Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam, #1) Oryx and Crake discussion


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Oryx's Role

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Adam Boisvert So, what was Oryx's final role in things. Did Crake do what he did for her, or was his own personality more responsible?


Caitlin Martin Oh, I think Crake's personality was definitely more responsible. After reading TYOF, I'm pretty sure we're going to need to read the last book of the series before all of the questions are answered. Hopefully, Oryx's role in the whole ordeal with be further expounded, although it seems like she was just a pawn to me.


Deborah A childhood victim of human trafficking, Oryx seemed to be upgraded to mistress and, like in "The Bad Girl" by LLosa, she was a pawn in a high-stakes game. I hope there is more fleshing out on her character's impact in the third book. She appeared to enjoy her interactions with Crakes' "new-improved humans." She got to use some of her natural gifts of simple and visual communication. I liked that part, an awakening in a woman who has suffered much.Oryx and Crake


Scott Smithson I am still scratching my head over her role.

I'm sure Atwood had a plan to juxtapose Oryx's nurturing feminine role with the Crakers to Crake's masculine creator role. Or maybe she was there just to create conflict. I certainly didn't feel the love triangle plot was particularly well developed. She didn't really feel like a victim. In fact, she scorned Snowman for treating her like one.

Her role, to me, feels undeveloped. I am hoping other books in the trilogy illuminate the purpose of her prominent position in the title.


message 5: by M (new) - rated it 4 stars

M I agree with the previous comments. If Jimmy hadn't been interested in Oryx, could Crake have manipulated him? I don't think so. I think she's an important pawn.


message 6: by Erick (new) - added it

Erick Pettersen I viewed Oryx & Crake as a 21st century version of Orwell's 1984, and the relationship of Oryx & Crake as being likened to that of Winston & Julia.

Consider that Oryx grew up in the sex trade, a business that had become all but legitimized throughout the world. Orwell had characterized Julia as working to repair porno novel-writing machines.

Atwood, like Orwell before her, is describing what she suspects the world may be like at some time in the future. While Atwood's world is more physically descriptive, it remains largely obscured. And Oryx, like Julia before her, is characterized to show the coming loss of morality within this future society.

Yes, her role was undeveloped; though, I saw that as being due to Atwood not wanting to come across as predicting what the future would look like, rather just giving an idea that there would be a loss of morality.


Scott Smithson Erick wrote: "I viewed Oryx & Crake as a 21st century version of Orwell's 1984, and the relationship of Oryx & Crake as being likened to that of Winston & Julia.



Sure, but then why set up a juxtaposition in the title. Atwood set the expectation that Oryx's symbolic/actual role is just as important as Crake's, which it clearly isn't. Yet. 1984 wasn't entitled "Winston and Julia".

I think the novel is a beautifully constructed story with an oddly decided title.


message 8: by Erick (new) - added it

Erick Pettersen That is a good question. Perhaps, one could speculate that just as Orwell meant to say that the year 1984 itself determined our fate, Atwood intended to say that men's overall mistreatment of women and refusal to give women their proper respect in society determines our coming fate.


Scott Smithson While I wouldn't argue for one minute the dire consequences to society regarding the mistreatment of women, I don't think that the Oryx character had the power to be a tragedy. What I mean is that she just wasn't that important to the overall point of the story. Even the love triangle was underdeveloped. I am also hard pressed to draw the conclusion that the corporatist horror Atwood describes is necessarily a feminist construction. (Whereas in Handmaid's Tale it is, and a scary one). I'm currently reading Year of the Flood... I am hoping that my understanding of the Oryx role is filled out.

Maybe she's a Bene Geserit.


message 10: by Erick (new) - added it

Erick Pettersen Year of the Flood is next. Right after I get through The Girl Who Played with Fire. I agree Oryx's death was not tragic. I honestly saw all of it as Atwood's attempts to manipulate her audience's moods and apathy toward the coming loss of morality. Hopefully, it will all come together after Year of the Flood.


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Adria Marea wrote: "I agree with the previous comments. If Jimmy hadn't been interested in Oryx, could Crake have manipulated him? I don't think so. I think she's an important pawn."

I agree. I think that the whole reason Crake found Oryx was to get under Jimmy's skin. I am not sure though it he cared about her or not. He killed her, but why? What it because he wanted no other humans to survive or was it because he didn't want Jimmy to have her?


Marissa I think the title Oryx and Crake, features Oryx's name not so much as a character that should have been more prominent. The novel's protagonist is Jimmy "Snowman" and so I think the title should be read from his point of view; as in, Oryx and Crake are the two people that changed his life forever.


message 13: by Sara (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sara Marissa wrote: "I think the title Oryx and Crake, features Oryx's name not so much as a character that should have been more prominent. The novel's protagonist is Jimmy "Snowman" and so I think the title should be..."

Exactly my impression. Jimmy is telling the story of himself, Oryx & Crake, but he doesn't feel that he was as important as they were. My guess is that if you asked Atwood, she'd say that this is the title Jimmy would have chosen.


Marissa Sara wrote: "Marissa wrote: "I think the title Oryx and Crake, features Oryx's name not so much as a character that should have been more prominent. The novel's protagonist is Jimmy "Snowman" and so I think the..."

I really like how you phrased that,"...this is the title Jimmy would have chosen." Bittersweet, just like the Snowman.


message 15: by Huw (new) - rated it 5 stars

Huw Evans Crake is the ultimate control freak. Having known Snowman for a long time, he would have been aware and remembered Snowman's feelings toward Oryx. Yet again Oryx was trafficked and exploited, knowing tha Snowman would be more compliant to Crake's requirements. She was both gift and blackmail.


message 16: by Esther (last edited Dec 03, 2011 12:50AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Esther At times I felt that Crake used Oryx as a distraction for Jimmy so that Jimmy wouldn't realise what he was up to but then was Jimmy clever enough to work it out?
Or maybe she was a pre-compensation to his best friend for what he was about to do to the world?


message 17: by Miw (new) - rated it 2 stars

Miw Rob wrote: "Atwood's presentation of Oryx niggles me. A very large part of "Oryx and Crake" is devoted to her, but she never (so far) has been developed. Maybe this is meant to reflect her childhood and how sh..."

I think this is to reflect how Jimmy sees her. From the first time he (thinks) he sees her in a porno, to when he interacts with her in person, he doesn't really see her as a whole human being. He sees her in relation to himself, in relation to Crake, but he never really seems to see her as a person in her own right.


message 18: by John (new) - rated it 3 stars

John Carlson I agree with the comment that the title would make perfect sense to Jimmy/Snowman ... however, I think Atwood was up to more than that.

Crake and Oryx both have been hurt by the exploitation caused by runaway capitalism (i.e., the murder of Crake's father and Oryx's childhood sex slavery). As Jimmy says repeatedly, though, Oryx doesn't seem to have any repressed anger at the world; Crake, on the other hand, proves to be a little less forgiving. While Oryx believes in Crake's fake plan to moderate the pain caused by the exploitative system governing their world, Crake secretly believes that the only solution is to burn everything to the ground in revenge. In a way, Oryx is an embodiment of the human capacity for hope that Crake derides and manipulates - they represent the extremes that Snowman fluctuates between.


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