What is the role of spectacle in modern life according to either Phillip K. Dick’s The Penultimate Truth or Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake? Support your argument in response to this question...

What is the role of spectacle in modern life according to either Phillip K. Dick’s The Penultimate Truth or Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake? Support your argument in response to this question with specific descriptions and analysis of the spectacles that appear in the novel.

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durbanville | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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It is not possible to write a six-page essay on this page but the following should provide sufficient information to allow for the development of an essay.

Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake has a familiar ring to it. Large corporations trying to use unethical scientific means to create some kind of masterclass. The twenty first century is becoming increasingly more dependent on technology for its ability to introduce concepts otherwise beyond the average person's grasp. Oryx and Crake, reveals that everything has a price and can be negotiated which then renders a potent form of voyeurism as an acceptable method of entertainment. Curiosity, when it extends beyond the borders of "normal,"delivers results that introduce the reader to spectacle. Even for the Crakers, "The spectacle of depravity is of interest even to them, purified by chlorophyll though they are." In Guy Debord's "The Society of the Spectacle," he points out that "All that once was directly lived has become mere representation" and a person can establish a passive relationship with anything or anyone around him or her but which is far from appropriate.

The integration of live suicides, animal atrocities and, in fact, any form of "entertainment" bears the question of what friendships are and should be built upon. Shared interests which are intolerable but which create a relationship render humanity itself as a spectacle. "Nothing some people won’t do to get on TV." Snowman's very attempts at becoming popular reveal his confusion and bewilderment at what has become of him.    

The very essence of nature and the continuation of human life such as it appears in Oryx and Crake itself becomes a spectacle as it relates to the often questioned distinction between the creation of life by normal and abnormal means and where to draw the line between what is acceptable and what is not. Transgenesis and the ability to "create" super beings and then perpetuate the "gene" so that a whole new species results confirm that the consequences of trying to create perfection outside the human realm are terrifying and should be enough to ensure that Crake cannot succeed. 

People constantly strive to find new ways to entertain themselves and Atwood's suggestion that changing mankind is even possible is not a new concept and regularly dwells in people's minds. For some, the consideration is ridiculous and not worthy of debate and for others, "Crakers" are a very real possibility. To combine the natural with such an engineered method of existence and where appearance is everything just adds to the spectacle. There is little respect when "every moment of her life was sent out live to millions." and facing the consequences of such moral degradation becomes part of life - part of the spectacle. 

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