Oryx and Crake

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Oryx and Crake Chapter 9 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Hike. Snowman continues to make his way toward the Paradice dome in the RejoovenEsense compound. He regards the ruins of old buildings being taken over by vegetation and wonders if there are any humans left, and if someday future generations might wonder about these structures. He remembers that Crake told him it only takes the elimination of one generation to bring civilization to an end.
Snowman is unsure of his place in history, and in fact of humanity’s place in history. He is one of the last living members of his own species, and he wonders about the legacy this civilization has left behind—laboratory compounds overgrown by nature might be all that’s left.
Themes
History, Language & the Humanities  Theme Icon
Extinction & Evolution Theme Icon
Snowman eventually reaches the compounds. He passes some smaller ones, and comes to RejoovenEsense, the biggest compound of them all. He steps over the skeleton of a dead guard at the gate, and prepares to cross the long barren field between the outer gate and the compound entrance.
RejoovenEsense looms larger than any of the other compounds, and death is more present here (the body of the guard is the first plague victim we’ve actually encountered). It stands as the biggest and most ominous scientific and corporate enterprise.
Themes
Scientific Progress & Its Costs Theme Icon
Corporate Power & Commodification Theme Icon
He walks through the gate, where once he would have been required to scan his iris (eyeball) to gain entry. He must first find food, so he heads to the residential section. He walks into a house, and nervously looks through the kitchen cabinets. They have been picked through mostly. He goes upstairs and finds a dead man in the bathroom, and surmises that the man had probably crawled in there in his dying moments, looking desperately through the cabinet for a pill that would save him. The mirror has been shattered.
The reality of the plague’s devastation is found inside the compound. The security forces and barriers dividing the compound from the outside are gone. Inside are the remains of people who even in their last moments believed a pill (a purchased product, a scientific solution) might save them. The horror of this scene impresses upon the reader the utter devastation of Crake’s actions.
Themes
Scientific Progress & Its Costs Theme Icon
Corporate Power & Commodification Theme Icon
Extinction & Evolution Theme Icon
He goes to the bedroom, where the body of the lady of the house lays in bed in a nightie. Snowman thinks that she was probably attractive when she was alive. He takes this opportunity to look in the mirror, and sees how ugly he has become—with a sunken face, covered in scabs.
Snowman’s longing for human contact is so severe even the sight of a dead body arouses in him questions about beauty and sexual attraction. This gives way to his recognition of his own physical decline.
Themes
The State of Human Relationships Theme Icon
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He goes to the child’s room, but there is no body in it. The child must have died somewhere else. He continues on, and finds an office with a flashlight, some bourbon, a tin of soy sardines, and some packets of cashews in it. He also sees the Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, and realizes the man must have been a words person, like himself, and written pamphlets for RejoovenEsense products. He is suddenly reminded of his own childhood, and feels chilled.
The home of this family suddenly begins to resemble the fate Snowman could have met. The dead man in the bathroom did the same kind of work Jimmy did—he was a “words person” who used his talent to sell “innovations” and products. Jimmy suddenly thinks of his childhood, and feels chilled perhaps because he recognizes how early his troubles began.
Themes
Corporate Power & Commodification Theme Icon
The State of Human Relationships Theme Icon
History, Language & the Humanities  Theme Icon
Snowman leaves the house and is unhappy to see a group of Pigoons approaching him. He realizes they are probably very smart, and maybe even growing human neo-cortex tissue. They are omnivorous and appear to be hunting him. Suddenly the skies darken, and Snowman realizes a tornado is coming. The Pigoons flee. He hopes the Crakers will be safe, and seeks cover in the security tower. He drinks some bourbon and eats some cashews. The lights go out, and Snowman hunkers down and prepares for dreams of Oryx.
The pigoons, perhaps sporting genetic modifications that Jimmy’s father himself had devised, are now, because of those modifications, an immediate threat to Jimmy’s survival. The tornado drives the pigoons away but is itself a threat—however once Jimmy has secured cover for himself, his first thought is of the Crakers—he continues to care for them. He then prepares for his lonely mind to generate visions of Oryx in its sleep.
Themes
Scientific Progress & Its Costs Theme Icon
Humans & Animals Theme Icon
The State of Human Relationships Theme Icon
Extinction & Evolution Theme Icon