Before I begin this post, I feel as if I need to come clean about something: I felt a little letdown with this novel. I felt that Atwood used the broken narrative structure and the odd prose to gussy up what was a fairly cliche scifi/dystopic trope. And don’t get me wrong, I like stories that utilize the human extinction trope, but I just didn’t think Atwood added anything new to the conversation.
Regardless, I did find the general outlook of humanity presented in the novel interesting. If Crake is to be believed, and I see no reason why he’s not, humanity was heading for starvation, and eventually extinction, despite Crake’s manipulation. Presumably, global warming had pushed humanity into living in domes for protection from erratic weather, and in the pleeblands it appeared as if disease and viruses ran rampant. Catastrophic conditions notwithstanding, humanity seemed more interested in self-indulgence and status than in attempting to improve life on Earth. The materialistic attitude presented in the novel reminded me of Wordsworth poem “The World is too Much with Us.”
The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.–Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.
Snowman’s selflessness in leading the Crakers out of the dome and helping to watch over them stood out as a lone act of philanthropy, although, I do think an argument could be made on whether or not Crake was perhaps the most selfless person in the book. Since Crake felt so firmly that the Crakers should not evolve into spiritual beings it would make sense that he would never want them to meet him personally. It would also make sense that he knew when the Crakers were expelled from their Edenic dome that they would eventually deify Oryx, as well. Consequently, Snowman would have been Crake’s best hope for leading the Crakers out into the world.
Either that, or Crake’s cowardice prevented him from living out his magnum opus. I’m not sure, because Crake was so emotionless that I never had a firm grip on who he was a character. Was he a savior of humanity? Other than their placidness, the Crakers were far better equipped for long-term survival than normal humans. Or was he a genocidal sociopath? I was waiting for some kind of emotion from Crake when Snowman revealed that he knew the actual plan of Blyss Pluss, but Crake seemed rather indifferent. I wasn’t expect a Bond-Villian type monologue, but something woulda been nice.