Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood is an incredible novel, which depicts the fiction world combined with particular elements of reality. The author makes a reader immerse in the plot from the very beginning to the last sentence causing an irresistible desire to become one of the main characters. Science and reality interact with each other even if the primary events happen in the future. However, the world of viruses and newly created people without true feelings of love illustrate the tragedy of human existence. The loss of memory and the refusal to recollect the past still cause nostalgia for the previous life based on reality. Thus, scientific achievements and numerous genetic experiments gradually turn lives of the protagonists into obsession with modifications, which destroy society, but sincere human relationships help them to survive.
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Science and the so-called natural evolution are integral parts of the existing world as it contributes to its development and destruction at the same time. In the novel Oryx and Crake, Atwood demonstrates that her protagonists live in the future based on idealism of the scientist, Crake, who blindly follows his intentions to discover something unreal. Many scientists like Crake say, “We can give people hope. Hope is not ripping off!”, but no one thinks about dreadful results and a negative impact on society (Atwood 32). Science and its methods turn people into dependent creatures that have no mind but attempt to achieve something inexplicable. In this case, the reader is impressed by the fact that scientists and pharmaceutical companies do not focus on the production of useful medicine. They even do not try to struggle with numerous diseases and viruses but make considerable efforts to modify animals genetically. Perhaps, it is difficult to assume how people can destroy the world of nature; however, it is true. Using the statement “A caterpillar is letting itself down on a thread, twirling slowly like a rope artist, spiralling towards his chest” (Atwood 24), the author compares people with caterpillars to emphasize that every living creature has a choice to act. Moreover, according to Crake’s point of view, the process of modification of human beings is an important part of nature. He claims that the realm of nature covers the whole planet. “Crake made the bones of the Children of Crake out of the coral on the beach, and then he made their flesh out of a mango” (Atwood 55). It means that he has combined humans with nature as a union. Thus, the future evolution is in the hands of science, which destroys the world of nature and people, who do not oppose new experiments.
A disease and its representation also play a significant role as it emphasizes a human inability to struggle. It is evident that a vast expansion of diseases portrays classes and their segregation. Many people live in urban areas and suffer from different illnesses, which lead to fatalities. The worst is that they take drugs even not suspecting that are forced to die in these horrible living conditions. Observing the classes and their obvious differences, one may see that there are the rich and the poor who live in the infectious lands. Besides, the reader understands that those, who have respectable jobs connected with pharmaceutical companies, are free of diseases. It sounds strange, but being limited by these companies, the rest do not have any other option to protect themselves from diseases. It is quite understandable that the representation of disease is possible to compare with any weapon, which destructs masses of people. Additionally, Crake distributes his masked viruses everywhere, and it causes the death of the whole population. Firstly, he claims that his actions are right, and the words “anyway it serves a biological purpose” just prove it (Atwood 99). On the other hand, the protagonist blames other pharmaceutical companies for the invention of new diseases and their spread among people. Lastly, he understands the measure of a crisis. Nevertheless, Crake finally hopes that there are some ways to eliminate these diseases, war, hunger, and crime. He realizes that he has made many irretrievable mistakes, and his wrong perception becomes his personal torture, which is hard to bear.
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Immortality takes a vital place in the plot as artificially created Crakers want to live eternally. The author shows that society and even Crake make the Crakers reach immortality. All of them desperately pursue their main purpose and accept the suggested modification. Moreover, scientists modify people using the organ transplantation and drugs while trying to rejuvenize the aging bodies. In fact, people did not take care of their future, and “there was no life of the mind” (Atwood 116). However, Crake has his own view in relation to this question. In contrast to the mentioned process, he concentrates on another approach to help society achieve immortality. He supposes that there is no need to modify old humans anymore stating that the results will be never successful, and it is nothing more than a waste of time. Being a great scientist that constructs and destroys at the same time, Crake suggests recreating people from the inside. Death follows all humans, and they experience the fear of death, which causes immortality. It is the irony of life as being alive because most of the planet inhabitants are afraid of dying. These feelings make people act meaninglessly, which depicts their nature. Eventually, Crake muses on a new idea of the human construction without inner fears to die. He thinks about those who will not need to long for immortality. As a result, the protagonist manages to create the Creakers to improve the quality of life to the maximum and contribute to the minimum of a negative effect on the Earth.
The author also opposes the verbal to the numerical in order to exalt mathematically or scientifically talented people. It is obvious that the latter have accurate privileges among the rest due to their unbelievable capabilities to conduct new experiments. As for verbally incline characters, the world is out of use. Moreover, the past and present are two alternatives of the future represented by human memories and their actions. Unfortunately, such a protagonist as Jimmy does not belong to this category because he does not suffer from the lack of words in the past. However, he experiences some problems with numbers and words in his present when he becomes Snowman. The most interesting fact is that the children of Crake have eaten all the words because of hunger before their birth. This fact creates the primary tension in the plot. The words “Out of habit he looks at his watch…Nobody nowhere knows what time it is” prove that the main character differs from ordinary people (Atwood 4). In this case, the reader pays attention to friendship between Crake and Jimmy noticing their educational differences. For example, Crake teaches Jimmy to pass his science and math classes. Being unable to understand why Snowman has troubles with subjects, which seem to be easy and vital. Thus, the combination of numerical and verbal skills and abilities separates scientists from ordinary planet inhabitants.
Even living in the world of fiction, there are parents-children and love relationships and bonds, which help the main characters to struggle with modifications and become the so-called medicine against diseases. The author portrays parental relations between Crake, who works for Paradice, and Jimmy, who was left by his parents in the past and turned into illiterate Snowman. Both focus on their later lives. The reader concentrates on the importance of these platonic and romantic interactions. This element of the plot is essential as it makes one to observe the hidden implication from another side. It is unbelievable, but neither Crake nor Snowman-Jimmy has parents in the present, and their mutual understanding is based on nurture. As for Oryx, she receives bad treatment from her parental individuals but regains hope and respect in contrast to Crake and Jimmy. Perhaps, both like her as a personality due to this facet. On the other hand, these relationships have no sense. The problem is that Crake cannot form close relations with other people when he is apart from his dear Jimmy. Spending much time together and sharing their life stories, they have similar destinies limited by parents’ love. Thus, the nurturing nature of Oryx and friendly relationships between Jimmy and Crake contribute to the creation of their warm relations.
In conclusion, the novel Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood is a literary masterpiece based on the world of fiction and reality. Science through the human modification leads to the degradation of the humankind, which exists in nonliving conditions and suffers from the excessive development of diseases and their killing consequences. Undoubtedly, the creation of the Crakers, their desire for immortality, and the lack of academic skills explain the implication of the plot. Fiction and reality are too close to each other, but viruses and genetic modifications segregate people and turn them into miserable creatures that are ready to accept experiments conducted on their bodies and souls.