Oryx And Crake: An Imbalanced Social Hierarchy

1206 Words5 Pages
Ricky Tang
Contemporary Non-Fiction
Mr. Scot Slaby
19 Oct 2015
Oryx and Crake: An Imbalanced Social Hierarchy
Imagine going to work in one of the toughest areas of the city after graduating from a poorly endowed college, only to realize your best friend has everything together: an in-demand skill set, elite education, and a prestigious job in one of the most high-regarded areas of the city. It is just such a story in Margaret Atwood’s literary masterpiece Oryx and Crake; Jimmy portrays a lower class citizen living in the pleeblands (the slums) while Crake an elite living in a high profile gated community. Told through the perspective of Snowman (future Jimmy), this novel sees Jimmy and Crake’s friendship stumble over the years after high school.
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Atwood satirizes our society’s values for one skill over another through the drastic differences in profession. In Oryx and Crake, those that are numerically inclined are treated like dukes while those that are verbally inclined are treated like peasants. Crake and his scientist counterparts not only live a more luxurious life, but are also more respected by the society. Crake graduates Watson-Crick with a job at RejoovenEsense, “one of the most powerful Compounds of them all” (Atwood 248). RejoovenEsense is not only one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies, but one of the most respected in the world for their research and development of the anti-aging pill. With that said, it is no surprise that high-level employees within the company are treated like royalty. Meanwhile, those that are verbally inclined like Jimmy have a hard time finding a job after graduating from Martha Graham. Jimmy knew it wouldn’t be easy for him to land a job right after graduating Martha Graham, so he spent the summer working for the Martha Graham library. The school asks Jimmy to throw away old books, but Jimmy refused to do so. This further accentuated the demise of the artistic and creative use of language. Clearly, those that work in non-scientific fields are despised by society, as Jimmy feels that “no one at AnooYoo was capable of appreciating how clever he had been” (Atwood 249). People with careers in the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) receive higher pay and are valued more in the corporate world, while the verbally inclined work in word-driven fields such as advertising and receive very meager pay or benefits. Though such differences in social class exist in today’s world, they are undoubtedly exaggerated. Atwood delivers the message that due to the rapid advancement in technology, only those that work in such scientific fields are revered by society while
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