Characterization of Oryx and the Soul in Oryx and Crake

While working with the idea of the mind-body-soul relation in Atwood’s Oryx and Crake last week, I started to think more about it in direct relation to the primary characters – Oryx, Crake, and Snowman.  After playing with the thought for a bit, I’m pretty satisfied with correlating these three interrelated aspects of humanity with these three interrelated people.

I’ll begin with the last of the characters to be fully introduced: Oryx.

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Oryx and Crake: Exploring the Mind-Body-Soul Relation

“When did the body first set out on its own adventures? Snowman thinks; after having ditched its old traveling companions, the mind and the soul, for whom it had once been considered a mere corrupt vessel, or else a puppet acting out their dramas for them, or else bad company, leading the other two astray. …

… “But the body had its own cultural forms. It had its own art. Executions were its tragedies, pornography was its romance.”

Oryx and Crake, pg. 76

 

Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake (which I have not finished yet, please no spoilers!) explores the relationships between body, mind, and soul, grounding the tale of genetic manipulation in more familiar philosophical territory. The titular Crake, at least, is (so far) tied directly to the materialist viewpoint, one I hold near and dear to my heart. What follows is a page of my materialist scrawlings, produced at 2AM after reading the passage above.

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Quotations in Blood Meridian

Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian is a crazy awesome western that you should all go out and read right now. It’s not a spaghetti western by any means – it’s one of the darkest, most brutal investigations of mankind’s capacity for cruelty I’ve ever come across. It opens with a third-person narrator describing the traumas of The Child, soon to become our protagonist, The Kid. I’m only capitalizing for clarity, because McCarthy does no such thing. By the time we enter the story proper, however, characters begin speaking, even the nameless Kid. The funny thing is, there aren’t any quotation marks to be found at all.

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