Ms. Gokturk


Oryx and Crake In-Class Essay


YOUR TASK: Write an essay in which you analyze Oryx and Crake from a particular idea.  You may prepare ahead of time for the essay by selecting your topic, formulating a thesis and preparing an outline; however, you may not pre-write the essay as it is a timed event. You may print an outline but you may not copy and paste an outline into your essay. During the in-class essay, you may consult the novel, the journals, your notes and the notecard you prepared, but you may NOT consult any online source, pdf, etc.


Choose one of the quotes or statements from below. Write a 1-2 page single space essay on ONE of the following passages/statements, which you will use as a critical lens for the novel. Interpret the passage/statement (state what it means in your own words).


The first paragraph should be specific and direct, identifying the title, author, and ending with a clear, interesting, and succinct and arguable thesis statement.  Develop the ideas fully in the body, providing logical connections and relevant text-based evidence (TBE).  Embed each quote in your explanation/interpretation.  Use MLA parenthetical page citations. Your tone should be formal!


Bank:  Choose one of the quotes, questions, or statements from below. Agree or disagree with the passage/statement as you interpreted it without using “I” or “my” or “me.”  Simply take a position: is it true or false … based on the context in the novel?



Your Idea Here. Remember how I told you to write down an idea you brought up in class? Use that as your topic/position! Or, try to generate a topic of your choosing.  The best papers are those which matter to you. Find something to write about that you find interesting, perplexing, disturbing. Address an idea the novel presents that you feel a passionate urge to explore


Snowman’s world is more beautiful than Jimmy’s.


Crake is intellectually honorable.


Snowman says, “Things happened, I had no idea, it was out of my control” (45).


Interpret a passage/statement of your choice (state what it means in your own words).  Select a passage/quote from the novel and use it to explore an important aspect of the novel. For example, “We understand more than we know.”


Jimmy’s mother says, “You’re interfering with the building blocks of life. It’s immoral. It’s … sacrilegious” (57).


“As a species we are doomed by hope?” (120).


Jimmy says, “I don’t have a price” (139).


Ars Longa Vita Brevis (188).


“Jimmy had few illusions” (188).


Jimmy is also to blame for the JUVE epidemic.


How does he become the Abominable Snowman and later a melting snowman?


Snowman’s journey serves many purposes. Explore.


Crake calls his project “an elegant concept” (295).


“There were signs and I missed them” (320).


Bugs. Analyze the ant and the grasshopper idea of Crake and / or  consider spiders, caterpillars, butterflies…); hat flicked out: spider, butterfly, ant….


Discuss the importance of animals and treatment of animals to the narrative.


Discuss the role of nature in the text.


Crake’s plan failed.


Examine the role of abstract (or symbolic) thinking.

Analyze the text as a religious text.


Dreaming surfaces throughout the text.  What role does dreaming play in this narrative?


Read and explore a poem (such as  Coleridge’sKubla Khan; Or, a Vision in a Dream” or TS Eliot’s “The Hollow Men” or  a relevant poem) and use it at the lens to explore the text.  You will need to explicate the poem first and then connect to Atwood’s novel.


Watch out for art, Crake used to say. As soon as they start doing art, we’re in trouble. Symbolic thinking of any kind would signal downfall…” (361).


“Would you kill someone you loved to spare them pain?” Crake asks Jimmy. Explore this statement from different perspectives and who is spared the pain.


Consider the development of one of the many themes/motifs we discussed: isolation, earth abides, crossing lines, exploitation, indifference, empathy, animal rights, etc. How and why did Atwood develop this idea?



Revisit the video we watched before the novel (“It’s Time to Question Bioengineering” a Ted Talk by Paul Root Wolpe: and discuss the novel through three important talking points presented. Cite the video: AuthorLastName, AuthorFirstName. "Title of Video." TED, Date, URL (without the https://).





·        Use the Writing Center! Room 212 during 4-1 and 4-2. Get help/feedback. Revise and polish all your writing before including it in your portfolio.



·        Never take reading short cuts such as Sparknotes or Wikipedia, etc. What’s the point?

·        Never, ever plagiarize. Whether it be a phrase, an idea, or analysis from any uncited source other than yourself, it is plagiarism. Plagiarism is the intentional or unintentional use of someone else’s ideas and presenting them as your own. Even the smallest infraction will result in termination of your project. Always cite any words or ideas from anywhere other than your own mind. See above MLA citing.

·        Do not plot summarize. Select your evidence deliberately.

·        Do not wait until the last minute to complete your reading or writing.

·        Do not use “I” or “you” in your writing.