Q&A with Margaret Atwood discussion

Still struggling with the "why" (contains spoiler for Oryx and Crake)

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Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 5 comments I have read Oryx and Crake three times, and twice in book clubs. One question none of us have come up with a good solution for is why Crake would remove himself from the world just when his best creation had to start surviving on their own, with the bumbling help of Snowman. What seemed to fuel him was the success of his creations, proof of his genius and ability. Can you give me more insight on this issue?

(Also, I read in an interview that you are going to write another parallel novel to Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood, focusing on MaddAdam, and that is so exciting! Maybe it can give more insight into the game players.)

message 2: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Bennett (BennettAuthor) | 4 comments If you look at Crake's fridge magnets, you'll see an evolution. He moves from the pure scientist to a man who understands that philosophy and creativity are more important. He knew that only Jimmy/Snowman was capable of leading his Children of Crake and giving them a better world. He knew he was one of the "bad guys" who would need to be eliminated to make a better world. Look at the discussions he has with Snowman about taking care of things if he were gone.

message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

I assumed 1) he didn't want to live without Oryx; 2) if memory serves, that he may have thought he was infected and didn't want to jeopardize the Children.

message 4: by Karlin (new)

Karlin | 1 comments I too have wondered about the evolution of Crake and why he killed himself. Remember that initally Crake helped God' Gardeners - If I recall he was brining in medication for one of the Gardener's who had cancer. My sense was that he was both fascinated and repulsed by the current state of human affairs, but also maybe developing into sociopath.
Look at his fascination with child porn and his seemingly conflicted emotions about Oryx. She seems to be the only person he can love yet he kills her.
He also conducts human experimentation that could have catstrophically dangerous results but could also save humankind.

I think he realizes his pathology which is why he ends his life.


message 5: by Cami (last edited Sep 23, 2010 08:55AM) (new)

Cami (CamiPack) | 11 comments I don't know ... I think I'm with Karlin. I think Crake was manipulating Jimmy when he killed Oryx. He knew Jimmy so well. He knew what Oryx meant to him.

He didn't want to stay around, he possibly had some guilt or regret (he had enough conscience to tell Oryx what he had done), and he knew the best chance for solidifying his plan was ensuring Jimmy did what he wanted with the Crakers.

He was so shrewd and brilliant. And he had an incredible capacity to ignore typical human needs - for example, it seems as though he sent Oryx to be Jimmy's lover even though he had a relationship with her, perhaps "loved" her. He was always able to disconnect from his emotions. We think he probably killed his own mother and his uncle. What about his father - was he pushed off an overpass? I'm a little foggy on the details right now.

The other thing I really want to know... What happened when Crake told Oryx what he'd done (and what she'd done) on the night the pandemic broke out?? Did he ask her to leave with him? And when she rejected him is that when he had to go back to the compound and kill her??

And how ironic that the Crakers started creating art, leaders, and deity almost immediately. Aren't we lead to believe that all of Crake's efforts were for nothing ... that fundamentally art and image making can't be taken out of humanity?

message 6: by Niecole (new)

Niecole I recently finished reading Oryx and Crake. In my opinion (and sorry if its not that intelectual, but I read for fun :)) Crake wanted a new kind of mankind, the kind he invented, that was the whole purpose of the Pill that he invented, to get rid of the human race so that his new creations might go on living, take over.

I think he cut Oryx throat because he knew that Jimmy would then kill him. Remember how he asked Jimmy if he would assist someone in killing themselves? Well in the end Jimmy kind of did. Also I think he wanted Jimmy to live, to see the brilliance of his lifes work, before he died he said "I'm counting on you" to Jimmy, like he had planned this all in his mind.

I dont think Crake was a very emotional person, he was too calculated and cruel to be emotional. Also, he wanted to punish Jimmy in the end for doing Oryx behind his back and for not admitting that he was inlove with her, so he took her away from him, and he knew Jimmy would not leave the Crakers on their own, thats why Crake had Jimmy immunised (he had planned it all ahead).

Crake is a very calculative person, I think he had planned all of this since the death of Uncle Pete

message 7: by Catie (new)

Catie (nematome) I definitely agree that Crake was a very calculating person and had been planning his murder/suicide for quite some time. I think that it's interesting to think about what this says about how he views Jimmy - he trusted him to kill him and he left the Crakers in his care. My personal opinion is that Crake orchestrated his suicide because he wanted to leave the world in a better place, with all humans eradicated. I don't think that he saw himself as a part of that better place. He is ruthless and intelligent and maybe all of the things that he was trying to rid the world of in the first place. It's very interesting that he somehow saw Jimmy as fit to lead the Crakers. I felt that, at the end of Oryx and Crake, when Jimmy goes to investigate the people around the fire and to possibly kill them if necessary, that he was actually the right person for the job in the end. It's cool to think that Crake saw that in Jimmy, when to everyone else (including me, the reader), he was a bit of a waster! My two cents though...it's great to read about what you all think.

message 8: by Niecole (new)

Niecole Hi Catie

I agree with you, Crake was too smart not to think of all this ahead of time... maybe he thought that someone like Jimmy, with his more simple mind, whould be better to be there with the crakers.

