Oryx and Crake

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Jimmy (Snowman) Character Analysis

Jimmy is the novel’s protagonist, who was the best friend of Crake and deeply in love with Oryx before they were both killed at the start of the plague. After they are dead and Jimmy is left in charge of the welfare of the Crakers, he opts to call himself Snowman, as a way of severing himself from the past. Jimmy is not a gifted scientist, but is talented with words (he thinks of himself as a “words person,” not a “numbers person”). He is also, in Crake’s opinion, a sex addict, and conducts affairs with numerous women throughout his youth. For all of his romantic engagements, Jimmy is a lonely character, whose parents are distant (his mother leaves when he is young and his father is uninterested in him). Crake is his only true friend, and Oryx his only true love. Jimmy is plagued by various addictions throughout his youth—he craves sex, cigarettes, and alcohol constantly. After the plague, Snowman is alone, and losing his mind. He hears voices from the past in his head, and is tormented by them. Nevertheless, he perseveres, and does his best to take care of the Crakers while keeping himself alive. He is a gifted survivalist, and a person of great interest to the Crakers. He also puts his love of words to good use: creating a kind of mythology for the Crakers, who revere him for his knowledge of their creator (Crake) and his memories of the time before they existed. Though he despises what Crake has done, he does care for the Crakers and worries diligently about their welfare.

Jimmy (Snowman) Quotes in Oryx and Crake

The Oryx and Crake quotes below are all either spoken by Jimmy (Snowman) or refer to Jimmy (Snowman). For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Scientific Progress & Its Costs Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Anchor Books edition of Oryx and Crake published in 2004.
Chapter 1 Quotes

It causes a jolt of terror to run through him, this absence of official time. Nobody nowhere knows what time it is.

Related Characters: Jimmy (Snowman)
Page Number: 3
Explanation and Analysis:

There's no better symbol for order, scientific rigor, and civilization than the clock. As human beings have learned more and more about technology, their clocks have gotten steadily more accurate, to the point where they can measure time to within mere billionths of the correct figure.

In the present sections of this novel, however, civilization isn't what it used to be. Snowman lives in a post-apocalyptic world in which order, science, and civilization have broken down. The world is a dark, chaotic place, and Snowman is frightened of it. Snowman, we later learn, was raised in a world in which time was taken for granted--simply to be alive is to know what time it is. The absence of official time, then, is a brilliant symbol for the collapse of humanity and the return of timeless, primeval nature.

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There are a lot of blank spaces in his stub of a brain, where memory used to be.

Related Characters: Jimmy (Snowman)
Page Number: 4
Explanation and Analysis:

Snowman, we're slowly learning, is our window into the fictional society of the novel: he's the main character, and his experiences of the world comprise the novel's plot. And yet in his present self Snowman isn't a particularly reliable witness: as we learn here, he's suffering from various mental problems, brought on by the horrors of civilization's collapse. In all, then, Snowman's account of history will be fractured, fragmented, and generally full of "blank spaces." In such a way, Atwood suggests the fragmented nature of history itself. In a society that's broken down to the point where it can't even keep time, history has distorted to the level of myth. Snowman will do his best to remember the past, but we won't always be able to take his account one hundred percent seriously.

Chapter 2 Quotes

“Leave Daddy alone,” said his mother. “Daddy is thinking. That’s what they pay him for. He doesn’t have time for you.

Related Characters: Sharon (speaker), Jimmy (Snowman), Jimmy’s father
Page Number: 20
Explanation and Analysis:

In the flashback scenes that begin in this chapter, we see Snowman's early life, back when he was called Jimmy--a life that was characterized by absentee parents and emotional emptiness. Jimmy's parents worked for a major corporation, although Jimmy's mother, Sharon, eventually abandoned the corporation because she objected to what she saw as its immoral uses of science and technology.

Sharon is a complex character in the novel, because she's a moral authority (she seems to be one of the only people who realizes how evil the corporation is), and yet she's not a very loving mother to Jimmy. In this scene, for instance, she speaks to her child harshly--she tells Jimmy to stop bothering her father, who works for the corporation. There's a strong note of contempt in Sharon's words here--she seems to be suggesting that she is just as ignored and undervalued by Jimmy's father as Jimmy himself is. But Sharon seems not to show much love for Jimmy either, and she also recognizes the value of capitalism and commodification in her society--even her husband's "thinking" is something to be bought and sold. In short, the passage shows that Jimmy grew up in an emotionally empty place dominated by the need to work and make money.

He thought of pigoons as creatures much like himself. Neither he nor they had a lot of say in what was going on.

Related Characters: Jimmy (Snowman)
Page Number: 24
Explanation and Analysis:

In this section, Snowman/Jimmy thinks back on the pigoons--genetically engineered creatures that combined the DNA of a pig and a human being. A corporation called OrganInc bred and sold pigoons so that sick humans could obtain organs for transplants. Although the corporation insisted that it was only using the pigoons for transplants, not consumption, it was eventually forced to go back on its promise, harvesting the pigoons for meat (due to the famine throughout the country).

