dystopian literature

Topics: Transhumanism, Human nature, Science fiction Pages: 5 (1848 words) Published: February 11, 2014
Visions of the future fall into two different genres: Apocalyptic and Dystopian. Which is worse? Margaret Atwood’s “Oryx and Crake” displays the features of an always developing society. Through the quest to create a utopia through pure determination to improve the human condition, the novel convinces the reader the situation is relatable. Alike to many dystopian novels, Oryx and Crake includes a protagonist Jimmy, who begins questioning society, often feeling intuitively that something is wrong with the world. This shows that the genre serves to produce cautionary tales to warn humanity that its own actions will result in destruction. However, in contrast to a dystopian self imposed situation, in I am Legend, Richard Matheson writes of a post-apocalyptic world, where Robert Neville is adapting to the given situation which is being the last man on earth. Oryx and Crake suggests a society that is completely governed by the corporate hegemony and rampant consumerism. Lots of this is explored in chapter 10 of Oryx and Crake. Chapter 10 fully dedicates itself to the dystopian, pre-apocalyptic world of Jimmy. The chapter starts with the section “Vulturizing”. This in itself immediately portrays how the compounding areas are preying on the pleeblands. Vultures are creatures which prey on the dead. This shows that what we see as a relatively normal, previous society is perceived as obsolete, showing that embodying customary human characteristics has become outdated and worthless, which in turn foreshadows the definitive end of society. A vulture only sees largely from an aerial view. At this point, the bird is uninvolved with the world below it, and only ventures there to prey. This completely reflects the greed and ravenousness of the compounding areas. It shows that the compounders only see from afar, and cannot see the overall effect they are having on society. This results in their growing greed, as the desperation of the pleeblanders is feeding the ever-growing compounding areas, creating a larger consumer market therefore consequently causing the compounding areas to exploit their increasing desperation. The next section is called “AnooYoo”. The name is a pun on how you can recreate yourself into a socially adequate being – “A new you”. Bettering yourself is a pure representation of humanity in that we are always determined to improve the human condition. Much like our society today, the pleeblanders feed off the possibility to become perfect. However, “AnooYoo” takes the human condition to extremities – “Pills to make you... blacker, yellower, sexier and happier”. The company itself is satirising the technocratic society they live in, as people change as they want to better themselves, they only want what the consumer market wants them to want. By advertisement, greedy consumer based companies are able to supply the people with what they demand; people lose their individuality, which inevitably leads to the eventual loss of humanity. In Oryx and Crake, by exploiting the consumerist society, Crake technically takes people to their natural conclusion. Society as they know it had become surrounded by deceit and lies to make profit. “Naturally they develop the antidotes at the same time as they’re customizing the bugs, but they hold those in reserve. They practise the economics of scarcity, so they’re guaranteed high profits.” The scientists themselves are described as “socially spastic” showing that those at the forefront of the scientific breakthrough to improve humanity, actually have no interest in society, and don’t really know what they’re doing scientifically (hence “spastic”) and are doing their job purely from a consumer point of view, which demonstrates the selfishness and greed in society. By intentionally spiking the BlyssPluss Pill which appeals to the consumer market, Crake ultimately shows that through influence and encouragement by others, humans are irrevocably objects of their own destruction. Contrast:...
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