Science and Dystopias
In her novel “Oryx and Crake,” Atwood, who is a biologist’s daughter, vividly imagined a world of the late 21st century, which is ravaged by innovations in biological science. Just like many of her literary future imaginations, her vision is bleak, mournful and infernal, which has been punctuated in her style with an occasional macabre joke. In the novel, it can be inferred that Atwood’s pilgrim in the hell is Snowman. This character is the only human who manages to survive. Snowman, formerly referred to as Jimmy, is just the arboreal living in trees and shelters of junk.
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He roams the picnic grounds as well as the beaches of the former park. The novel has been described as speculative fiction and adventure romance as opposed to science fiction because it transcends realism and addresses the things already invented. Oryx and Crake have been a subject in many presentations, discussing the ideas of post-nature and post-humanism, as well as apocalypse and survival. The paper analyzes the book by Atwood in terms of the gender differences in the society in relation to science whereby it also discusses whether the novel is clearly showing women's oppression in society.
Atwood’s book, Oryx and Crake, shows that society fails to value the feminine species in the world. Literature and the arts are being disrespected by Atwood in the book because they are associated with women whereby everything regarded as the feminine is seen and assumed to be weak, with no value, and unintelligent. Men are associated with science, and the author states that science is for the elite who demonstrate intelligent characters. The only lifestyles, which are valid are contributed by the feminine in a malleable way.
The book characterizes Crake as the only masculine person whereby he is seen to be oppressing Oryx and Jimmy who work simply because of their feminine genes. The author uses the two characters, Oryx and Crake, to demonstrate to the reader's society with no value for the one born with the feminine gene. However, in the end, the author shows that feminine qualities are as significant as masculine ones and that the differences are just stereotypes created by humans to oppress the other gender. Nevertheless, both are important when it refers to humanity. The novel poses a question, which every reader should be able to answer after reading the book, why society can be able to operate without much-needed empathy.
In the novel, the two characters, Crake and Jimmy, represent different views on humanity. Whereas Crake is seen to represent the views of the elite, Jimmy is the happy medium that exists between the disadvantaged and the elite. Crake and Jimmy's art and science discussions are interesting as Jimmy with his defense of art is positioned feminine and self-indulgent, while Crake represents science which is viewed as being in the genes of the male species. This is showed by his performance that is purely masculine and with power. In fact, the arts are considered feminine in Atwood’s book. This is because Jimmy who represents the arts, in this case, is viewed as worthless. His only purpose is like other females to serve the needs of biology, which is to satisfy men sexually. Whereas Jimmy’s only interests are to have a joyful life, Crake is more attracted to the sexual, which he believes is a biological necessity.
Traditionally, just like in the book, there is a common misconception that while men only want sex, women are always looking for a stable relationship. This means that men are concerned with the biological sexual pleasure of women when women need to be cared for and loved by men. Crake as an ultimate male is always looking for biological sexual pleasures which he calls necessities while Jimmy, being a feminine character, wants to experience love despite the challenges of getting love. According to Atwood (2003), Jimmy says that he thinks they should stop the courtship behavior as they will be just hormone robots. He admits that he will arrange everything with Crake, but he is looking for excitement and joy in life. Crake, on the other hand, is interested in using the feminine gender because they are to be exploited for biological needs.
Jimmy is, however, overpowered by Crake in the argument using outrageous antics as well as uncompromising theories. While Jimmy defends his love for art, Crake is always belittling him. In regards to this, art refers to females, about whom Crake argues that they serve a biological role, and their only purpose is to satisfy a scientific need. In the book, the feminine characters have only one obligation, which is to realize the desires of Crake and the other masculine.
How Science is Modified in the Novel
In the novel, Jimmy is a word person, and his talents are worthwhile only when it is connected with his ability to do adverts for elite scientists. The only option for how he can become a valid member of society is to resort to the role of the science slave. Once again, this has represented the overpowering of masculinity and science over femininity and the arts. Crake has been Jimmy’s superior both at work and within their society. Atwood’s ideas are based on the morality of the women; this is the greatest respect and awe for the master. She states that morality is the situation that condemns the women to the position of celibate, prostitution, recklessness, and incessant breeder of unfortunate children.
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Throughout the novel, Jimmy has shown that he is caring and empathetic, as he sympathizes both with the animals and others. Empathy and a sense of mothering care for others are what he shows. This describes some feminine traits in our society as well as in the futuristic world of Atwood.
Oryx, who is the main female character, is depicted as a child slave in her youth. At the age of eight, Oryx meets both Crake and Jimmy when they are searching for a pornographic site. In the entire novel, Oryx has a subordinate position. She is being used to pleasure men, and this sets the stage for her entire life. Crake and Jimmy have sexual relations with Oryx (Atwood, 2003). Though Crake uses her without care, Jimmy has feelings for her as he is effeminate. Oryx is forced into service of a surrogate mother for Crake’s children, which makes her both a mother and a prostitute.
Today, in conservative societies and religions, women are regarded to be tools for men to satisfy their sexual desires. This is because their beliefs suggest that men can have sexual intercourse with any woman they want as long as they are not related, and women are not supposed to object. In the novel, this is because all women are thought to please their husbands’ and masters’ desires at any time. This shows that women have nothing to choose from if they engage in a sexual affair with any man in the society. The social development of femininity and masculinity is constructed to contribute to the existing disparities. Whereas boys are oriented to becoming working and established men, girls are focused on emotional work within and outside the house.
The perception that women are meant to give birth and stay in the kitchen has changed. Women are now treated with respect and considered able to handle any office work. Women can now join politics and be voted for. They are in the media and also hold serious posts in the government. They work in the education sector, transport, and production. The stereotypic thought that women cannot perform and yield fruits has been eradicated in society. Though women experience many challenges, this journey can be made easier if societies recognize their efforts and treat them fairly.
The Science of Women as Portrayed in the Novel
Crake sees Oryx as a sexual object and the one who can give birth to children. Crake constructs Oryx as a variety of a goddess mother, therefore bringing the two versions of females in the economy of his desire-mother or prostitute. Being arrogant, Crake is a male chauvinist who thinks and feels that he is the solution to all the human challenges. He assumes that the problems in the universe are in science and masculinity, and thus he tries to work to change this with the help of his scientific knowledge. He uses his abilities to create the new species ‘Crakers’ that seem to be an interesting race. These species are meant to live without the science, arts, God or love.
With time, as the result of the inquisitive nature of humans as the ultimate power of the arts, the Crakers are beginning to worship Crake and Oryx. The Crakers learn through storytelling and often ask Snowman (Jimmy) a question, which he answers in the form of a story. Jimmy, being an effeminate artist, resorts to the femininity power and expression via the arts and stories. He becomes the androgynous Snowman after the apocalypse, and Snowman is not mainly dominated by science as Crake who is the masculine scientific genius and who destroys science.
Throughout the novel, it can be seen that feminine characters are being used and then avoided. The sick have been left in weak as well the sick animals where many people are left to die. In the novel, the society is not caring, and in which strength and brute skills are said to be the virtue. In the end, the feminine traits and the world of the feminine prevail. The novel can be used to explain science and dystopia where science and real-life issues can be seen as contradictory in the book.