Jimmy felt for the pigoons--he didn't want them to be eaten, because he identified with them. The pigoons are partly human, which may account for Jimmy's sense of empathy. And yet Jimmy's sadness seems deeper and more visceral--he sympathizes with the pigoons because they're living creatures, not just because they're partly human. Atwood suggests that Jimmy is an unusually sensitive and moral young man--despite the fact that he's raised in an increasingly corrupt and amoral world, and so he's silenced (much like the poor pigoons themselves).

Chapter 3 Quotes

From nowhere, a word appears: Mesozoic. He can see the word, he can hear the word, but he can’t reach the word…this is happening too much lately, this dissolution of meaning.

Related Characters: Jimmy (Snowman)
Page Number: 39
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Snowman, in the present, experiences a crisis of the mind. He's suddenly conscious that he's losing his command of language--he remembers the word Mesozoic, then realizes that he's forgotten what, exactly, the word means.

It's telling that Snowman, in a post-apocalyptic world, is forgetting language. (Although Atwood also makes a point that in the pre-apocalyptic world, there is a "dissolution of meaning" as well.) Language, like time, is a symbol of civilization as its best: language is rigorous, standardized, and useful for understanding the world. As order breaks down, so does meaning: it's as if Snowman is reliving the collapse of civilization via the collapse of his vocabulary. (It's also darkly humorous that Jimmy can't remember the meaning of "Mesozoic," which refers to a long-ago period in time, before human beings existed--human beings appear to be headed for another Mesozoic era.)

Strange to think of the endless labor, the digging, the hammering, the carving, the lifting, the drilling, day by day, year by year, century by century; and now the endless crumbling that must be going on everywhere. Sandcastles in the wind.

Related Characters: Jimmy (Snowman)
Page Number: 45
Explanation and Analysis:

Here, Snowman contemplates the slow deterioration of civilization. Human beings themselves are long-gone (except for Snowman, seemingly). And yet the emblems of their civilization are still around: cities, statues, paintings, machines, etc. Now, the second phase of human extinction is beginning: the slow deterioration of the things humans built.

The passage is lyrically poetic: it compares the slow destruction of material culture to the destruction of a sandcastle, suggesting that, for all their impressiveness, even the great buildings and machines of mankind are "mortal." The labor and ingenuity that went into building such devices, while not exactly wasted, didn't protect the devices from the elements or the slow destruction of time.

Chapter 5 Quotes

Homo Sapiens Sapiens was once so ingenious with language, and not only with language. Ingenious in every direction at once.”

Related Characters: Jimmy (Snowman)
Page Number: 99
Explanation and Analysis:

Jimmy thinks back on humanity's past greatness: a greatness that has been squandered, resulting in a post-apocalyptic society. Jimmy, an eloquent man who loves words and language, is particularly impressed with humanity's grasp of language, and is mournful for this loss. He also acknowledges that mankind was impressive in many different ways: it achieved scientific, technological, and musical greatness, to name only a few examples.

And yet Jimmy's tone seems rueful and regretful. Mankind was ingenious, yes, but its ingenuity couldn't save it from destruction: in fact, its ingenuity brought about its own destruction. Again, Atwood suggests Biblical or religious themes: mankind, in daring to be great, has brought on the punishment of the universe. Its ingenuity outstripped its morality, its sciences overwhelmed its humanity (and its "humanities"), and thus it sowed the seeds of its own ruin.

On some non-conscious level, Snowman must serve as a reminder to these people, and not a pleasant one: he’s what they may have been once.

Related Characters: Jimmy (Snowman), The Crakers
Page Number: 106
Explanation and Analysis:

Here Snowman is again interacting with the Crakers, the genetically modified human-like creatures that Crake built. The Crakers share certain traits with humans, but they are more advanced in some ways and primitive in others. Snowman is like a god and a father-figure to the Crakers: his job is to take care of them, to make sure that they don't destroy themselves.

In this passage, Snowman realizes that the mythology and stories he's been teaching the Crakers is a kind of warning: Snowman is a survivor of the old world, and so paradoxically, his presence among the Crakers is a warning that the Crakers are flawed--they share DNA with an ugly, imperfect being. Ironically, Snowman, because he's one of the only survivors of the pre-apocalyptic human civilization, is taken as representative of that civilization, despite the fact that he's always hated it.

Chapter 8 Quotes

How could I have missed it? Snowman thinks. What he was telling me? How could I have been so stupid?...
There had been something willed about it, though, his ignorance…he’d grown up in walled spaces, and then he’d become one. He had shut things out.

Related Characters: Jimmy (Snowman), Crake
Related Symbols: Inside, Outside
Page Number: 184
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Snowman thinks back on his friendship with Crake, the mysterious young man with whom he grew up. Crake's father died in a car accident, supposedly a suicide. Jimmy remembers Crake remarking that his father was "uncoordinated." Years later, Jimmy realizes the truth: Crake was trying to say that his father was out of joint with the other people in his corporation--he refused to go along with the corporate dogma, and so he was murdered for his disobedience. Jimmy is furious with himself for missing the obvious truth about Crake and Crake's father: he's been willfully ignorant.

