As we go about are everyday life, we often see various trends and changes in technology. It has been an important part of people’s systems and surely is an indispensable aspect of humanity. Technology is constantly changing, thus giving us a very fast-paced way of life. As we live this kind of lives, we often overlook some of the important things that have played a great role in shaping our society. Some of these aspects are language and literature. Through the rapid emergence of technology, we seem to be forgetting about the contributions of language and literature in our society, in our lives.
Our then fondness of words and books has been replaced by the latest gadgets and machines that others think make our lives easier. Though some people are still devoted in keeping the legacy of literature and writings, there are more who are into the comforts derived from these new technologies, thus forgetting about the essential aspects of the past, like language and literature (Smith 2003). Oryx and Crake. This novel written by Margaret Atwood is about how the world was “purged” from evil, from the clutches of technology, by technology itself.
Atwood, a graduate of Bachelor of Arts in English, wrote this novel as a comparison of the technicalities of technology and the resilience of language and literature. In this novel, she showcased how technology brought an end to itself, by destroying the people, by wiping the entire human race. It sort of self-destructed and replaced the people with human-like creatures which were engineered to be a lot different from humans. They were made so that they would survive without shelter or clothing or adequate food.
This is to eliminate the root of all problems; the human’s needs and wants. In this novel, the desire of the people became the precursor of what will be a problem for them in the future. It is shown that as the people eagerly seeks knowledge; they are overlooking important things in life. They are only focused in acquiring what they want, like knowledge, food, shelter, beautiful clothes, and many other things. They were so eager to seek for new knowledge, that when they managed to get it, they wanted to play god.
They created their own “kind,” some creatures who they think are way better than humans, in terms of ability and judgment, for these creatures don’t think much about themselves, but just only enough for them to survive (Anonymous 2004). Atwood’s writings show how language and literature were able to survive even the abrupt change in the environment, the existence of man and the introduction of man-like creatures. This resilience was shown when Jimmy became the snowman and was able to survive the mass extinction of humans.
Jimmy, even though he was the less successful, the less knowledgeable between him and Crake was able to move on and live, despite the extermination brought about by Crake’s experiments. Jimmy represents language and literature. He was in a second rate university, where he was studying language and literature. He was not as skilled as Crake, hi best friend who was a student of an elite university, where he was freely able to perform and excel in genetic experiments, and was experimenting on creation of the perfect children, who were capable of living through scarce food, without shelter or even clothing.
Crake represents technology in this story because of his skills and knowledge about math and science. As Atwood has created it, Oryx and Crake also tackled other social issues, like how people would go bout destroying each other, yet language and literature will still be prevail, even without these people. Because of people’s thirst for knowledge, they will compete with others, wherein this competition could lead to misunderstandings, then to war, and to the perpetual hatred of other people, which has resulted only because of this.
Another important issue tackled on this novel was the morality of man, whom was being attempted to be restored by Crake, when he tried to create the perfect human which are actually not humans. He gave these creatures an absolute advantage over their nature because they were given the abilities to survive even in the harshest of conditions. They don’t even need to wear their clothes, and live just like how they were born – naked. The aspect of Oryx being a child prostitute also raises the question of morality, because the main characters were involved with a prostitute (Anonymous 2003).
There is a love angle, if you can call it as such, here in Atwood’s novel. The two male characters think that they were in love with the prostitute, Oryx. This shows how the Oryx competes with the poor Jimmy. This novel showcases how the rich and the poor compete with each other, where they are totally of different league. Even though Oryx was a prostitute, the two males in this novel were able to get attached to her no matter what her stature is. Prostitution is unreasonably a very wide profession and that even in the future, it was still in process.
This is almost an analogy with literature and language because in this novel, both prostitution and literature were able to transcend time, where they have really made an impact from here to there own lives. They often risk their life and limbs for the lives of other people. This novel is not merely on the destruction of the whole world, but an eye opener which leads you to the importance of looking back on things that you have paying to the things which were being dropped right at your footsteps (Anonymous 2006).
The world we are living in and the world of Oryx and Crake are truly different. The world we live in thrives with the ease and comfort brought about by technology. Oryx and Crake’s world seemed to a place which was back in the primitive way of lie, back to hunting and gathering food, Jimmy, the Snowman is said be living from the fish gathered by the remaining human-like creatures. Since he was their god, he is being fed by them, giving him some weekly rations of fish. But these rations were still not enough for him. Also, in this world, technology is nothing but a dark past.
Crake, who has successfully purged the world from the clutches of technology, really wanted this to happen. He wants to cleanse the world from man’s greed and desires that is why he destroyed it. It is far different from our world, where people are so into the trends o technology, wherein because of that, they are slowly forgetting some precursors of the modern society, which includes language and literature. The Beach. Alex Garland’s creation is about how a westerner was able to find the island of his dreams, which was indicated in the map given by his dead friend (Allott 2002).
Set in the beach region somewhere in Thailand, Richard, an American, went on an adventure to find his Island, the beach where the map will lead them. With his two French companions, they were able to cross the sea towards a nearby island and traverse its tricky landscape to arrive at a beachside community, living amidst the lack of interaction with the outside world, living freely from the eyes of the modern society. They are living their lives the way the want, with everything they need planted on their backyard, including their most prized possession, a small marijuana plantation.
They sometimes go out and sell some of their “goods” to the nearby town, wherein they trade it or use the money to buy their basic necessities (Gluckman 2002). The issue tackled on this novel was how a community devoid of the outside world could thrive in a life without the luxuries of the present time, the gifts of technology and the ease they give to our lives. Here, they show how these people lived on hunting and fishing, on recreational activities which doesn’t include modern machines and computers and daily activities that require their physical strength and proper coordination.
However, at the ending of the story suffered a disaster. It showed how the community was torn apart, broken by a mistake sparked by Richard himself. This drove the protagonist into a near insanity and finally gave an end to the life in the beach. This means that their freedom, their weed-smoking days ended, and that they have to go back to the lives they were living before. The life tailored by the artists of technology and dictated by the trends in science and engineering (Stepp 2002).
Literature and language played a role in this novel because it was a pastime of the people in the community to learn different languages. This is through everyone’s effort, because of their racial differences. These languages include Asians, Latin, French and other cultures present in the community. They were a self-learning body, wherein Literature and language plays a great role in gaining knowledge (Anonymous 2002). Conclusion These worlds depicted on the novels by Atwood and Garland was a lot different to our own world, our society. But this doesn’t mean that they are just elements of fiction.
These worlds are created because of the fact that ours was an ever changing society, wherein one move could lead to the destruction of the present world we are living in and spark the creation of any of the authors’ worlds. Through these novels, we could learn how to live our own lives. Our society is a stream of endless possibilities. Anything could happen; anything could come out or vanish. Hopefully, these novels would serve as a mirror that we could reflect on, so that we could know what it is that we can do and what we shouldn’t do.