Oryx and Crake


Margaret Atwood

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The Color Green Symbol Analysis

The Color Green Symbol Icon
The color green is featured prominently in the novel. The compounds are decorated with lush artificial plant life, the world after the plague resembles a tropical rainforest, with big green vines reclaiming man-made structures. Most significantly the eyes of the Crakers are a bright and arresting green color (due to their ingestion of enormous amounts of chlorophyll. Though green traditionally represents what is natural and environmentally friendly, in Oryx and Crake it often indicates the intrusion of human science on natural processes. Most of the plant life that still exists after the plague is the result of experimentation and genetic splicing. The Crakers’ green eyes are the result of a godlike creative act accomplished by Crake—genetically altered human embryos so that they would be able to process vegetation like rabbits. However, green also represents the naiveté and innocence that perhaps preceded scientific advancements—Oryx must put green contacts in because the Crakers will not understand her brown eyes. The Crakers are “green” both in their eye color and in the sense that they have not seen or experienced much (just as a novice in any skill or discipline, for example, may be described as being “green”). Green in the novel is the convergence of hyper-intelligence and naive innocence, arrogance and humility, and complexity and simplicity. It is therefore a figure for much of the conflict in the novel.
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The Color Green Symbol Timeline in Oryx and Crake

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Color Green 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
...wakes up before sunrise. He is in a tree. He looks out through the thick green vegetation toward the ocean, and the nearby reef made of rusted car parts. He checks... (full context)
Chapter 8
Corporate Power & Commodification Theme Icon
The State of Human Relationships Theme Icon
...the rebels. While watching this coverage, Jimmy sees his mother on the screen, wearing a green bandana over her mouth and shouting at CorpSeCorps men. He asks Uncle Pete to freeze... (full context)
Chapter 12
Scientific Progress & Its Costs Theme Icon
Corporate Power & Commodification Theme Icon
...the Crakers. They are naked, but betray no self-consciousness. They are strikingly beautiful, with bright green eyes. Each one had a different skin color. Crake asks Jimmy if he is familiar... (full context)