106 pages 3 hours read

Margaret Atwood

Oryx and Crake

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2003

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Chapters 4-6Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 4 Summary

Snowman realizes that he does have a listener: a rakunk peering out at him from under a bush. This prompts the memory of his father giving him a rakunk as a pet, probably as a birthday present. Jimmy’s birthdays had been a cause for celebration when his mother was working and he was looked after by Dolores, the maid. When his mother was at home, she seemed unable to recall Jimmy’s date of birth and he would have to remind her. Similarly, his father would make excuses and send him an OrganInc e-card and a gift intended to increase his skills or intelligence. He reflects that his father eventually gave up trying to motivate him.

Rakunks had been created during after-hours experimentation by the OrganInc engineers, who enjoyed playing God. When his father gave him the pet, Jimmy was annoyed by his accompanying remarks. He had a “hearty way of talking,” that Jimmy felt was false: it was as though his father were auditioning for the role of “Dad” but failing. His mother, meanwhile, had a detached manner. She did not get angry or storm out; rather, she acted as though their lives had nothing to do with her.

A month or two after Jimmy received the rakunk, his father started to work at NooSkins and the family moved into the HelthWyzer Compound.