The passage is interesting because it shows Crake, not Jimmy, being adept at manipulating language in subtle ways. Jimmy is the writer and wordsmith, and yet he misses Crake's hint about Crake's father's supposed suicide. It also shows Crake as being connected with ideas of "walled spaces"--the divide between "inside" and "outside" is an important one in the novel, and we see Crake's secrecy and efficiency as related to himself maintaining his "inside" and keeping everything else out.

So a lot of what went on at Martha Graham was like studying book binding or Latin: pleasant to contemplate in its way, but no longer central to anything, though every once in a while the college president would subject them to some yawner about the vital arts and their irresistible reserved seat in the big red-velvet amphitheater of the beating human heart.

Related Characters: Jimmy (Snowman)
Related Symbols: Inside
Page Number: 187
Explanation and Analysis:

Jimmy doesn't go to a very prestigious school: Martha Graham is a run-down school devoted to the humanities, an area of human knowledge that few, if any, people continue to value in his society. Jimmy is perfectly aware that his society no longer values what he's interested in studying: the subjects at Martha Graham seem esoteric and "useless" compared to most of what Jimmy has seen in the professional world (Jimmy grew up around scientists and businessmen, after all). Even Jimmy himself doesn't seem very enthused when the president of his college makes a speech about the importance of the humanities to the human heart and one's inner life--Jimmy likes the arts, but he has no illusions about their importance to society.

The passage could be interpreted as Margaret Atwood's assessment of the place of the humanities in her own society. As the world becomes more technologically advanced and consumer-oriented, art and literature seem to be growing more and more unimportant--it's possible that someday they'll be considered as esoteric as book binding.

Chapter 9 Quotes

The striped-pyjamas guy upstairs must have been a word person, then: a RejoovenEsense speechwriter, an ideological plumber, a spin doctor, a hairsplitter for hire. Poor bugger, thinks Snowman.

Related Characters: Jimmy (Snowman)
Page Number: 233
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Snowman surveys the ruins of what was once the headquarters of a mighty corporation. Snowman discovers the corpse of a former employee of the corporation--and on closer inspection, he discovers that the employee owned poetry books, suggesting that he was a humanities person, just like Snowman. The employee must have spent his life writing copy for the corporation--selling his verbal talents for money.

The passage conveys some of the pitfalls of the futuristic humanities major (or, for that matter, the present-day humanities major). People who study English and writing don't have many job opportunities--and as a result, they often end up working for large corporations. The advantage of working for such a corporation is that one has a job--the disadvantage is that one's writing is strictly controlled; it has to be centered around the same basic message, "Buy our products." In short, the passage reminds us that Jimmy's world didn't place much stock in words or the humanities in general, unless they were in the service of making money.

Chapter 11 Quotes

Maybe the guards tried to get out of RejoovenEsense just like everyone else. Maybe they, too, hoped they could outrun contagion.

Related Characters: Jimmy (Snowman) (speaker)
Related Symbols: Inside, Outside
Page Number: 270
Explanation and Analysis:

Snowman revisits the guard tower of a major corporate building. He realizes that there are no dead bodies inside the building, suggesting that even the guards were trying to run away from the mysterious "contagion"--the disease that, it's implied, killed most of the human population.

As we go on, we learn more about what, precisely, caused the global apocalypse. Here, we realize that it was a virus that did humanity in; furthermore, the virus may have been developed within or close to a major corporate building. The passage conveys the pathetic quality of humanity's struggle for survival: nothing humanity does can save it from the horrors of disease and amoral, all-consuming greed.

From time to time he looks over his shoulder. The smoke is still there, just one column of it. It hasn’t spread. It keeps on rising.

Related Characters: Jimmy (Snowman)
Page Number: 280
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Snowman notices a huge plume of smoke in the distance. The plume of smoke is controlled, and never changes size or shape, suggesting that it was built by a human being (not a Craker). Snowman faces the possibility that he's not alone in the post-apocalyptic world after all; there are other people around, perhaps trying to communicate with him. (It's a sign of the decay of human communication that the only form of communication in the passage is fire).

The passage could also be interpreted as an allusion to the Biblical Book of Exodus, in which God takes the form of a large pillar of cloud and guides the Hebrews out of Egypt through the desert. Perhaps Snowman is a kind of Moses figure, guiding the remains of the human race into an uncertain future.

Chapter 12 Quotes

“People come here from all over the world—they shop around. Gender, sexual orientation, height, colour of skin and eyes—it’s all on order, it can all be done or redone.”

Related Characters: Crake (speaker), Jimmy (Snowman)
Page Number: 289
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Crake takes Jimmy through the stunningly beautiful RejoovenEsense compound. Here Crake works on genetic modifications, marketed to whomever is wealthy enough to afford them. Crake can use his scientific knowledge to craft anyone's appearance--their eye color, sexual orientation, etc. He can also change a person's genetic makeup for the proper fee. In short, RejoovenEsense--a hugely powerful corporation--is a place where scientists like Crake change people's very identities.

