Instructions: Please select one of the following topics and write a 3-4 page essay in response. While it is not necessary for you to use an outside critical source, you are free to do so. Refer to our “Integrating Quotations” handout as you write, and be attentive to how you are using both primary and secondary sources. Your essays should be double-spaced and in MLA form. Please use at least 3 short quotes per page from the novel in support of your argument. 1) Write a character analysis of Oryx. Who is she? Why does behave the she behaves? And why does her name appear in the title? (No need to answer these questions one-by-one, of course. These are just meant to get you thinking about the complexity of her characterization.) 2) Describe the status of parenting in the novel. What does Atwood seem to be telling us about our current experience of family and our definitions of childhood? 3) In the novel, is technology an absolute evil—and thus a tool of humanity’s most basic self-destructive instincts—or is it potentially redemptive? 4) Comment on the temporal structure of the novel. Why do we begin after “the fall”? And what is the significance of the Snowman’s lengthy detour through memory? And, of course, his ongoing conversations with the dead? (Here again, no need to answer these questions one-by-one. These are just meant to get you thinking, and you are perfectly free to roam in other directions so long as you discuss the narrative structure of the story.) 5) What is the significance of the Pleeblands in the novel? How does the distinction between corporation workers (e.g., Jimmy and Crakes’ parents, and later Jimmy and Crake themselves) and the “pleebs” comment on our present? 6) What is the significance of Jimmy’s training in rhetoric and his job in marketing? How does this relate to Crake’s work as a scientist? 7) What is human in Atwood’s novel? How are humans distinguished from animals? 8) Are the Craker’s human? Do they contain the very best of humanity? Are they “perfect” or do they contain the seeds of “imperfection”? 9) The novel contains a number of disturbing references to pornography—references that are all the more disturbing because of their apparent casualness. In these references, and particularly through the character Oryx’s experiences, what does Atwood seem to be saying about the contemporary experience of women? What does she seem to be saying about the contemporary experience of men? 10) The conclusion to the novel seems especially dark. What point does Atwood seem to be making by ending the story the way she does? 11) Write an essay that begins, “What Crake fails to understand is…” Continue to make a cogent and focused argument explaining the significance of Crake’s greatest misunderstanding(s). 12) Write an essay that argues that what Atwood is critiquing in Oryx and Crake is apocalyptic thinking itself. Does she offer “another way” either explicitly or implicitly? Tips: Remember, this is a 3-4-page essay! Choose a topic that interests you and focus your argument. Very often, the best way to be succinct is to plan ahead, so if you are not an outline writer, this might be a good assignment for trying this strategy. This paper is meant to have you focus on just one of the myriad of questions that Atwood’s novel presents us with. If there is another question that is not covered in the topics above, just send me a note at [email protected], and we will try to accommodate your interests.