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Oryx and Crake - Margaret Atwood

Phase One: Research, History, and Analysis

Margaret Atwood's beautifully written and research driven dystopic novel is one of my absolute favorites. Simultaneously harshly unforgiving of human nature while fiercely protective of it, the story follows a fictional account of the last living man we know only as "Snowman." He exists in a postapocolyptic world with only a clan of genetically modified humans for company. We learn that the destruction of the human race was brought about by the steadily declining state of the environment, the striking gap between the rich and poor, as well as a substantial increase in genetic modification and experimentation sans any moral lines. We follow Snowman through a hind-sight story of how the world came to fall apart and was inevitably ended by his former best friend and mastermind, Crake, who himself died alongside Snowman's one true love, Oryx.

Oryx and Crake has had a few covers. Most focus on the theme of religion and Christianity, rightfully so. The Genetically modified humans in the book, called Crakers after their creator, were created to be 'better' than regular humans in that they were gentle, less prone to violence and war, and not hardwired to question or leave room for any kind of religion (thus reducing arguments/wars/etc). However, Snowman amuses himself by telling the Crakers that there is a God, and his name is Crake. Crake having been atheist and against religion, would have found this completely against everything he believed in. Even from a farther perspective, there are many instances of the 'fruit of knowlege' bringing destruction to the human world as well as the wiping out of the human race a reference to Noah's Ark, etc etc. The new world and new humans could be likened to the Garden of Eden and Adam and Eve, and Snowman to the snake.

The one above is from "The Fall" by Lucas Cranach the Elder. It is a mirror image upon itself, cutting out the worried expression of Adam and instead focusing on the fact that he is holding the forbidden fruit, seeming to offer it to Eve (twisting the original).

This cover features a small corner of The Garden of Earthly Delights by Bosch. You can see a Pig on the lower left corner (one of the animals featured in the book that has been genetically modified with human brain cells/tissue, evolving it into a highly intelligent version of a pig). 

This is a more direct approach, showing the green eyes of the Crakers and a blooming flower with Oryx and Crake (their 'Creators') in the middle of it.

This last one (Actually the first released edition) is also a bit more direct. It shows the harsh environment and a single silhouette, directly conveying the loneliness and emptiness of the 'new' world. Only in a violent Red up top do we see the title of the book, also the title of the two forces pulling Snowman in the book.

I'm really looking forward to trying my hand at it! Please check back for updates!

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