Ms. Gokturk

Oryx and Crake literary Analysis Essay


YOUR TASK: Write a 1200 word literary analysis essay in which you analyze Oryx and Crake . This is a literary analysis essay, and therefore, you should explore within your analysis HOW the author has used literary techniques/devices to develop the point. Please submit to turnitin.


Please refrain from making grandiose, sweeping statements. The first paragraph should be specific and direct, identifying the title, author, and genre of the works, and ending with a clear, interesting, and succinct 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 and erudite!


Bank: Choose one of the quotes, questions, or statements from below. Do you agree or disagree? 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? I would also like to see you push your thesis idea to the next level – in your statement, address the HOW and WHY. Keep asking those questions until you have answered them as far as you can.


Be mindful of the logic of your essay. Be deliberate with your topic sentences and that the evidence you select actually supports the topic. Blend your quotes, watch your punctuation. PROOFREAD!




Your Idea Here. 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


Discuss the importance of games.


Explore the significance of time to the novel.


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 the passage/statement (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.


Focus on the importance of Snowman’s journey.

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.


Crake’s project is “an elegant concept” (295).


“There were signs and I missed them” (320). What were they? Or, explore Crake’s plan and how/when/where it began. What about Jimmy’s mother?


Bugs. Analyze the symbolic importance of the insects that appear in the novel: ants, grasshoppers, spiders, caterpillars, butterflies…


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


Discuss the role of nature in the text.


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?


Explore Snowman’s evolution and/or devolution.


Read and explore a poem (such as Coleridge’s “Kubla 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 whom is spared the pain.


Discuss Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey Monomyth as it pertains to Snowman’s journey.


Consider the development of one or more of the many themes 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.



When making an argument, the structure is


  1. Assertion (your observation, your point) [don’t use “I” or “you”]
  2. Evidence (prove it from the work)
  3. Analysis (explain how the evidence proves your point) [many students omit this and their essays suffer – this is, after all, the most interesting part where you analyze and/or explain!]


When making an argument, three is the magic number. You need at least pieces of evidence to make an argument feel complete. Be consistent in your structure. How you analyze in one, follow the same for the others. What you set up in the introduction is your template. Be sure to BLEND. All part should flow into one another.