The casual way that Crake talks about changing people's DNA suggests that it's an ordinary part of his life--he's lost any sense that his work is miraculous, sinful, or otherwise out of the ordinary. As Atwood has suggested elsewhere, though, Crake's work is downright unholy; it trivializes human life, treating the human body as a mere product to be retooled, perfected, and then sold for a profit. Atwood links the sexual crimes of Crake's society with the casual way Crake talks about "redoing" a person's appearance: both the scientists and the sexual predators of the future suffer from the same problem, a basic lack of respect for the human body and for human life.

“If you take ‘mortality’ as being, not death, but the foreknowledge of it and the fear of it, then ‘immortality’ is the absence of such fear. Babies are immortal. Edit out the fear and you’ll be…”
“Sounds like Applied Rhetoric 101.”

Related Characters: Jimmy (Snowman) (speaker), Crake (speaker)
Page Number: 303
Explanation and Analysis:

In this chapter, Jimmy first meets the Crakers, the genetically modified beings that Crake has created. Here Crake claims that the Crakers have been programmed to die when they're 30 years old. But Crake also explains that they are "immortal" in the sense that they don't have any concept of death (like Adam and Eve before their fall, in another possible Bible reference).

In this passage we get a better idea of just what Crake values and doesn't value about humanity. He doesn't have a problem with death--or at least he doesn't yet know how to avoid it--he just has a problem with thinking about death. Thus his "perfect" being (the Crakers) aren't necessarily long-lived, they just lack the capacity to wrestle with larger issues like love and mortality (essentially, what art and the humanities are all about). The Crakers don't have to suffer over sex, love, or death, but they can't achieve any kind of joy, fulfillment, or enlightenment either.

Chapter 13 Quotes

Here are Crake and Oryx, what’s left of them. They’ve been vulturized, they’re scattered here and there, small and large bones mingled into disarray…He’s grinning with all the teeth in his head. As for Oryx, she’s face down, she’s turned her head away from him as if in mourning. The ribbon in her hair is as pink as ever.

Related Characters: Jimmy (Snowman), Crake, Oryx
Page Number: 335
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Snowman, patrolling the ruins of old corporate headquarters, come to the dead bodies of Crake and Oryx: the scientist and his supposed lover. Even in death, we can tell a lot about Oryx and Crake: Crake is still grinning, as if in recognition of the fact that his plan to kill the world has "succeeded" (even if his version of "success" is pretty morbid). For her part, Oryx is an object, through and through: she's been exploited for her beauty and her sexuality again and again. Thus, Oryx's face is turned away from Snowman: she remains a mystery, both to Snowman and to us. (The turned head could also symbolize Oryx turning her back on the destruction Crake has masterminded and she has unknowingly assisted in.)

Oryx  is undeniably, transcendently beautiful, to the point where she seems to stand outside the deterioration of time--a fact symbolized by the beautiful pink ribbon in her hair. The ribbon could also evoke Oryx's creativity and hopefulness--even when the world is in ruins all around her, she radiates joy and beauty, something that transcends mere survival.

Chapter 14 Quotes

“We made a picture of you, to help us send out our voices to you.”
Watch out for art, Crake used to say. As soon as they start doing art, we’re in trouble.

Related Characters: Crake (speaker), The Crakers (speaker), Jimmy (Snowman)
Page Number: 361
Explanation and Analysis:

Snowman returns to the Crakers to find that they've made a picture of him. The picture, Snowman realizes, is a form of art--disproving what Crake had predicted about the Crakers (Crake had claimed that the Crakers would show no interest in art, and also warned that art was dangerous to the human species).

It's important to keep in mind that the "art" that we see in this scene isn't just art--it's also religion. The Crakers make an image of their god-figure and leader, Jimmy, to summon him back--a clear echo of the talismans and icons common to nearly all the religions of the world. Try as he might, Crake has been unable to "stamp out" the religious and creative instinct in his genetic creations: the Crakers seem to be just as hard-wired for creativity and wonderment as human beings.

Is Crake justified in claiming that art is the first sign of trouble? Atwood has shown that it's also possible that science and immoral scientific experimentation can eventually lead to destruction.The creative instinct, and the religious instinct, it would seem, are flawed, but they're fundamental parts of what it means to be human, and ultimately they're longer-lived than any scientific advance could ever be.

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Jimmy (Snowman) Character Timeline in Oryx and Crake

