106 pages 3 hours read

Margaret Atwood

Oryx and Crake

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2003

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Chapters 1-3Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 1 Summary

We are introduced to a man called “Snowman,” who is listening to the sea while ruminating on the landscape and his current state of life. Looking at his watch causes a moment of panic, as it reminds him that there is no longer any concept of time. He is also wasting away from hunger and is covered in scabs.

As he sits on the beach, Snowman observes children frolicking by the sea. He never ventures into the sea as he is too cautious of what might lurk there, and he envies the children’s carefree nature. He knows that they will come over to him sooner or later, intrigued by his strange presence. Sure enough, they start questioning him about objects that they have found, such as a computer mouse and a plastic container. Snowman does not know how to explain what life used to be like and always has the same answer: “These are things from before.”

Snowman took his name from the Abominable Snowman due to the shadowy, mysterious nature of this creature. Previously, it had been one of Crake’s rules that a person’s name had to be based on a physical resemblance to a real creature—no one could have been called “unicorn,” for instance.