Oryx and Crake

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Oryx and Crake Chapter 10 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Vulturizing. Jimmy graduates in four years from Martha Graham university with his degree in Problematics. After graduation he moves in with his girlfriend, Amanda Payne. They live in one of the modules (A kind of suburban middle-ground between the pleebland cities and the compounds) with two other men. Amanda and the two men had grown up in the pleeblands, and look down on Jimmy for being a compound brat. Amanda believes Jimmy lacks integrity, and he often disappoints her, as when he brought home a bucket of ChickieNobs for dinner once. Jimmy likes to antagonize Amanda and her friends when they discuss everything that’s gone wrong with society, asking them comically what their perfect solutions are.
Amanda is another character whose integrity seems to outshine Jimmy’s. She has lived outside of the compounds and is less sheltered than he is. She is disgusted that Jimmy can eat ChickieNobs—and the reader should be surprised, too, that Jimmy can eat them even after seeing, and being horrified by, the genetically altered chickens from which they came That he can demonstrates Jimmy’s own moral failing, his ability to overlook or not act upon his disgust. Jimmy laughs at others for complaining without having a “perfect solution” in mind. This is ironic given that Crake’s “solution” ultimately demonstrates the danger that emphasis on “perfect solutions” poses to society.
Themes
Scientific Progress & Its Costs Theme Icon
Corporate Power & Commodification Theme Icon
The State of Human Relationships Theme Icon
Amanda receives a grant to do her artwork, installation projects called “vulture sculptures” where she spells out words using the carcasses of dead animals, and lets vultures feed on them, taking a photo from a helicopter above. She says “vulturizing” words both brings them to life and kills them. When Jimmy gets a job with AnooYoo, Amanda is sickened by his decision to work in the compounds. She breaks up with him, and next vulturizes the word “love.”
Amanda has an interest in words similar to Jimmy. She is aware of the need to keep language alive, and she is aware of its continued death in this culture. However, even though Jimmy and Amanda have the same love of and interest in language, Jimmy chooses comfort and starts to work for a compound, and thereby becomes complicit in the system that is responsible for the decline of language.
Themes
Corporate Power & Commodification Theme Icon
History, Language & the Humanities  Theme Icon
AnooYoo. Jimmy moves to the AnooYoo compound and works writing pamphlets for various cosmetic treatments. For the first time in his adult life he cannot find a girlfriend—he is too low in the company to seem impressive to anyone. But eventually he gets the hang of his work—he likes inventing new and ridiculous words, and his bosses seem to love it—and is granted a promotion, at which point he begins secretly seeing a series of married women.
Jimmy continues to compromise himself. He makes up new words instead of protecting old words, and conducts affairs with multiple married women, giving up even on the illusion of commitment and faithfulness. His time at AnooYoo marks a time of personal decline—in his morals, relationships, and convictions.
Themes
Corporate Power & Commodification Theme Icon
The State of Human Relationships Theme Icon
History, Language & the Humanities  Theme Icon
Garage. Jimmy often feels his life is inferior. He is getting fatter, and starting to go bald. He knows Crake ended up at RejoovenEsense, a top-notch company on the cutting edge. They email occasionally, and Crake tells him Uncle Pete has died suddenly of a virus. When Jimmy asks Crake if he was there when Uncle Pete died, Crake responds “in a manner of speaking.” Jimmy realizes he and Crake are growing apart, and he is beginning to think of Crake as someone he used to know.
Jimmy recognizes that he is sad and unfulfilled, and attributes this feeling to his lack of professional success and physical attractiveness—the culture of commodification has caused him to think this way. He is vaguely jealous of Crake, and wishes he knew more about his life or was involved in some way. This wish will be granted—and ironically the outcome will be horrible. Crake’s odd “in a manner of speaking” comment suggests (in a way Jimmy doesn’t catch) that Crake may have played some part in Uncle Pete’s death.
Themes
Corporate Power & Commodification Theme Icon
The State of Human Relationships Theme Icon
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Jimmy falls into a kind of depression. Even sex doesn’t bring him the comfort it used to, and he starts avoiding his lovers and watching the news. One night they are airing coverage of a scandal in San Francisco—several girls had been discovered locked in garages, kept as sexual slaves. Oryx’s face appears on the screen, now about 18 or 19 years old. She is calm and friendly, and says she bears no ill will toward the man who was keeping her. Jimmy is overwhelmed by the sight of her.
Perhaps it is not a coincidence that Jimmy believes he sees Oryx when he is feeling his lowest—both Crake and Jimmy see Oryx as a kind of salvation from suffering. It is again unclear if the woman Jimmy sees onscreen is really Oryx, but his belief that she is indicates his longing for connection with her, with what she represents to him.
Themes
The State of Human Relationships Theme Icon
Gripless. The CorpSeCorps continue to bother Jimmy from time to time about his mother’s whereabouts. One day they come over to show him photos and ask him if he recognizes anyone in them (while he is hooked up to a lie detector). Jimmy is used to this, but is always nervous he will see his mother in the photos. He recognizes the body of Bernice in a photo of executed prisoners. Then he is shown a video of his mother, who is about to be executed. She looks at the camera and says “Goodbye. Remember Killer. I love You. Don’t let me down.” Jimmy claims he knows nothing about the person in the video but the monitors tracking his heartbeat give him away. They ask him who “Killer” was, and Jimmy begins laughing. He explains that Killer was a pet rakunk—not a person. The CorpSeCorps men are satisfied and leave.
Even after all this time corporate security forces continue to pursue Jimmy’s mother and harass Jimmy with questions. What’s more, they employ technologies that force family members to betray each other. Bernice’s body stands out to Jimmy—perhaps he remembers her integrity and feels guilty for her sacrifice. Jimmy’s mother’s dying words, before she is executed for “treason” against the corporations, are “don’t let me down”—arguably, by working for a corporation and allowing himself to sink into the compound system, as Jimmy already has.
Themes
Corporate Power & Commodification Theme Icon
Jimmy falls into a deep depression. He cuts off contact with his lovers completely. He begins drinking heavily, alone in his house. He feels as though he wants revenge, but doesn’t know what kind of revenge, or against whom.
Jimmy feels anger, regret, and vengefulness but doesn’t know where he ought to direct these feelings. To the reader it seems clear that the corporations are responsible for Jimmy’s troubles—their deeply unethical behavior drove his mother away and killed her—but he doesn’t have the clarity to recognize this, and continues to isolate himself.
Themes
Corporate Power & Commodification Theme Icon
The State of Human Relationships Theme Icon