Atwood’s Farms were able to customize and “grow an

Atwood’s modified
futuristic world focuses on the developments of projects that resist diseases
and alter the course of aging. These technological advancements separate
scientific achievement and artistic ability. Societal obsession with expanding
lifespans organized projects
like Operation Immortality in order to develop treatments and enhance
appearance. Genographers, like
Jimmy’s father, are prioritized in the scientific field in order to further
develop projects sponsored by the Compounds. Developers of the pigoon project
under OrganInc Farms were able to customize and “grow an assortment of
foolproof human-tissue organs in a transgenic knockout pig host – organs that
would transplant smoothly and avoid rejection, but would also be able to fend
off attacks by opportunistic microbes and viruses” (Atwood 22). The
customization of organs benefitted those who could afford such advancements and,
systematically speaking, allowed the prioritization of intelligence.

The glorification
of the scientifically inclined was not only represented in those who accelerate
projects in the Compounds, but represent the power obtained through the
experiments themselves. The creation of the rakunks was based on a hobby where
genographers played “create-an-animal” and continued fooling around because it
made them feel like God altering and splicing genes in order to create a new
species (Atwood 51). The frivolity presented in the creations of the rakunks aligns
itself with the glorification of power in the scientific field and the
modification of the “original.” For example, Pigoons in the NooSkins Compound
were altered in order to replace aging skin and rejuvenate the body.

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Technology, despite its advancements, usurped the understanding of historical
events and continues to impact modification.

Angela Laflen
expresses the manipulation of vision as “media, government, and multinational
corporations have become entirely integrated and work together to provide
constant entertainment to a public that is increasingly isolated with the
company-run Compounds” (108). Visual manipulation is not only presented in what
is already marketed in jimmy’s society, but is expressed through the
limitations of the internet. When Jimmy and Glenn become friends, they use
Uncle Pete’s private code to scour the internet. Their access to hidden parts
of the web allows them indulge in cultural information of their time as well as
historic information. The internet repurposing cultural and historical developments
allow the boys to witness different representations of history through gruesome
sites, renditions of texts, and virtual games. For example, broadcasted live suicides
which commend the act suicide and further expresses the fascination of
lifespans, but in this instance, death: “The assisted suicide statistics shot
way up after this show got going” (Atwood 83). The rising participation of
witnessing suicides parallel with Glenn’s attraction to the site and his own
fascination with modifying human lifespans.

modification not only reconfigures medical advancements, but alters the
presentation of cultural texts. Some pornography presented in the novel
modifies the context of literature. Jimmy’s first depiction of Shakespeare’s
Macbeth was through Anna K – a rendition of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina – who was a
“self-styled installation artist with big boobs who’d wired up her apartment so
that every movement of her life was sent out live to millions of voyeurs”
(Atwood 84). This portrayal of visual manipulation not only allowed others to
witness alterations of history, but reconfigure the purposes of “historical
texts” in a scientific world.

The pre-apocalyptic
world allowed games like Blood and Roses which parodied past actions for the
enjoyment of playing to erase history. The game allowed Glenn and Jimmy to
reinterpret history in order to justify past atrocities. History had become a
character presented through two elements: atrocity and achievement. Blood
represents large-scale human atrocities like genocides and the Roses illustrate
human achievements in form of artwork and scientific breakthroughs. The premise
of such a violent game is contrasted by the artificiality of enacting such brutality:

“You roll the
virtual dice and either a Rose or a Blood item would pop up. If it was a Blood
item, the Rose player had a chance to stop the atrocity from happening, but he
had to put up a Rose item in exchange. The atrocity would then vanish from
history, or at least the history recorded on the screen…. The player who
managed to retain the most human achievements by Time’s Up was the winner”
(Atwood 79).

Snowman recounts the
reconfiguration of their history through The
Divine Comedy, The Crusades, Paradise
Lost, the destruction of the Aztec, etc. Although the game reinterprets
history through the hands of the players, it also commissions the deletion of
history in order to adapt to something better, or even worse. The manipulation
of history through an engineered game is ironic in the context of an already
modified society repurposing the present in relation to the past. The blurring
between reality and imagination are blurred not only within the game, but
through Crake’s erasure of the “imperfect human” and Snowman’s unreliable

Glenn’s scientific
excellence allowed him to develop his own experiment. His assistance in the
RejoovenEsense Compound correlates with Blood and Roses and his need to rectify
everything humans have gotten wrong in the past. Through his facilitation in
the compound, Glenn’s has scientific breakthroughs in developing the BlyssPluss
Pill and in creating the Children of Crake. The achievements of the pill –
protect humans from diseases, prolong youth –also enhance sexual stamina while
sterilizing the user in order to deplete the growing populace. Glenn’s idea of
the “perfect human” is conceived through the formation of the Crakers. In this
context, Glenn had won a real version of Blood and Roses and rewrote history
when the only person alive to verbalize it was Jimmy.

The transformation
of Jimmy’s futuristic world caused Snowman’s post-apocalyptic world; through
this, the revision of history becomes more prevalent because the novel “begins
after the end of human history and stands as the beginning of new history”
(Snyder 476). Snowman’s narration attests to the erasure of history due to the presence
of technological advances and his narrative journey between past and present reconstructs
the formation of events. Snowman’s modifications in narrations allows him to
alter the people he once knew and birth them as characters in history.

While Snyder
believes that Snowman’s recounted events through Jimmy is due to his being
“haunted by memories of the past, or, rather, he is himself a kind of ghost, a
spectator of the past who haunts an unimaginable present yet is denied the
consolation of a future” (472), Laflen states that: “Jimmy’s isolation predates
the catastrophe that leaves him the sole bearer of his culture’s language and
knowledge because of the lowly status of literature in his culture” (112). As
both of these statements stress alterations of time, Snyder’s statement
expresses the reconstruction of narration from present to past while Laflen’s
highlights Snowman’s inability to remember specific words and physically
present Snowman’s recreation of history through text.

Snowman’s representation
of history not only allows him to make sense of the past, but also help the
Children of Crake understand the world they now live in. By renaming himself
and Glenn, Snowman erases parts of Jimmy and gives himself the power to mold
history for the Crakers. When the Children of Crake ask with fascination what
toast is, he responds with “it is something very, very bad. It’s so bad I
can’t even describe it” (98). Snowman’s power over cultural interpretation
isn’t just perceived through his experiences as Jimmy, but also through the
historical knowledge he has. His control in narration allows him to revise the
history he was a part of. For example, the oration of the Craker’s origin –
Oryx and Crake as the sole creators of the world they live in – allows Snowman to
erase the Glenn’s practices on the world.

The frequent
revision of history is physically presented through language. Through the loss
of human interaction, Snowman has hard time remembering and processing the
meaning of words. His loss of the word Mesozoic demonstrates the impact Glenn’s
erasure of humans has impacted Jimmy’s knowledge of words as Snowman. The
physical revisions of the text – “recent extraordinary events
catastrophe,” “splicers hand-selected by Crake and subsequently eliminated,”
and “prior to his assisted suicide death” – reinforce the alterations of
history portrayed throughout the text (Atwood 346).


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