This of its accuracy of modern society. According

This
essay will focus on Margret Atwood’s novel Oryx and Crake. This dystopian
fiction was one of the first of its genre and it creates a fictional world
which deals with many present day issues. There are many different ways in
which this novel manipulates human nature: genetic manipulation, manipulation
in relationships and manipulation in society itself. Therefore the aim of this
essay is to show how Oryx and Crake is an innovative book which deals with
modern day issues and impacts the reader because of its accuracy of modern
society.  

According
to Drabble dystopia is a term coined to convey the opposite of utopia: the
dystopia mode, which projects an unpleasant or catastrophic future, is
frequently used by science fiction writers. Dystopia is used to describe a
utopian society in which things have gone wrong. Utopias and dystopias have
very similar traits and characteristics when it comes to science fiction and
fantasy. Both are usually set in the future where there are prefect living
conditions. Once the setting is created by the author and they determine
whether it is a utopian or dystopian, the novel usually concentrates on the
psychology and emotions of the people who live under the conditions. Dystopias
are a way in which authors express their concerns about the society and
humanity. The presence of dystopias is a way in which authors can warn members
of society to pay attention to their own society they live in to show how
easily things can go from bad to worse in a blink of an eye. Snyder claims that
dystopian speculative fiction takes what already exists and makes an
imaginative leap into the future, following current social cultural, political
or scientific developments to their potentially devastating conclusions (470). Snyder
then explains that in Atwood’s words, speculative fictions explore “the
consequences of new and proposed technologies in graphic ways by showing them
as fully operational, yet the imaginative effects of dystopian literary
speculations depend precisely on their readers’ recognition of a potential
social realism in the fictional worlds portrayed therein (470). What Snyder is
saying here is that these cautionary tales of the future work by evoking an
uncanny sense of the simultaneous familiarity and strangeness of these brave
new worlds (470). Oryx and Crake Protagonist Snowman lives in a tree after the
collapse of civilisation, taking care of a new generation of genetically
modified species of human. The narrative of the story portrays the struggle
people are going through in their attempt to survive the over grown,
post-apocalyptic landscape while traveling back to snowman’s childhood and
adulthood before the collapse. There are many different interesting factors
which lead to this dystopia and its effect on human nature.

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In
Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake a picture is painted of a world where humanity
itself is the sole reason for its destruction. Numerous characters fall victim
to the high level of corruption and manipulation present in this dystopia.
However the increase in this corruption and manipulation is down to one thing,
people’s ignorance. Characters in the novel follow that “We understand more
than we know” (Atwood 328). People know how bad in reality the situation is
however they choose to just put it in the back of their mind and forget about
it. This type of behaviour is responsible for the destruction of the world as a
whole. People don’t want to think about the environment if it does not affect
them right away. This is a major problem because people do not oppose the
cooperation’s which are running wild around them and they ultimately cause the
downfall of the world. The presence of unregulated capitalism was one of the
key contributors to the collapse. The free market was seen as the ultimate
authority and this was a danger to the stability of society. Jimmy, a younger
snowman grows up in the future where corporations are the most powerful members
of society. People with cooperate jobs saw a great amount of advantages
including being able to live in a walled in compounded which protected them from
the dangers of the outside world. These walled in compounds where state of the
art and filled with facilities including schools for the children and were they
were policed. Snyder explains how Atwood sees the future by uttering in the
near future elites would work and play in manicured gated communities, while
everyone else is relegated to dangerous urban jungles known as pleeblands
(471). These massive compounds are surrounded by slums or pleeblands. In these
pleeblands people struggle to survive day to day life. The jobs people have in
these places pay very little and it is barely enough for one person to survive
let alone a whole family. Due to the huge levels of poverty which exists in
these pleeblands the people are susceptible to violence and pollution because
the area is not policed. This means that the rate of violence in Oryx and Crake
is very high because there is no police presence and the people have to fend
for themselves. The only form of protection in Oryx and Crake is the
CorpSeCorps who are private military who work for the nearest compound. Snyder
explains how biotech corporations command their own secret police forces such
as the CorpSeCrops which are genetically engineered life forms are trademarked
and marketed for medical purposes and lifestyle enhancement but they have a
massive effect on global warming (471). This private military is no help to the
people suffering in the pleeblands. We can see a clear contrast between the two
different types of living which is present in Oryx and Crake. On the one hand
we have a utopia which lives safety behind there walls and are not exposed to
the dangers and struggles of life outside the walls. And on the other hand we
have a dystopian where people live in slums struggling to survive and fighting
for their lives on a day to day basis. We can clearly see how human nature is
manipulated by capitalism. The people who live behind there walls in their
castles are completely going against their human nature in this novel because
they see the people in the slums struggling but they don’t do anything to help
they are happy to enjoy their life from the comfort of their compounds. These
corporate entities only care about one thing and that’s, themselves.

