106 pages 3 hours read

Margaret Atwood

Oryx and Crake

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2003

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Oryx and Crake

  • Genre: Fiction; science fiction/dystopian
  • Originally Published: 2003
  • Reading Level/Interest: Grades 9-12; college/adult
  • Structure/Length: 15 chapters; approx. 389 pages; approx. 10 hours, 30 minutes on audio
  • Protagonist and Central Conflict: This non-linear story gradually reveals how a man named Jimmy came to be known as Snowman and, as a result of extreme genetic engineering, became the last of humankind.
  • Potential Sensitivity Issues: Genetic engineering; child pornography and other sexual content; execution; death by suicide and assisted suicide; murder; profane or crude language; substance abuse

Margaret Atwood, Author

  • Bio: Born in 1939; a native of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; graduate of Victoria College and Harvard University; recipient of the Franz Kafka International Literary Award, the PEN Center USA Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Booker Prize, among other awards
  • Other Works: “Siren Song” (1974); The Handmaid’s Tale (1985); The Blind Assassin (2002); “Time Capsule Found on the Dead Planet” (2009)
  • Awards: Giller Prize (shortlisted; 2003); Man Booker Prize (shortlisted; 2003); Governor General’s Award for Fiction (shortlisted; 2003); Orange Prize (shortlisted; 2004)

CENTRAL THEMES connected and noted throughout this Teaching Unit:

  • Ethics
  • Family and Friendship
  • Voyeurism and Exploitation
  • Science Versus Nature

STUDY OBJECTIVES: In accomplishing the components of this Unit, students will:

  • Lay the groundwork for understanding and analyzing the novel’s plot and themes by exploring issues involving scientific ethics, genetic engineering, and the value of STEM fields as compared to the humanities.