It causes a jolt of terror to run through him, this absence of official time. Nobody nowhere knows what time it is.
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… (101 more words in this explanation)
There are a lot of blank spaces in his stub of a brain, where memory used to be.
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… (98 more words in this explanation)
“Leave Daddy alone,” said his mother. “Daddy is thinking. That’s what they pay him for. He doesn’t have time for you.
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… (172 more words in this explanation)
He thought of pigoons as creatures much like himself. Neither he nor they had a lot of say in what was going on.
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… (126 more words in this explanation)
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.
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… (108 more words in this explanation)
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.
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… (75 more words in this explanation)
There’d been a lot of fooling around in those days: create-an-animal was so much fun, said the guys doing it. It made you feel like God.
On his birthday, Jimmy receives a pet from his father: a rakunk, a combination of a skunk and a raccoon. As Snowman, in the present, remembers the rakunk, he thinks about the genetic engineering that… (110 more words in this explanation)
“We give people Hope. Hope isn’t ripping off!”
“At Nooskins’ price it is. You hype your wares and take all their money, and then it's no more treatments for them…Don’t you remember the way you used to talk?...you had ideals, then.”
[…] “There’s nothing sacred about cells and tissue.”
In this passage, Jimmy's parents have an argument about the morality of Jimmy's father's genetic research. Jimmy's father works for a corporation called NooSkin that's pretty clearly corrupt and immoral: it charges people huge sums… (147 more words in this explanation)
“Homo Sapiens Sapiens was once so ingenious with language, and not only with language. Ingenious in every direction at once.”
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… (101 more words in this explanation)
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.
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… (106 more words in this explanation)
But love was undependable, it came and then it went, so it was good to have a money value, because then at least those who wanted to make a profit from you would make sure you were fed enough and not damaged too much.
In this flashback Jimmy learns about Oryx: she's mostly had a horrible, joyless life. Oryx has been sold to many different people; her own mother sold her to a man named Uncle En, for instance… (163 more words in this explanation)
Crake thought he’d done away with all that…God is a cluster of neurons, he’d maintained…They’re up to something though. Something Crake didn’t anticipate. They’re conversing with the invisible. They’ve developed reverence.
In this passage, Snowman thinks about the new society that's arisen on Earth, after the decline of humanity. The Crakers have been bred by Crake to be uncreative, emotionless, and basically atheistic. And yet the… (112 more words in this explanation)
Sex is no longer a mysterious rite, viewed with ambivalence or downright loathing, conducted in the dark and inspiring suicides or murders. Now it’s more like an athletic demonstration, a free-spirited romp.
In the post-apocalyptic world, the Crakers are what remains. The Crakers are like humans in some ways, but they lack humans' capacity for jealousy, sexual rivalry, and love: thus, they have sex, but only as… (165 more words in this explanation)
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.
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… (141 more words in this explanation)
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.
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… (136 more words in this explanation)
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.
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… (136 more words in this explanation)
Maybe the guards tried to get out of RejoovenEsense just like everyone else. Maybe they, too, hoped they could outrun contagion.
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… (76 more words in this explanation)
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.
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… (102 more words in this explanation)
“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.”
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… (148 more words in this explanation)
“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.”
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… (124 more words in this explanation)
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.
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… (150 more words in this explanation)
Had he been a lunatic or an intellectually honourable man who’d thought things through to their logical conclusion? And was there any difference?
In this passage, Snowman/Jimmy tries to make sense of Crake, perhaps the most complex character in the novel. Jimmy wonders if it's right to classify Crake as a madman--or if he deserves to be called… (197 more words in this explanation)
Homo Sapiens Sapiens joining the polar bear, the beluga whale, the onager, the burrowing owl, the long, long list.
In this passage, Snowman notes that humanity has seemingly become another extinct species--no different from the burrowing owl, the beluga whale, etc. (species which were already extinct in Jimmy's pre-apocalyptic world). It's strange to think… (107 more words in this explanation)
Our arboreal ancestors, Crake used to say. Used to shit on their enemies from above while perched in trees. All planes and rockets are simply elaborations on that primate instinct.
Snowman remembers that Crake used to talk about mankind's "arboreal ancestors"--i.e., the common ancestor shared with monkeys and apes, the evolutionary forebears of human beings. Crake notes that monkeys (like our ancestors, presumably) defecate on… (151 more words in this explanation)
“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.
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… (165 more words in this explanation)