The
presence of science without limits in Atwood’s dystopian novel Oryx and Crake
is another factor which manipulates people’s human nature. Genetic modification
goes completely against human nature because human are just supposed to be
humans what we are born with is how we are. But in Oryx and Crake many of these
cooperate entities that live in these compounds specialize in genetic
modification. Jimmy’s father was one of these scientists so he got to see
genetic modification first hand. Appleton et al claims that jimmy’s earliest
memory of his father’s experiments was both of them observing, together, a
bonfire in which the infected corpses of genetically modified lab animals are
being incinerated (15). His father worked for a company who produced DNA which
was used to grow and animal called a Pigoon and the sole purpose for these
animals was that they would be harvested for their organs for people who needed
replacements. These corporations do not have morals there main aim is to make
money whatever way possibly and genetic modification was one of their more lucrative
projects. They began to sell their service to customers who wanted to improve
their sexual performance and boost their appearance. People always want to be
young or at least appear young as if they were. People must always look
healthy, strong and even sporty. Medicine is used for this and this is why so
many people did not object to the test on animals and the growing of different
animals in order to benefit them. The growing of Pigoons was completely inhuman
and their only purpose was to be harvested however they didn’t care because it
benefited their pockets and kept them out of the slums. This showed how human
nature has been manipulated by the presence of a dystopian society which exists
outside their walls. People will go against human nature if it means their
livelihood is safe as a result and that they can safely remain inside the
walls. The production of these animals was perfectly fine by people and it
seemed to have no consequences for them however, the apocalypse hit the pigoons
roamed the wild in herds hunting anything which they came across including
humans. This shows that the animals should never have been designed and
produced like they were. There is a hint of karma because the people who
created these creatures for the sole purpose of harvesting them are now being
hunted for them in this dystopia which has been created by the apocalypse.

The
cultural numbness which is present in Oryx and Crake is a direct by product of
dystopian fiction. The implantation of the internet was supposed to bring
people around the world closer and bring a shared sense of understanding but
that was quite the opposite result. From our early reading of the book we learn
that Crake is Jimmy’s best friend from childhood but jimmy’s is not just an
ordinary character he is highly intelligent for his age and displays very
little empathy. The internet seems to have no rules for Jimmy and crake that
sometimes get high and begin to browse the internet in search of entertainment.
However the entertainment they search is not a good sign. They begin to watch
all nude channels, executions and child pornography. They also go on to ask
Oryx about her life being a victim of child pornography and she says “Why do
you care? … I don’t care. I never think about it. It’s long ago now” (Atwood
117). This shows that neither of the two characters displays any empathy
towards Oryx situation and Crake even uses it to his advantage later on in the
novel because he sees Oryx as an easy target and uses her to distribute the
BlyssPluss pill, responsible for the worldwide epidemic (Atwood 325). Later on
in the novel Oryx apologizes for what happened and did not know what Crake plan
was (Atwood 325). Jimmy is very sceptical about Oryx and believes although she
did not know the full intentions of Crake, that surely she would understand his
evil nature and anticipate his horrendous action. However Oryx is too innocent
and as she was as a child once again taken advantage of by Crake and she does
not understand the evil which surrounds her. Crake uses his intelligence for
evil and manipulates Oryx to do exactly what he wants. Oryx’s cognitive
dissonance leads to her begin taken advantage of and doing Crakes dirty work
for him. This part of the novel is very important because it shows how
characters can be manipulated by evil which has been placed in this dystopian
fiction by Atwood.

It
is not only the characters in this novel which are manipulated by dystopia but
also the reader. Karen F. Stein states the work is an “antiutopian speculative
fiction-adventure romance-Menippean satire” (155). This can be seen as true and
Atwood creates an oppressive society which deals with present day issues. She
covers the issues of experimentation on animals as a key topic to arise our
feelings. The reader can be manipulated by the main character Jimmy who can be
seen as an anti-hero. As a character Jimmy is very relatable to and the readers
can identify with him because he is taken advantage of by the society around
him and even though he is somewhat responsible for what happens he can to
really do anything major to help it. This is relatable for readers because
there is tons of horrible things happening out in the world but a regular
person cannot influence these things. Atwood enjoyed to creating fictional
future societies in her novels which dealt with present day topics. Oryx and
Crake is no exception to her previous novel The handmaiden’s Tale and it is
based in the future in the United States. The novel deals with present day
issues such as climate change and exploitation and experimentation of animals. In
the novel pharmaceutical companies dominate and this not so far off reality.
The DNA modification which is present in the novel is beginning to be gradually
integrated into our society. All these issues which Margret Atwood puts into
her stories deal with issue that are happening in reality. The issues she
places in her novel are there for a reason because they make her novel more credible
and striking to readers. It is interesting to think about whether Atwood
believes that the apocalypse which has happened in her novel will happen in
real life. If humans continue on will there be a total collapse. Atwood uses
her fictive setting to raise issues about present day society and discuss them
and their effects on the world and on the people that live in it.   

The
aim of a dystopian novel is to try and make people aware of the flaws and vices
of the society which surround them in everyday life. They can sometimes exaggerate
these issues to put emphasize on them and to get people thinking but the
futuristic society allows them to do it. The writer uses different events to
shock the reader and get their attention. These different events arouse the
reader and get them to think which is necessary to try and enact change. Contemporary
dystopias are interested in dealing with scientific aspects of our society and discussing
the ethical issues which affect our society. As discussed previously Atwood
main object of the novel is to try and awaken readers and bring light to
important issues. In Oryx and Crake society is corrupted by consumerism and
uncontrolled capitalism and the desire for scientific innovation.  Atwood plays her role as a shocking author by
creating this frightening society and them making us realize that everything
she talks about in her novel already exists in the real world or is about to be
implemented. These really gets readers thinking about what type of society they
live in and are they being manipulated by the society they live in.  

Margaret
Atwood’s Oryx and Crake cements Atwood as an author who deals with moral and
ethical issues and is eager to point out the flaws in society and try and make
people aware of them through her writing. A perfect line which sums up Atwood
perfectly is said by Bouson “Atwood, in her dual roles as the artist-trickster
and the author ethicist, sets out both to teach and delight” (17). Margaret is
the perfect writer for the people because she uses her writing to discuss
important issues about society and she opens her reader’s eyes about the danger
which surround them in everyday life. She also gives a sense of hope towards
the end of the novel and believes people can change aspects of society to
prevent any major catastrophes from occurring. She leaves her readers with a
choice to make in their lives whether to follow the path of the novel and
plunge into an apocalypse or to watch out for any tell-tale signs and fix them
together.