106 pages 3 hours read

Margaret Atwood

Oryx and Crake

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2003

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Ethics is a crucial theme that is at the core of this novel. Regarding genetic engineering, the work being done is ostensibly intended to help humanity, such as the pigoon project. However, some of the behavior that company members engage in is far from ethical. One argument between Jimmy’s parents centers on this subject, with Jimmy’s mother arguing that the work moved way from its original aim. Jimmy’s father and the other workers may have had good intentions originally, but competitiveness and greed had taken precedence over compassion and a desire to help people.

Crake’s scheme also involves ethical considerations. Like the other companies, he is willing to go to great lengths to protect his project, and he comes across as an extremely driven character who will engage in behavior that many would see as unethical. It is even suggested at one point that he is responsible for his own mother’s death due to experimentation with viral strains. Unleashing a deadly virus on the entire human population would certainly seem unethical. The same goes for Crake’s deception of Oryx and the general public about the BlyssPluss pills. However, Crake claims that he has a valid reason for these actions, believing that his vision will benefit the world as a whole.