I do absolutely agree that Crake wanted to rid the earth of all humans, thats why he created the pill and distributed it to all the people, he planned all of this.

message 9: by Adria (new)

Adria | 2 comments I agree that I think Crake knew that Jimmy would kill him for killing Oryx. I think for some reason he didn't want Jimmy to have Oryx. He also thought Jimmy was the most capable to take care of the Crakers. Maybe he thought Jimmy would die out eventually too, then it would be the perfect world he was trying to create. But, he didn't account for there being other survivors like the people in the Year of the Flood. Of course he planned all of this, and he created his own "perfect" species without the things that ordinarily bother human beings.

message 10: by Adria (new)

Adria | 2 comments And honestly, I think the only reason Crake found Oryx after all those years is because he knew it would get a rise out of Jimmy.

message 11: by Elena (new)

Elena | 1 comments I dont really think that Crake was angry with Jimmy because he was uuh doing Oryx. Jimmy and Crake are on whoole different levels- I think that Oryx was never really inlove with Jimmy, she was just seeking the physical relationship that was , well not lacking but rather boring with Crake.(I just finished readeing The Edible Woman and Crake really reminds me of Dunkan in that aspect.)I think that Oryx would have always chosen Crake over Jimmy.She treated Jimmy the way his previous lovers had treated him - as a fun guy, but not fun enough to leave their husbands.

message 12: by Marcy (new)

Marcy (Marshein) Wow I've really forgotten a lot about the book! I'm planning to read all 3 of them over again, one after the other.

message 13: by Julie (new)

Julie | 4 comments Marcy wrote: "Wow I've really forgotten a lot about the book! I'm planning to read all 3 of them over again, one after the other."

When I re-read Year of the Flood in preparation for reading MaddAdam, I was amazed that I'd forgotten about Toby using the beehives as a weapon against Blanco the Bloat and his minions. I'm a beekeeper and I didn't even remember it the first time I read the trilogy!(yeah, I know it's not a true trilogy, but the books definitely go together) Another thing that's pretty cool is that the spider/goat gene splice is real. They can make a substance stronger than steel with the goat splice milk. I was pretty sure that Oryx was published about the same time that happened and then I learned that Margaret Atwood's father was a biologist so her interest in how science would affect culture makes so much more sense.

message 14: by Jason (new)

Jason | 2 comments I was required to critically analyze this book from an abstract point of view, to which actually changed my entire opinion of the book from "just alright" to "fantastic plotline".

Look at how meticulously careful Crake is with his thoughts and actions. Crake told Jimmy that he did not want the Crakers asking where they came from, because they would then begin to worship deities. Oryx admitted to him that the Crakers had asked where they came from. Crake is too calculated of a character to completely ignore that if that was against his wishes, which he allowed everyone to believe.

Due to the fact that he intentionally blew this significant information off, you can assume that this was in Crake's intentions. So what were his terminal intentions?

I have a document that I wrote pertaining to his intentions, with specific textual references. If you are interested in reading a short analysis relating the plot to Crake fulfilling his God-complex by the end of the story, message me and I will forward you the link.

message 15: by Mary (new)

Mary Taitt (taittems) | 1 comments very interesting. However, I haven't a clue how to message you.

message 16: by Jason (new)

Jason | 2 comments I messaged you.

message 17: by Mary (new)

Mary Estrada | 1 comments This article made Chickie Nobs seem prescient. I love it when an author I respect gets there first.


message 18: by roder (last edited Aug 04, 2015 11:39AM) (new)

roder | 1 comments Just finished the book. I guess the interpretation was left up to the reader. I have some hypotheses:

1) Crake could not let Oryx live on with Jimmy, or their pre-apocalypse relationship problems may pass onto the Crakers. Another reason would be the possible procreation of homosapiens (having 1 male and female still alive), whereas I think Crake wanted the end of homosapiens species and only Crakers to inhabit the planet in the future (because they don't have the negatives of human nature and die at 30). I think Crake sacrificed himself for the ultimate goal of Crakers living in his ideal scenario, if he lived on they might worship him as God, or there's a possibility corporations would get their hands on Crake to make a vaccine, prevent the end goal etc.

2) If you recall, Crake asked Jimmy, "Would you kill someone you loved to spare them the pain." This could be the pain of Oryx knowing she participated in the systematic destruction of mankind, and when Oryx called Jimmy she was in shock about it all, and last thing she said was that she helped bring the pills to all those areas. So maybe Crake killed Oryx for that reason, while she was unconscious (mercy killing)

Another possibility is that Oryx contracted the virus; Crake entered the dome covered in blood (whose blood?), so its possible Oryx got the virus and he killed her and didn't want to live on without her (I dont think this is a plausible ending, because Crake would've planned to vaccinate Oryx, and he was not an emotionally-driven person)

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