Oryx and Crake

Oryx and Crake Summary and Analysis of Chapter 7



Snowman has had a restless night. He cannot decide if it is worse to relive a past that is long gone or to live in a present with no hope. Thinking about the future makes him dizzy. He feels terrible due to his drinking binge the night before. Snowman watches the birds flying overhead and climbs down the tree. Opening his hidden food store, he pulls out one of his water-filled beer bottles and begins to drink. Pacing himself, he stops chugging the water and pours some over his head. He longs for something to read. Bits of words with long-forgotten meanings swirl in his mind.

When Snowman realizes that he is hungry, he decides to open a can of Sveltana No-Meat Cocktail Sausages. He eats them quickly and drinks the sausage juice left in the can. He knows that he is slowly starving to death. Originally, he had been able to get fruit from the arboretum but he quickly emptied it of its supply. He ponders various options—stealing eggs from a bird’s nest, fishing, etc. However, none of these is viable because he lacks necessary tools. He imagines himself ultimately having to turn to eating insects. Before he gives up to a life of worms and ants, he decides that he should visit the RejoovenEsense Compound once more. He worries about his safety given the presence of man-eating pigoons. A voice taunts him, telling him that he does not really want to return. Snowman does not reveal why he is hesitant to go back, but knows that he must in order to avoid dying of starvation.

With his new plan laid out, he begins to feel better. He begins preparing for his journey by packing up the few supplies he has. Snowman makes a mental note that he must speak with the Children of Crake before he departs. He does not want them to follow him because it would be dangerous for them. Having invented a story to tell them, he sets out toward their encampment. He whistles to let them know that he is approaching.


The Craker men are standing in a circle, six feet apart from one another. They face away from their encampment and urinate. They perform this ritual two times every day as a means of protecting their territory. Other animals that approach the line are scared away. Crake had given the men this special task so they felt important in their society.

Snowman waits for the men to complete their ritual before approaching. Once they break their formation, they gaze up at him and smile. Snowman steps over the freshly made line and makes a mental note that he should tell them that Crake directs them to donate some of their scent. He plans to use it to protect himself from the wild animals.

The Craker men and Snowman reach the center of the territory. There are a few people purring over an injured child. Crake gave the Crakers the ability to purr as a means of helping them heal themselves. A bobkitten had bitten the child and the Crakers were concerned. According to their understanding of the world, a child of Oryx should never hurt a child of Crake. Snowman worries that the animals are getting hungrier.

The majority of the women sit around the fire. They greet Snowman as he approaches. One woman holds a year old baby that is the size of a five year old. The rapid rate of growth that Crake endowed his creations with still unnerves Snowman. Snowman tells the attentive crowd of Crakers that he is going on a journey. One of the children asks if he is off to see Crake. Snowman answers affirmatively. Many questions follow. Eventually, some of the men chime in that they want to join Snowman on his journey. Another one of the men reminds the group that only Snowman is allowed to see Crake. The crowd calms until Lincoln pronounced that he and a few other men would go with him. Snowman quickly objects. He reminds the Crakers that Crake will be watching over them.

Snowman returns to his tree with sadness. He is angry at Crake for what he has done. He feels envious of Crake’s freedom from the burden of caring for the Crakers. His father’s voice tells him to stop crying. Snowman wipes his face and continues walking.


Snowman heads out on his journey carefully. He is barefoot, as his shoes have disintegrated. He walks under the trees and hears a male bobkitten in the distance. Snowman remembers how the bobcats were introduced to the wild as a means of controlling the population of feral cats. The bobkitten population eventually grew too large and they began attacking family dogs. He reminds himself that he also has to look out for wolvogs.

As he walks, he hears laughter. Snowman surmises that a mating ritual is taking place. When a woman is in heat, her buttocks and abdomen turn bright blue. As soon as the males notice this change, they gain bright blue erections. They dance and sing around the fertile female. She then picks four men and heads to the bushes to mate with them. Snowman ponders the benefits of such a system. There is no more rape or sexual assault and relationships are much simpler.

Snowman recalls a conversation about sex that he had with Crake years ago. Crake points out that much suffering is caused by “the misalignment of hormones and pheromones.” Love and lust are often unrequited. Crake suggests creating a system that makes mating a reciprocal cycle. Jimmy points out that Crake’s plan essentially makes individuals robots, simply following their biological mandates. Crake clarifies by stating that there would be courtship rituals, but that in his world, one would always succeed. Jimmy tries to explain to Crake that such a removal of love would only serve to remove the more artistic side of the experience. Crake does not understand the value in such things.

Propped against a tree, Snowman listens to the sounds of the Craker quintet’s lovemaking. Crake won. There is no more complexity in the experience of sex. He wonders what would happen if he tried to barge into their ritual. He feels intensely lonely at the thought. A woman’s voice encourages him to be optimistic. He hikes away, the sounds of the Crakers fading.


Finally facing the ugly truth, Snowman decides that he must return to the RejoovEsence complex to search for food. He is slowly wasting away on the beach, as there is no reliable source of food besides the once weekly fish delivered to him by the Crakers. It is notable that Snowman has to reach a state of near starvation to return to the Paradice complex. Such is his desire to distance himself from his painful past.

Snowman’s past remains a constant inner conflict for him. In fact, the novel is structured such that it is an unwanted replaying of his inescapable history; his current situation is too deeply entwined with events from the past for him to ignore it. The irony of his avoidance is that it ultimately turns into a dramatic replaying. This tension comes to a peak now that he is forced to trace his steps.

Prior to leaving the Crakers, Snowman decides to tell them of his trip so as not to alarm them with his absence. Confused by this change in events, the Crakers are concerned for his safety. Snowman, in turn, is worried about the dangerous things that he might face on his journey and thus does not want the Crakers to accompany him. Although his genuine concern indicates a level of fondness on Snowman’s part, he also heavily resents the position in which Crake has put him.

This paradoxical situation serves as a foil for the relationship that Jimmy had with his mother. Jimmy’s mother was concerned for Jimmy’s wellbeing, as demonstrated through documented moments of affection. At the same time, Jimmy’s mother had a desire to leave the compound, a place that she found morally reprehensible. In the process, she was forced to abandon Jimmy. Snowman faces a similar dilemma with the Crakers.

In addition, Snowman’s recollection of his conversation with Crake regarding the nature of sex and relationships is also of interest. Crake advocates for a reproductive system that is rather reductionist. In other words, it takes out many of the elements of romantic love that many individuals feel are so critical to a healthy sexual relationship. As Jimmy argues, he finds Crake’s idea of strictly hormonally driven reproduction robot-like, devoid of the artistic complexity inherent in human relationships. The irony of Jimmy’s statement lies in his own history of romantic relationships, discussed in depth in Chapter 10.