Oryx and Crake

I listened to the unabridged audio version of this speculative novel by Margaret Atwood. She has amazingly crafted such intimacy with her characters. I refer especially to the most interesting hero of the book. Of course, the hero is neither Oryx nor Crake but the self-denigrating narrator Snowman. Jimmy or The Abominable Snowman, as he calls himself, is a movingly sad though resilient person.
I can’t help but think about how Crake, the tormented genius, saw his only friend. He obviously saw the strength in Jimmy that Jimmy himself didn’t know. He thought him strong enough to survive his own manipulation. Atwood is so incredibly good with character that I think I can read into Crake what he had planned. He needed someone strong to bear the burden of his new species. It’s obvious to me that Crake set it all up. He found Oryx just to ensnare Jimmy. He hired her and ensured that she had enough hints to figure out part of Crake’s sociopathic master plan to wipe out humanity to make room for his own creation.
So Oryx would have Jimmy promise to take care of the Crakers. It is all speculation, of course. Crake planning all that…? But he was smart enough to pull it off.
I give you Crake’s last words. They go something like “You know what to do, Jimmy.” Then like some kind of tragic opera, he kills Oryx. But why? Jealousy? I don’t think so. By killing her, he ensures Jimmy has no else but the Crakers to be responsible for. He knows Jimmy will react with his own murder. Crake expects to die. He wants to die; he is so possessed by his genetic masterpieces (his ‘floor models’ as he calls them) that he ensures even he doesn’t influence them. He can’t bias his creation if he’s dead.
I think that Crake’s convinced that Jimmy’s character, though strong, won’t effect his Crakers. But here is his error. The Crakers feel so much for Snowman that they do something that Crake had strived so hard to eliminate from their genes. They create an effigy or an artistic likeness of Snowman while he goes back to the Paradise Dome. They need him that much. I wonder what Crake would think of that. His intellect may be off the scale but he still might consider it frightening.


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