The timeline below shows where the character Jimmy (Snowman) appears in Oryx and Crake. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Scientific Progress & Its Costs Theme Icon
The State of Human Relationships Theme Icon
Extinction & Evolution Theme Icon
Mango. Snowman wakes up before sunrise. He is in a tree. He looks out through the thick... (full context)
History, Language & the Humanities  Theme Icon
Extinction & Evolution Theme Icon
Flotsam. A group of “the children” walk across the white beach toward Snowman. They are picking up flotsam and putting it in an old burlap sack. They notice... (full context)
Scientific Progress & Its Costs Theme Icon
Corporate Power & Commodification Theme Icon
History, Language & the Humanities  Theme Icon
Extinction & Evolution Theme Icon
The children open up their sack so they can show the objects inside to Snowman. They hold up various objects: a hubcap, a piano key, an empty “BlyssPluss” container and... (full context)
History, Language & the Humanities  Theme Icon
The children lose interest in the contents of their bag and linger around chanting Snowman’s name. Snowman thinks about how the children have never seen snow. He recalls that Crake... (full context)
History, Language & the Humanities  Theme Icon
Extinction & Evolution Theme Icon
Snowman knows the children want to hear stories about the past. He bitterly notes how beautiful... (full context)
The State of Human Relationships Theme Icon
Voice. Left alone, Snowman hears a variety of voices in his head. One is woman, who compliments Snowman’s physique... (full context)
The State of Human Relationships Theme Icon
History, Language & the Humanities  Theme Icon
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Snowman worries about his rapidly declining health, both physical and mental. He imagines that soon his... (full context)
Chapter 2
Scientific Progress & Its Costs Theme Icon
Corporate Power & Commodification Theme Icon
Humans & Animals Theme Icon
History, Language & the Humanities  Theme Icon
Bonfire. Snowman used to be called Jimmy. Jimmy’s earliest memory is of a bonfire. He remembers wearing... (full context)
The State of Human Relationships Theme Icon
The smell of the burning hair reminds Jimmy of when he’d burned his own hair, as an experiment. His father had found it... (full context)
Scientific Progress & Its Costs Theme Icon
Corporate Power & Commodification Theme Icon
History, Language & the Humanities  Theme Icon
Extinction & Evolution Theme Icon
At the bonfire Jimmy feels anxious for the animals, because the fire could be hurting them. His dad explains... (full context)
Scientific Progress & Its Costs Theme Icon
The State of Human Relationships Theme Icon
History, Language & the Humanities  Theme Icon
The next day Jimmy asks his parents why the animals were burned up and they tell him the animals... (full context)
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OrganInc Farms. Jimmy’s father works at a company called OrganInc Farms, where he is one of the foremost... (full context)
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As he remembers this, Snowman remarks to himself that he is not “old enough” to handle his current situation—that no... (full context)
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The State of Human Relationships Theme Icon
Jimmy often eats lunch at OrganInc with his dad and his dad’s coworker Ramona. Ramona asks... (full context)
Corporate Power & Commodification Theme Icon
Jimmy lives in the OrganInc “compound,” an insular and secure community built for company employees and... (full context)
Corporate Power & Commodification Theme Icon
The State of Human Relationships Theme Icon
Lunch. Jimmy’s mother used to work for OrganInc farms, where she’d worked on making the pigoons immune... (full context)
The State of Human Relationships Theme Icon
Every so often Jimmy’s mother makes an unusual effort to be a “real” mother to him. Sometimes when Jimmy... (full context)
The State of Human Relationships Theme Icon
As Jimmy grows older he takes to acting out to get his mother’s attention. He likes to... (full context)
Chapter 3
Corporate Power & Commodification Theme Icon
The State of Human Relationships Theme Icon
Nooners. Noon is the worst time of day for Snowman, because the sun and heat are so intense. He must retreat away from the glare... (full context)
Scientific Progress & Its Costs Theme Icon
Extinction & Evolution Theme Icon
We are told how Snowman learned to adapt to his environment: first he’d built a lean-to on the ground, but... (full context)
Humans & Animals Theme Icon
History, Language & the Humanities  Theme Icon
Snowman rests on an old bedframe he’d found early on, trying to cool off. The word... (full context)
The State of Human Relationships Theme Icon
The voice of an old schoolteacher, Ms. Sally Stratton, is in Snowman’s head. She is asking him first to play a game with her, and then her... (full context)
Corporate Power & Commodification Theme Icon
History, Language & the Humanities  Theme Icon
Snowman lets his mind wander back to his and Crake’s afterschool distractions. He remembers computer games... (full context)
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Extinction & Evolution Theme Icon
Snowman watches a caterpillar drop down on a silky thread in front of his face—it inspires... (full context)
The State of Human Relationships Theme Icon
Extinction & Evolution Theme Icon
Snowman realizes he should be spending his time not looking for distraction but looking for food... (full context)
The State of Human Relationships Theme Icon
...is a massive thunderstorm. Today the storm is strong, but there is no hail so Snowman doesn’t need to find cover. As the storm winds down he takes some empty beer... (full context)
Corporate Power & Commodification Theme Icon
The State of Human Relationships Theme Icon
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The thought of beer sends Snowman into a kind of tailspin of longing. He desperately thinks, “let me out!” but realizes... (full context)
Chapter 4
Humans & Animals Theme Icon
The State of Human Relationships Theme Icon
Rakunk. Snowman sees a Rakunk in the weeds and calls to it. He wonders if a pet... (full context)
Scientific Progress & Its Costs Theme Icon
Humans & Animals Theme Icon
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On Jimmy’s tenth birthday his father gives him a pet rakunk. Jimmy wants to name it Bandit,... (full context)
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Shortly after Killer arrives, Jimmy’s father finds a better job at NooSkins, a subsidiary of HelthWyzer, and the family moves... (full context)
The State of Human Relationships Theme Icon
Jimmy attends HelthWyzer Public School. Jimmy is old enough that he no longer has to eat... (full context)
Scientific Progress & Its Costs Theme Icon
Corporate Power & Commodification Theme Icon
Humans & Animals Theme Icon
The State of Human Relationships Theme Icon
History, Language & the Humanities  Theme Icon
Jimmy’s father begins spending more time at work, but rarely talks about his work to Jimmy... (full context)
Humans & Animals Theme Icon
The State of Human Relationships Theme Icon
Jimmy hears the whole fight via a series of small microphones he has set up through... (full context)
The State of Human Relationships Theme Icon
