Oryx and Crake

Oryx and Crake Summary and Analysis of Chapter 15



Snowman wakes before sunrise. He lies in the tree listening to the sound of the ocean waves. In the distance, he notes a grey haze on the eastern horizon. He makes his way down the tree slowly, being sure to land on his good foot. Snowman walks toward the water to clean his foot in the salt water. He returns to his tree, removes his sheet, and places his baseball cap on his head. He does not want to be slowed down by clothing. His foot and ankle are swollen. Whatever infection he has, it did not succumb to the drug cocktail he injected into it.

He walks along the beach with a stick for support. He can see the smoke of the people’s fire as he approaches. He knows that surprise is his best tool—they do not know he exists.

He sees a footprint in the sand, then another. He sees that the people were wearing shoes, removing them to enter the water. He ponders what they might have been doing. He smells the smoke of their fire and hears their voices. He is unsure of how they will react to his presence.

From behind a bush, he glances at them. They too have a spraygun. The party of three is composed of two men and a single woman. They are emaciated. Snowman’s eyes water as he watches them roast a rakunk over the flames. He shivers with fever.

Snowman is unsure of his next move. Should he approach waving a white flag? Should he try to bribe them? It is possible, he thinks, that they might listen to his story. On the other hand, perhaps they will respond with violence. He knows that he is outnumbered. He could shoot them from afar, before they spot him. He asks the empty air what he should do. He hears Oryx and Crake’s voices echoing in his head. Oryx tells him he is funny. Crake asks him not let him down. He lifts his broken watch and decides it is time to go.


The final chapter of Oryx and Crake contains the second climax of the novel. The first climax, the murders of Oryx and Crake, occurred in Snowman’s memory. The second climax, however, occurs in Snowman’s present. He is faced with a decision that he cannot make. Snowman is unsure if he should treat the three starving humans that have passed through the Craker encampment as friend or foe.

Ultimately, this situation, and its outcome, hinge on how Snowman identifies. In the last chapters of the novel, Snowman is seen to have shifted his way of thinking and, to a certain extent, his own understanding of how the world works to that of the Crakers. Such a shift is predictable as the Crakers are the only sentient beings with which he has contact. Extremely limited in their knowledge of life before the release of the virus and unable to read, the Crakers world is very small. Snowman has adjusted to this. The arrival of three humans tests his allegiance, not only to the Crakers, but also to the entirety of the project planned by Crake.

As Snowman approaches, he is filled with questions and doubt. The book ends on a cliffhanger, as Snowman’s ultimate decision is not revealed. This forces the reader to imagine what might happen given their knowledge of Snowman’s past and present experiences.