Oryx & Crake
Chapter One: Mango, Flotsam & Voice. Pages 5-15
1) We get the sense that this is a post-apocalyptic world. What clues are we given?
- Scarcity of food. Condition of life. The ignorance of the natives towards common
phrases and things. The sense that Snowman is the only one let of his species (humans).
2) What do we know of Snowman?
- He is the last human inhabited by different species (who we later learn are the Crakers).
He hallucinates that there are other humans (Oryx & Crake) with him who speak with
him regularly; however, he knows that they are only in his head. Snowman is also
experiencing an existential crisis resulting from his life conditions and his mental
3) What is the importance of the word ‘revision’?
- With this word, we see that Snowman’s mind and ability to comprehend his
surroundings are deteriorating. He needs to strain his mind to understand where he is.
4) At this point we don’t know who Crake or the people Snowman meets are, but what are
some clues that indicate what has happened?
- We know for sure that Snowman is the only human around, and we know that there are
beings of another species inhabiting the land. Moreover, in the section where Snowman
is expressing his depression at the fact that he’s the only human, he yells ‘Crake! Shit-
for-brains! Asshole!’, thus, we conclude that maybe this Crake character has something
to do with the condition that Snowman is living in.
Chapter Two (i): Bonfire and OrganInc Farms. Pages 19-34
5) Summarize Jimmy’s earliest memory and explain it’s significance
- There is a bonfire wherein which cows, sheep, and pigs were being burned for having
been infected by some form of disease. To get to the bonfire, Jimmy had to walk
through a disinfectant first, and he was worried that this disinfectant would harm the eyes of the rubber ducks on his feet, even though he was told that nothing would
happen to them, he still was afraid for them. This tells us that Jimmy is very empathetic,
sensitive, and doesn’t want anything harmful to happen to anything he cares for.
6) Describe the family dynamics that complicate Jimmy’s childhood.
- Jimmy’s father is nice to him, but he’s often busy with work and does not have enough
time for him. Jimmy’s mother at first was hardly home because she was working, and
Jimmy didn’t complain because at that point in time, Delores took care of him and
nurtured him, and he loved her dearly… However, his mother decided to stay at home
to have more time for Jimmy (which she didn’t) and so Delores was no longer needed.
7) Explain the pigoon
- Pigoons are GMO’s that have human organs (transplanted in them of course), and were
programmed to regrow organs. Thus, they would provide a large supply of food.
8) After reading OrganInc, explain the differences we see between Jimmy’s mother and his
- Mainly, Jimmy’s father always seemed to be optimistic and happy about his life,
whereas his mother was always depressed, pessimistic, and that is one of the causes of
9) Jimmy is shown as having some sensitivity. How does this show itself?
- Well first and foremast, the scene where he’s afraid for the eyes of the rubber duck’s
being harmed by the disinfectant. Another point would be his attachment to Delores
and how he felt after she left.
10)Jimmy’s childhood foreshadows that he will have a complicated future with women.
What does the reader see that would provide hints of this?
- Typically, a male’s relationship with females is dictated or guided by his relationship
with his mother. We see that Jimmy has to push it to the limit just to get a reaction from
his mother; he has to keep pushing and pushing until she responds, and it makes sense
how this affects his relationships with other women as we progress through the book. Chapter Two (ii): Lunch + Chapter Three (i): Nooners. Pages 35-50
11)What are some indications that Jimmy’s role as a son and his mother’s role as a mother
have been reversed or at least mixed up?
- Mostly in things where a mother should be the one to remember, Sharon doesn’t, and
Jimmy has to remind her (i.e – his birthday, lunch, etc.)
12)We get glimpses of Jimmy’s father’s crudity. In what way could we parallel his
inappropriateness to Jimmy’s mother?
- Jimmy’s mother doesn’t approve of his father’s inappropriateness, but she’s too
emotional to confront him and win the argument. Basically, in their relationship,
Jimmy’s mother is much too emotional and depressed to have any real say in what
Jimmy’s father should or should not say to him.
13)What games did Jimmy & Crake play in their childhood
- Chess, Extinctathon, Three-Dimensional Waco, Barbarian Stomp, and Kwiktime Osama.
Chapter Three (ii): Downpour + Chapter Four (i): Rakunk. Pages 50-70
14)Jimmy has experienced a great deal of loneliness in his childhood. From pages 58-61, we
can see his mother and father seem more and more false with him, almost as if they
were ‘authentic replicas’ of parents. Quote some passages that prove this.
- ‘This hearty way of talking *in reference to Jimmy’s dad+ was getting worse, as if his
father was auditioning for the role of Dad.’
15)What do Dolores, Ramona, and Killer all have in common?
- They’re the characters that Jimmy’s relationship with is not superficial (unlike his
relationship with his mother and his father).
16)What is the purpose of the Nooskins pigoon? - Nooskins pigeons were supposed to produce cells that, when injected in people, would
remove all signs of aging (wrinkles and more of the same).
17)Jimmy’s mother does not like their new house or her husband’s new job. Explain why
- Jimmy’s mother doesn’t like their new house because, well, she didn’t like their old
house because security was tight in the compound and there was no privacy (she felt
like she was being watched), and in this new compound, security was even more
intrusive and there were much more of them than in the old compound. As for her
husband’s job, she disapproved that human brains were being implanted in pigs, and
disapproved that the purpose of these GMO’s was solely to rob desperate people of
Hammer & Crake (i). Pages 70-91
18)We are seeing motifs in the novel. Explain the significance of the use of the word ‘son’
and the use of ‘Alex’
- Alex is a rebellious parrot on a DVD that Jimmy frequently watches. Alex’s presence in
the story and Jimmy’s frequent watching and admiration of Alex is a statement that
Jimmy is sick of being treated like a moron. As for the use of ‘son’, everyone who had
any authority over Jimmy called him ‘son’, his father and the men from CorpseCorps
who interviewed him about his missing mother.
19)How had Jimmy betrayed his parents and how do his parents betray him?
- Jimmy betrays his parents on a small scale by setting up microphones in the house to
hear them when they argue, but he betrayed them on a larger scale by creating an act
with his hands, each hand symbolizing one of his parents, and by mocking his parents at
school. At times, Jimmy even felt that he took the mocking too far, but he loves the
attention (which makes sense, since he gets no attention at home), so he keeps going.
Jimmy’s mother betrays him by leaving and taking his beloved rakunk with her. Jimmy’s
father betrays him simply by not caring all that much to become a part of Jimmy’s life. 20)Record three significant points about Crake and Jimmy
- Jimmy: 1) In constant need of attention. 2) Has has an imperfect (or conflicted)
understanding of love, due to his dysfunctional family. 3) Empathetic, since when he
thinks he saw Oryx looking at him through the camera, he knew he had to save her.
- Crake: 1) ‘Intellectually honourable’, as Jimmy’s mother put it. 2) Is a grandmaster at
Extinctathon, which means that he is an eco-fascist/terrorist. 3) His priorities are not the
same of any other boy hitting puberty, the only he has in common with other boys of his
age is that he watches porn.
21)On page 89, Atwood has fun with Joltbar, Happicuppuchino, and SoyOBoyburgers.
Explain how each would reflect something interesting.
- These fictional corporations have fictional parallels in the ‘real world’, such as Starbucks,
McDonalds, and any energy protein bar (juiced with steroids) company. All of these
companies are ones that practice unethical measures to achieve corporate goals.
Hammer & Crake (ii). Pages 91-111
22)Name and describe the games that Jimmy & Crake play.
- Qwiktime Osama; Infidels vs. Bin Laden
- Extinctathon; Name all extinct species (as you progress