Hammer. The following years are a blur. Jimmy begins to think about girls more and more, and though he is not unpopular at... (full context)
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One day Jimmy comes home from school and there is a note from his mother on the table.... (full context)
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The CorpSeCorps men begin questioning Jimmy frequently about his mother. Jimmy doesn’t understand many of their questions, and doesn’t have much... (full context)
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When Jimmy’s dad returns he goes to counseling, and eventually begins to seem happier. Ramona moves in,... (full context)
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Ramona tries her best to be there for Jimmy, and Jimmy appreciates the attention, though he is still sad and misses Killer dearly. He... (full context)
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The section ends with Snowman reminding himself “I am not my childhood.” He tells himself he must hold onto words,... (full context)
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Crake. Shortly before Jimmy’s mother leaves, Crake arrives at HelthWyzer High. Jimmy’s mother likes Crake, more than the rest... (full context)
Scientific Progress & Its Costs Theme Icon
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When Crake first arrives at HelthWyzer, Jimmy is apprehensive of him. He is threatened by Crake’s coolness and detects self-importance in him.... (full context)
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Brainfrizz. Wakulla Price leaves HelthWyzer high, leaving Jimmy without a lab partner. Crake is assigned to be his partner and Jimmy realizes Crake... (full context)
History, Language & the Humanities  Theme Icon
...briefly explains about the various historical events catalogued by the game (so, for example, if Jimmy didn’t know what Madame Bovary was, he could read a short blub about it before... (full context)
Scientific Progress & Its Costs Theme Icon
Extinction & Evolution Theme Icon
...called MaddAddam. The game tests players’ knowledge of extinct species. Certain players are grandmasters, and Jimmy suspects Crake is trying to achieve grandmaster status. Crake adopts his name from the game:... (full context)
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When Crake and Jimmy aren’t playing games they are surfing the internet. Some sites feature live streaming videos of... (full context)
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...a “lily pad labyrinth” that prevents his searches from being detected. This enables Crake and Jimmy to watch especially disturbing or disgusting violent snuff films or pornography. Often Jimmy and Crake... (full context)
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HottTotts. Jimmy and Crake always watch these channels when its late afternoon, and no one but Crake’s... (full context)
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When Jimmy shows this picture to Oryx years later, when she’s in his bed, she tells him... (full context)
Chapter 5
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Toast. Snowman has told the Crakers the story of their origin. He has told them that the... (full context)
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The first star of the night appears in the sky, and Snowman begins singing “Star Light Star Bright” to himself. Craker children hear him and ask him... (full context)
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Fish. Snowman looks at the night sky and names all of the colors, remarking to himself that... (full context)
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Snowman hears the voices of the Crakers coming toward him. They are bringing him his weekly... (full context)
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When Snowman is finished the Crakers gather around him and ask to hear about the deeds of... (full context)
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After Snowman finishes this story, one of the Craker women asks him a new question: How was... (full context)
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Bottle. Snowman is too disturbed and lonely to fall asleep. He goes to his cement storage unit... (full context)
Chapter 6
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Oryx. Snowman wakes up in the middle of the night suddenly. He feels Oryx near him. He... (full context)
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Jimmy pieces together Oryx’s story, but he imagines the story is different according to every person... (full context)
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...that Uncle En’s throat was cut and he was thrown in the river. Oryx tells Jimmy she cried when she heard this news, which angers Jimmy. Oryx gently tells him he... (full context)
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This is unwelcome news to Jimmy, who calls Jack pathetic. Oryx wonders why Jimmy dislikes Jack, and notes that she and... (full context)
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...sing English songs. Jack encourages this, requesting that she perform more of her “Pixieland Jazz.” Jimmy demands to know if Oryx was raped during her time at Pixieland, and Oryx wonders... (full context)
Chapter 7
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Sveltana. Snowman wakes up with a hangover and wishes he hadn’t drunk the scotch the night before.... (full context)
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A voice in his head tells Snowman he doesn’t want to go back to RejoovenEsense. Snowman insists he’s forgotten about what happened... (full context)
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Before Snowman leaves he must explain his departure to the Crakers. He does not want them to... (full context)
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Purring. When Snowman arrives, the men are performing their morning ritual where they urinate along the invisible line... (full context)
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The Craker called Abraham Lincoln welcomes snowman, and asks him to come across the line. Snowman notes that Abraham has become a kind of leader, and recalls Crake saying to watch... (full context)
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...the ultrasound technology that was used to heal wounds and broken bones. The women tell Snowman the child was bitten by a bobkitten (another manmade genetic splice), and they were forced... (full context)
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Snowman takes in the scene inside the Craker circle. Women are tending a fire. They never... (full context)
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Snowman tells the Crakers he is going to go on a long journey, to see Crake.... (full context)
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As Snowman leaves the Craker camp, he again feels anger towards Crake. The voice of his father... (full context)
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Blue. Snowman starts his journey, shoeless and carrying as little as possible. He keeps an eye out... (full context)
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Snowman notes the advantages of this sexual system: there was no more rape, no more heartbreak.... (full context)
