Oryx and Crake

Oryx and Crake Summary and Analysis of Chapter 9



Snowman eventually walks his way across the once park that he had been treading through. He enters the pleeblands—full of wrecked cars and debris. The area used to be residential. The shops on the ground floors are completely empty now. Plants grow through the cracks of most buildings. Soon the plants will overtake the buildings.

Snowman ponders the possibility that he is not the only human alive. Maybe others survived in isolation. He imagines the questions that the human descendants will ask- -how did this happen? He thinks that they just might decide that what they see, remnants of society past are not real.

Snowman remembers an argument he once had with Crake. Crake had asked Jimmy to imagine the world if civilization had been destroyed. Crake surmised that it could be accomplished with the destruction of a single generation. Instructions for how to put together complicated technology would be lost, as would the vast majority of the once available surface metal. Humanity would be finished.

Snowman finds it hard to walk through the overgrown vines that cake the floor. He sees vultures circling him in the sky. He wonders if it even matters if he dies.

The sun rises higher in the sky and Snowman begins to feel light-headed. He tries to hum to cheer himself up. Perhaps he is not actually the Abominable Snowman; he could be the kind of snowman that children build on chilly winter days. He stops to drink water and hopes that he will soon find more.

The houses are slowly replaced with warehouses. After that, he approaches the Compound. This is the dangerous part of his trip, as he will have to cross open space. There is nothing to shield him if he finds that he needs cover.

He finally reaches RejoovenEsense. He maneuvers through the barricades, stepping around the body of a dead guard. As he continues on he sees a trail of abandoned objects, evidence of hope lost.


By the time Snowman reaches the outer wall of the RejoovenEsense Compound, he is covered in sweat. He stops to eat his chocolate energy bar and drink the rest of his water. As he looks at the land stretched in front of him, he sees the large houses, shopping malls, and clinics that once constituted his world. He continues onward, primarily in search of food.

He chooses a random house and enters it through a broken window. He calls out but, of course, there is nobody there. He begins his search for sustenance. Snowman finds the remains of a man in the bathroom, and the woman of the house lying in the king-sized bed. He stops to look at himself in the mirror. He sees a complete stranger looking back at him.

The woman in the bed reminds Snowman of Oryx. She had a wig that resembled the hair of the dead woman. Oryx enjoyed dressing up. Oryx teased Jimmy by telling him that she knew men liked variety.

Snowman continues to walk through the house. He exchanges his dirty sheet for a clean one. He finds a few snack foods to take with him and a couple of useful tools. He bags them all in a black garbage bag. He feels as if he has broken into someone’s house after seeing a note scrawled next to the telephone.


Snowman knows that he will have to try a different house in order to find food. He climbs back out the window only to see five pigoons staring at him. He waves his stick at them, attempting to spook them away. The pigoons hold their positions. The pigoons eventually retreat. Snowman waits until he is sure it is safe to proceed.

He later sees seven pigoons coming out from behind a bush. They stare at him from afar.

Snowman carefully weighs his options and ultimately decides to walk away from them sideways in the direction he came. A storm begins to darken the afternoon. Snowman heads to a checkpoint cubicle for cover. He heads for the back room just as the lights turn on. He sits in a chair and begins to fret about all of the things that could go wrong. The lights go out; he is alone in the dark.

Snowman snacks on cashews, drinks some bourbon, and, just before setting his head on the desk, he sees Oryx floating toward him.


Snowman spends much of his time reminiscing about the hints that Crake gave about his plans. Snowman feels responsible for not having caught these tidbits of information in time to have prevented what ultimately happened. It is easy for Snowman to blame himself for two reasons. The first is that hindsight is 20/20, or in other words, it is much easier to find fault after the fact than during. The second reason is that Snowman is the last man alive. His solitary existence facilitates his self-loathing because there is no one else around.

Snowman’s guilt is only compounded by the physical remnants of death and destruction that he has to walk through in order to reach RejoovenEsense. The loss of hope that he sees in the strewn items, rotting corpses, and abandoned houses is a constant reminder of what he did not suffer. As Snowman respectfully ransacks a house for food and supplies, he has flashbacks of Oryx. Again, in trying to escape his past he is forced to confront it.

Snowman’s only company consists of a small herd of pigoons that stare at him in hungry lust. His relationship with these animals has changed dramatically over time. His father originally worked on a pigoon project at OrganInc Farms. When young Jimmy would visit the pigoons with his father, he felt pity for them. All they did was sleep. Now, ironically, he runs for his life from the very same animal. Survival has become a game that both Snowman and the pigoons have to play.

The threat of the pigoons can also be read as a criticism regarding the genetic modification of animals. Jimmy’s mother, Sharon, felt that the highly spliced animals were dangerous because man had meddled with nature. Jimmy’s father, on the other hand, argued that the transformed animals were simply a conglomeration of cells. In trying to create a species that would benefit humankind, Jimmy’s father ended up contributing to his son’s eventual predator. The theme of nature vs. “nature” is played out in Snowman’s escape from an animal that he once pitied.

The pigoons, Crakers, and rakunks all symbolize parts of Snowman's past. The pigoons were featured prominently in his childhood and in his relationship with his father. The Crakers embodied the beliefs of Snowman's once best friend. The rakunks represent Killer, Jimmy's pet from long ago. All of these artificial creations are physical reminders of a past that he cannot escape. To a certain extent, Snowman's constant recalling of the past is understandable as he lives in a world of memories.