Margaret Atwood’s “Oryx and Crake” Quotes (40 Quotes)





    These things sneak up on him for no reason, these flashes of irrational happiness. It's probably a vitamin deficiency.

    A puff of airùwhuff!ùhits his ears, blows out the candle. He can't be bothered relighting it, because the bourbon is taking over. He'd rather stay in the dark. He can sense Oryx drifting towards him on her soft feathery wings. Any moment now she'll be with him. He sits crouched in the chair with his head down on the desk and his eyes closed, in a state of misery and peace.



    They spent the first three years of school getting you to pretend stuff and then the rest of it marking you down if you did the same thing.

    All it takes,ö said Crake, ôis the elimination of one generation. One generation of anything. Beetles, trees, microbes, scientists, speakers of French, whatever. Break the link in time between one generation and the next, and itÆs game over forever.

    It was the thumbprints of human imperfection that used to move him, the flaws in the design: the lopsided smile, the wart next to the navel, the mole, the bruise. Was it consolation heÆd had in mind, kissing the wound to make it better?

    Those walls and bars are there for a reason,ö said Crake. ôNot to keep us out, but to keep them in. Mankind needs barriers in both cases.ö ôThem?ö ôNature and God.ö ôI thought you didnÆt believe in God,ö said Jimmy. ôI donÆt believe in Nature either,ö said Crake. ôOr not with a capital N.


    Jimmy found himself wishing to make a dent in Crake, get a reaction; it was one of his weaknesses, to care what other people thought of him.


    Anyway, maybe there weren't any solutions. Human society, corpses and rubble. It never learned, it made the same cretinous mistakes over and over, trading short-term gain for long-term pain.

    Jimmy had been full of himself back then, thinks Snowman with indulgence and a little envy. HeÆd been unhappy too, of course. It went without saying, his unhappiness. HeÆd put a lot of energy into it.


    Arboreal, a fine word. Our arboreal ancestors, Crake used to say. Used to shit on their enemies from above while perched in trees. All planes and rockets and bombs are simply elaborations on that primate instinct.



    At school, he enacted a major piece of treachery against his parents. His right hand was Evil Dad, and his left was Righteous Mom. Evil Dad blustered and theorized and dished out pompous bullshit. Righteous Mom complained and accused. In Righteous Mom's cosmology, Evil Dad was the sole source of hemmoroids, kleptomania, global conflict, bad breath, tectonic-plate fault lines, and clogged drains, as well as every migraine headache and menstrual cramp Righteous Mom had ever suffered.




    Once in a while, Jimmy would make up a word but he never once got caught out. ... He should have been pleased by his success with these verbal fabrications, but instead he was depressed by it. The memos telling him he'd done a good job meant nothing to him; all they proved was that no one was capable of appreciating how clever he had been. He came to understand why serial killers sent helpful clues to the police.

    Women, and what went on under their collars. Hotness and coldness, coming and going in the strange musky flowery variable-weather country inside their clothes -- mysterious, important, uncontrollable. That was his father's take on things. But men's body temperatures were never dealt with; they were never even mentioned....

    Even sex was no longer what it had once been, though he was still as addicted to it as ever. He felt jerked around by his own dick, as if the rest of him was merely an inconsequential knob that happened to be attached to one end of it. Maybe the thing would be happier if left to roam around on its own.

    Or heÆd watch the news: more plagues, more famines, more floods, more insect or microbe or small-mammal outbreaks, more droughts, more chickenshit boy-soldier wars in distant countries. Why was everything so much like itself?


    EXTINCTATHON, Monitored by MaddAddam. Adam named the living animals, MaddAddam names the dead ones. Do you want to play?


    Falling in love, although it resulted in altered body chemistry and was therefore real, was a hormonally induced delusional state, according to him. In addition it was humiliating, because it put you at a disadvantage, it gave the love object too much power. As for sex per se, it lacked both challenge and novelty, and was on the whole a deeply imperfect solution to the problem of intergenerational genetic transfer.


    He doesn't know which is worse, a past he can't regain or a present that will destroy him if he looks at it too clearly. Then there's the future. Sheer vertigo.

    So this was the rest of his life. It felt like a party to which he'd been invited, but at an address he couldn't actually locate. Someone must be having fun at it, this life of his; only, right at the moment, it wasn't him.

    He feels the need to hear a human voiceùa fully human voice like his own. Sometimes he laughs like a hyena or roars like a lionùhis idea of a hyena his idea of a lion.


    He has to find more and better ways of occupying his time. His time, what a bankrupt idea, as if he's been given a box of time belonging to him alone, stuffed to the brim with hours and minutes that he can spend like money. Trouble is, the box has holes in it and the time is running out, no matter what he does with it.

    The prospect of his future life stretched before him like a sentence; not a prison sentence but a long-winded sentence with a lot of unnecessary subordinate clauses, as he was soon in the habit of quipping during Happy Hour pickup time at the local campus bars and pubs. He couldnÆt say he was looking forward to it, this rest-of-his-life.

    HeÆd developed a strangely tender feeling towards such words, as if they were children abandoned in the woods and it was his duty to rescue them.

    There were a few other moves of his father's he could do without as well - the sucker punches, the ruffling of the hair, the way of pronouncing the word son, in a slightly deeper voice. This hearty way of talking was getting worse, as if his father were auditioning for the role of Dad, but without much hope.


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