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Crake and Jimmy, in their early twenties, are talking over lunch. Crake wonders at the misery caused my... (full context)
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Snowman leans against a tree and listens to the sounds of the Crakers mating. He wonders... (full context)
Chapter 8
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SoYummie. Jimmy and Crake graduate from HelthWyzer High. Crake graduates at the top of the class, and... (full context)
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After the ceremony, Crake approaches Jimmy and brings up the subject of his own mother, who we learn passed away suddenly... (full context)
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Happicuppa. After graduation, Jimmy goes on vacation with Crake and Uncle Pete. Instead of watching their usual TV programming,... (full context)
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Sometimes Jimmy and Crake watch the coffee wars coverage with Uncle Pete, who has stock in Happicuppa... (full context)
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When Crake and Jimmy are alone again, they talk about what Jimmy saw. Crake says he guessed it was... (full context)
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When Snowman thinks about this event years later, he is furious with himself. He thinks, “How could... (full context)
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Applied Rhetoric. Jimmy and Crake part ways to go to their separate academies. Martha Graham has fallen into... (full context)
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Jimmy studies “problematics” (which would prepare him for a job writing descriptions of new products.) He... (full context)
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Jimmy realizes at Martha Graham that he is interested in damaged, artistic women, because he finds... (full context)
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Asperger’s U. Jimmy and Crake correspond by email. Crake tells Jimmy that people call Watson-Crick “Asperger’s U” because... (full context)
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Though Jimmy could easily purchase papers instead of writing them, he applies himself at Martha Graham and... (full context)
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Crake invites Jimmy to visit Watson-Crick over the holidays and Jimmy accepts. At Watson Crick, Jimmy is stopped... (full context)
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...array of colors. The climate is carefully controlled and the air is clear and pleasant. Jimmy asks Crake if the large butterflies are “real” and Crake responds by saying that things... (full context)
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Crake takes Jimmy on a tour of the campus, frequently introducing him to others as “Jimmy, the neurotypical.”... (full context)
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Next Crake shows Jimmy the wolvog pen. It is a CorpSeCorps-funded project that has designed a dog that looks... (full context)
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Hypothetical. A few days into his visit Jimmy asks Crake about the dating prospects at Watson-Crick. Crake explains that “pair-bonding” is not encouraged,... (full context)
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Crake and Jimmy hang out in much the same way they used to. They play computer games, or... (full context)
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On the last evening of Jimmy’s visit, Crake asks him to play Extinctathon. Jimmy agrees, and when Crake logs on Jimmy... (full context)
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...attacked the animals and products created by major corporations. Then Maddaddam asks for “new initiatives.” Jimmy gets nervous and asks Crake what’s going on. Crake explains MaddAddam runs a subversive, rebellious... (full context)
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During this visit, Crake often wakes Jimmy up by screaming, horribly, in the middle of the night. When Jimmy asks him about... (full context)
Chapter 9
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Hike. Snowman continues to make his way toward the Paradice dome in the RejoovenEsense compound. He regards... (full context)
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Snowman eventually reaches the compounds. He passes some smaller ones, and comes to RejoovenEsense, the biggest... (full context)
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...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... (full context)
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Snowman leaves the house and is unhappy to see a group of Pigoons approaching him. He... (full context)
Chapter 10
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Vulturizing. Jimmy graduates in four years from Martha Graham university with his degree in Problematics. After graduation... (full context)
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...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... (full context)
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AnooYoo. Jimmy moves to the AnooYoo compound and works writing pamphlets for various cosmetic treatments. For the... (full context)
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Garage. Jimmy often feels his life is inferior. He is getting fatter, and starting to go bald.... (full context)
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Jimmy falls into a kind of depression. Even sex doesn’t bring him the comfort it used... (full context)
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Gripless. The CorpSeCorps continue to bother Jimmy from time to time about his mother’s whereabouts. One day they come over to show... (full context)
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Jimmy falls into a deep depression. He cuts off contact with his lovers completely. He begins... (full context)
Chapter 11
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Pigoons. Snowman wakes from a nightmare about his childhood home—one in which he is trying to eat... (full context)
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Radio. Snowman is at a loss for what to do. He begins trying random doors along the... (full context)
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Snowman finds a good deal of supplies in the watchtower. He finds water, cigarettes and beer,... (full context)
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Rampart. Snowman remembers his injured foot. He inspects it and finds a shard of glass in the... (full context)
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In the morning Snowman calculates that this is the third day he’s been away from the Crakers. He gathers... (full context)
Chapter 12
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Pleebcrawl. Snowman is limping because of his injured foot, and is making poor time. At the height... (full context)
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One Saturday, Jimmy is lying in his bed in the AnooYoo compound. He is unmotivated and depressed. Someone... (full context)
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Jimmy has only ever seen the pleeblands from the window of a bullet train and is... (full context)
