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Oryx and Crake Discussion Questions

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

'Oryx and Crake' is a dystopian novel by Margaret Atwood about two childhood friends living in a post-apocalyptic world after a pandemic. This asset contains discussion questions for classrooms about this novel.

Oryx and Crake

Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake is a fictitious novel that explores what could happen if much of the population were wiped out as a result of deadly disease. Students will learn how the survival instinct influences scientific ethics, family, friendship, and daily life during desperate times. The questions in this asset support classroom discussions about this novel.

Chapters 1-5

The questions in this section help the reader understand the characters, setting, and background information.

  • Describe the setting of Snowman's home. Why do you think it looks this way?
  • How is Snowman different from the children? Describe his relationship with them.
  • Snowman's childhood name is Jimmy. Why do you think he chose his nickname? What do nicknames reveal about a person?
  • Describe Jimmy's childhood. What effect does childhood trauma have on him? What does Jimmy's mother symbolize?
  • Explain the pigoon project. How does it demonstrate the goals of science? What do you think of this type of science? Explain your answer. What are some other examples of deviant science practices in this novel? How are these similar to modern scientific practices? How do you think the author feels about cross-breeding? How do you know?
  • Describe the relationship between Snowman and Oryx. Why do you think he thinks of her so often? Who are the people from your past that enter your thoughts often? Why do you still think about them?
  • Why do you think the author alludes to historical events, such as Waco and Osama bin Laden, while Snowman reflects on the video games he played with Crake? What do these allusions reveal about the society in which Snowman was raised? What are the topics of your favorite video games? How do they reflect the society you live in.
  • Compare Snowman's view of Crake to the stories he tells the children about Crake. Why do you think they are so different?

Chapters 6-10

The questions in this section support student comprehension of the conflict and social issues that are explored in this novel.

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