake's placement at "Asperger's U" naturally begs the question of whether or not Atwood was implying that Crake had Asperger's Syndrome. Looking at Crake's mental offspring, I believe the answer to be "yes." While Crake's genetic modifications of humans into Crakers was ostensibly aimed at eliminating traits that would lead to long-term self-destruction or adding traits that increased survivability against wolvogs and the like, there seems to be another element.

What's white, bloated, wearing a sailor outfit, and coming for YOU?

The comic for today, April 30th, is exquisitely appropriate per our discussion of Pattern Recognition on Monday.

jimmy/snowman's dependency on oryx

Snowman is one of the most heartbreaking characters I have encountered in fiction. Within the first few chapters, with no knowledge of Snowman's history or even personality, I felt such pity for him. He can do nothing but waste away in his loneliness and gloom. While the character of Jimmy is hardly a vision of integrity, he is a good person. He is a confused, insecure man whose soul has been scarred since the day his mother disappeared.

Time Trauma Fiction

There was much talk--and there might easily have been more--about Pattern Recognition's being legible as a 9/11 novel. The event is manifestly significant for the novel plot-wise, but also to the extent that it informs the book's disrupted sense of history. It's interesting, then, that Oryx and Crake was conceived under similar circumstances--might it then be possible to read this book as a response to 9/11?

Math vs Language

One of the key theme in Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake is the conflict between that which is empirically provable, and that which is a construct of the human mind. This manifests in a variety of ways: numbers vs. words, emotion vs. survival, art vs. science. The protagonist, Jimmy/Snowman, is wrapped up in this conflict, because he is an advocate of the side which believes in the intangibles of human nature, but he feels like his side is losing, or has lost, depending on whether we address him before or after the catastrophe.

Oryx and Crake: Once again, Science is Evil

It's a common trope for fiction writers to hate science and technology. The idea that knowledge is a recipe for destruction is deeply rooted in the past, dating back to at least Prometheus' punishment for stealing fire from Mount Olympus. But the more blunt examples are those in the mad scientist category; the Frankensteins, the Jekkyl and Hydes, the Dr. Moreaus, the Lex Luthors, etc. By taking their pursuits of science to unethical extremes, these characters not only wreak havoc, but shame the entire concept of science.

Last Man Standing

What I found most captivating about Oryx and Crake was the total sense of isolation that saturates the book. The narrative helps in creating this sensation of loneliness because the reader is kept ignorant of the most recent events of Snowman's past up until the very last pages of the book. As we go along, we have the two separate periods of narration -- Jimmy's childhood and family issues, leading to meeting Crake and school, etc. and then Snowman's present.

recognizing a life pattern

I'm going to use my last "freebie" blog post and cop out on this one, because I have two term papers due this week as well as a video production project, and all of my ideas about this novel were pretty thoroughly dissected in class. I will be making several comments on others' posts to contribute, though.


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