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BlyssPluss. When Jimmy returns to AnooYoo on Monday, several higher-ups congratulate him on his new job. His mistresses... (full context)
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The RejoovenEsense compound is the most beautiful compound Jimmy has ever seen. Crake gives him a tour of the facilities and takes him out... (full context)
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...would solve the problem of overpopulation, and lead to greater freedom and happiness, says Crake. Jimmy says this is sterilizing people without their consent, and Crake calls that a “crude way... (full context)
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The more Jimmy thinks about it the more he thinks he could use a pill like this one,... (full context)
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MaddAddam. After lunch Crake and Jimmy go to Paradice. It is located in an air-locked dome that is basically impenetrable. The... (full context)
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Paradice. They stop at Crake’s office. Jimmy notices he still has the word magnets on his refrigerator, only now they form a... (full context)
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Crake tells Jimmy he will now see Crake’s life work. He takes him to a watch room that... (full context)
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...and they were able to digest food like a rabbit, by consuming their own excrement. Jimmy interrupts to say that these no longer sounded like features that could be sold to... (full context)
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Crake in Love. As a storm rages, Snowman is in turmoil thinking of Oryx—of her laugh, her optimism, her belief in Crake. He... (full context)
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A few days after Jimmy arrives in Paradice, Crake is showing him how to use the various viewing screens in... (full context)
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Jimmy asks Crake where he found this woman, and Crake explains he met her through the... (full context)
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Jimmy and Crake wait for Oryx to join them for lunch. Jimmy asks questions mostly as... (full context)
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Jimmy spends his days longing for Oryx. He knows he can’t touch her, because Crake is... (full context)
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...because she has contacts at sex clinics and whorehouses because of her history. She assures Jimmy she would never test BlyssPluss on herself, because Crake warned her not to do so.... (full context)
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Jimmy asks Oryx what happened to her in the garage in San Francisco. She asks what... (full context)
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Takeout. Snowman is now coming to the darkest part of his memory. “What if” questions fly through... (full context)
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But Jimmy, in fact, has no gut feeling this happy evening when Oryx is at his house.... (full context)
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Snowman is thinking that he should have seen the signs. Crake had asked him once if... (full context)
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Jimmy is insisting to Oryx that Crake knows about their affair—he’s not sure why. Perhaps to... (full context)
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Airlock. Jimmy waits for Oryx for a long time. He becomes increasingly uneasy and then feels panicked.... (full context)
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...bleed profusely from every orifice. The three other staff members inside Paradice are growing nervous. Jimmy tells them to stay calm. Suddenly Crake rings the bell to enter the airlock. Jimmy... (full context)
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What happens next appears to Jimmy as if it is in slow motion. He retrieves a gun from the storage rooms,... (full context)
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Jimmy drinks and watches news of the spreading plague as he waits for word from Oryx,... (full context)
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Jimmy is startled by this information, but agrees to let Crake in. When Crake enters, Jimmy... (full context)
Chapter 13
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Bubble. After the afternoon storm, the air is cooler, and Snowman is able to continue along the rampart. His foot is swollen and painful, and he... (full context)
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Snowman finds antibiotics in the storerooms and applies them to his foot, and gives himself a... (full context)
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Scribble. In the morning Snowman gives himself another shot of Crake’s superdrug. He roams around his house, feeling disconnected from... (full context)
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After Jimmy has shot Crake, he locks himself in his house. A Corpsmen calls once on the... (full context)
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Jimmy checks on the Crakers three times a day. They don’t seem to know that anything... (full context)
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When Jimmy is not watching the Crakers he wanders around aimlessly, eating, drinking, and watching the news.... (full context)
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Jimmy knows he cannot stay in the dome much longer—once the electricity goes out, the airflow... (full context)
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Remnant. Jimmy finally shows himself to the Crakers. They marvel at his appearance and at the fabric... (full context)
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...and Crake's bodies, crumpled and already decayed. The Crakers ask what those forms are and Snowman says it is an object of no importance. They accept this and keep moving. Outside... (full context)
Chapter 14
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Idol. Snowman packs up the old food he has found in the storage area in Paradice, and... (full context)
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...to the statue. They say they thought it would help him find his way home. Snowman realizes they were chanting “Snowman,” not Amen. He also notes that they have made art,... (full context)
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Sermon. After his meal, the Crakers tell Snowman that others like him have passed through the area. Snowman is shocked and asks them... (full context)
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As Snowman prepares to leave in the morning, he imagines giving a sermon to the Crakers about... (full context)
Chapter 15
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Footprint. Snowman wakes up before dawn. He pees on the grasshoppers, returning to his old routine. He... (full context)
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...“what do you want me to do” to the empty air. A voice says “oh Jimmy, you were so funny.” Another says “Don’t let me down.” He looks at his watch,... (full context)