Oryx and Crake

Cockroaches and Snowmen: Liminal Spaces as Liberating Mechanisms in Hage and Atwood College

Although optimism does not lie on the surface of Rawi Hage’s Cockroach and Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake, the texts are existential discussions of the validity associated with the ‘hope for humanity’. Hage’s unnamed narrator, a suicidal immigrant, is a psychoanalytic experiment left to wander a convoluted capitalist world, while Atwood’s Snowman/Jimmy is a man experiencing a severe identity crisis in a post-apocalyptic society that is working to engineer a new race of homo sapiens. Both protagonists adopt non-human attributes in attempts to endure the consumer driven commonalities; the unnamed immigrant undergoes an ambiguous transformation into a cockroach and Jimmy is stripped of civility as a sole survivor of a virus and assumes the role of ‘Abominable Snowman’. The characters exist in marginal spaces that are outside of the capitalist system that operate their worlds as a means to attain individuality. They are classless, free-flowing signifiers that survive liminally in concealment from capitalism. Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish is a political lens through which the characters can be examined to segregate and distinguish their liminal statuses as a mechanism to escape corporate culture and human immorality.


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