Student Question

How does Atwood's portrayal of child exploitation and abuse in Oryx and Crake serve the narrative?

Quick answer:

Atwood's world has the most vulnerable members of society being abused and exploited for entertainment purposes.

Expert Answers

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In the nightmare dystopian world that Snowman tells us about through a variety of flashbacks, it becomes clear that the future Atwood sees awaiting us is marked by widespread abuse and exploitation of the most vulnerable members of society. What is interesting about this phenomenon is that Atwood sees this as being explicitly linked to the internet and the rise of media technology. For example note the way in which pornography is something that obviously has a massive market, as people pay huge sums to be filmed on screen with naked children. This is of course where Jimmy and Crake first see Oryx, as her early life was spent being filmed in various pornographic scenarios and settings.

Atwood seems to be suggesting that when we become more and more technologically advanced this only gives human nature more opportunities to indulge in its basest instincts. In a world that is already marked by massive inequality, Atwood only sees these inequalities as deepening and becoming more exacerbated as time passes. As a result, the most vulnerable in society--children--will become more vulnerable and open to abuse as people are willing to pay more to fulfill their perverted desires.

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