Nature is benevolent. It may condone one mistake of the human being. It may accommodate him in his yet another folly. But when the human beings continue with the deliberate, malicious and intentional negative activities to destroy Nature, Nature will hit back with tremendous vigor, for it has to recoup its original, natural ‘health. ‘ Man is not the creature of Nature. Rather he is the product of the divine creative force that sustains the world. This novel by Atwood is grim and depressing and the contents therein, if it were to become true, do not augur well for the wellbeing of humanity.
This book can be categorized as Science Fiction or speculative fiction, but as one goes through the contents, it reads like predictions that will come true. There is a method in the imaginative narrations which reach the borders or truth. At the end of each chapter, the reader is compelled to nod his head and say-yes, this can happen! How then to make this Planet Earth heaven-like? The answer is simple and direct. Eyes full of understanding, heart full of love and deep respect for the laws of Nature and the life that refuses conflicts—enough, these alone are enough!
Two main themes dominate the book, Oryx and Crake. The novel relates to the distant future, the global warning has taken its toll, it has created many changes to the geography of Earth, that the coastal cities do not exist, and the name of New York is New New York. Umbrellas won’t do to go outside in the sun; one invites certain death. The wealthier areas of the world still dominate, well-protected under places known as compounds and areas known as The Pleebands still exist. People live the normal life here, and understand Nature and its glory better.
They know the real worth of God’s gifts to humanity. The plot of the book has three central characters. The narrator, Snowman, formerly known as Jimmy, is the only surviving human being on this Planet Earth. The sad beginning of the novel describes this terminally ill Snowman, sleeping in a tree. Food is in short supply; the sun is so hot that the Snowman has blisters on his body. The genetically engineered beings wolvogs and the pigoos that have managed to escape are now roaming the grounds, with no human beings to control them.
At this stage, Atwood makes the reader ponder, as to what a sad pass the human race has arrived and the responsibility rests squarely on the shoulders of the captains who led the human race. The role of the scientists becomes suspect here. No doubt, they obey the orders of the politicians and do research on weapons of more and more and destruction. When questioned, their reply is that they have no responsibility for its use. Atwood provides the imperative advice to those who govern the affairs of humanity that if proper review is not made in time, even the desperate remedies will not be able to avert the forthcoming desperate situations.
The important question is not who is responsible but what will happen to the Planet Earth, when such irreversible grim situations confront humanity—in this particular story, the humanity itself is extinct so who is there to tell the story and also listen to the story! To what a calamitous situation this mad craze for unending research has brought the human race, the so-called crown of creation! How the human beings are unable to know the real source of happiness? True happiness is not in reading more and more books, creating innovative materialistic objects.
The products of mind related thinking can never be the permanent source of happiness. To achieve the state of bliss, an individual has to cross the barrier of mind, rather transcend it. Now the only surviving human being the Snowman, has the added responsibility of looking after a group of humanoid creatures named the Crackers. His best friend Crake invented them and created such class of people. They are supposed to be ideal human beings. If only the individual who created such human being were to know the exact nature of ideal human beings! Crakers are strange creatures, with no emotions, no desires, and no sex drive.
They just procreate, as matter of reflex action. They are without any motivation. The concept of war is not known to these creatures, and this aspect seems to be the only good point about them. Being strict vegetarians, they have no desire for meat. They are simple people, but the meaning of their simplicity is not amenable to human reason. The question is, why for these Crakers were created at all? An important conclusion is the mind-less craze for research must stop. How to stop it and where to stop it, should be the concern of the leadership of the humanity.
A popular protest to halt the undesirable and unhealthy growth of research that affects the human life must be on the top of the agenda. This aspect of research can be illustrated with an example. An over the counter medication for diabetes claims—the cure for diabetes is guaranteed with this medicine. But the side effects reported are, hypertension, night-blindness, hair fall, palpitation of the heart, with possible heart attack, high blood pressure, blisters etc. Further research is in progress as to how to avoid these side-effects.
Is it not prudent to own the original disease, instead of extending a cordial invitation to so many side effects? So, this much about the world of research related to the medical world. So, the important question is why the world ended and why should it have ended thus. Due to the follies of the miniscule of minority of human beings, the majority had to face the ultimate disaster—total extinction! —Atwood elucidates this aspect convincingly and indicates her deep concern for the real happiness of human beings, which is an attainable reality provided right type of efforts are made.
Conclusion: One must read this book; one must re-read and ponder over the contents. The points mentioned in the book are logical and the conclusions are frightening. Just remember the atomic blasts done over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That was the time when the research on atomic weapons was still in its infancy. What if some mad political authority should initiate triggering the push-buttons of these silent demons? There won’t be a Snowman to collect the ashes of humanity perhaps! Does the humanity deserve this? Perhaps not! Are we taking action and thinking strongly to avert such a situation?
Perhaps not! Then who is to blame? Perhaps ourselves! The science-community, especially the bio-engineering division, is taken to task by Atwood and her deep suspicions about the craze of unending research are absolutely right. So, the scientists! —you may cross the moon and beat the stars; but probe and research you must the mysteries of a happy human heart! ************************** References Cited: Atwood, Margaret (Author) Book: Oryx and Crake. Paperback: 376 pages Publisher: Anchor (March 30, 2004) Language: English ISBN-10: 0385721676 ISBN-13: 978-0385721677