“Watch out for art, Crake used to say. As soon as they start doing art, we’re in trouble. Symbolic thinking of any kind would signal a downfall, in Crake’s view. Next they’d be inventing idols…” This passage on page 361 sums up so much, and really puts what I feel is a nice bow on the book. Sprinkled throughout the pages, two themes are dominant. Art, and religion, and in a way, a hybrid between art and religion is proposed in these pages.
““I thought you didn’t believe in God,” said Jimmy. “I don’t believe in Nature either,” said Crake, “Or not with a capital N.”” This passage is from page 206, and gives great insight into the character of Crake. It is clear that he believes at least in “nature”, but not in “Nature” the concept of pure, untouched “nature”. And given the world that Atwood portrays in Oryx and Crake, it is a possibility that “Nature” is an extinct being. The more interesting point is with the disbelief in God that Crake admits to. This is in contrary to how he is viewed by the Crakers, his creation and their god. No clearer is this oxymoron expressed than on page 104, “Crake was against the notion of God or of gods of any kind, and would surely be disgusted by the spectacle of his own gradual deification.” But what is Crake but a god?
He is not a god in the omnipotent sense, he has limits, and clearly he is mortal. But in the second half of the book, Crake works a great deal with gene splicing and the creation of new life. Something generally left to the realm of gods. On page 302, Crake is showing Jimmy around Paradice and at the introduction of the Crakers, he turns to Jimmy, “”You know how they’ve got floor models, in furniture stores?” said Crake. “Yeah?” “These are the floor models.”” Clearly the Crakers are the pride and joy, the models to be displayed, created, from genes, by Crake and others. Clearly, despite his best efforts, Crake has become a god. Wielding the power of life, and almost conquering death, Crake has elevated among men, becoming the very thing he ultimately detested. There was nothing he could do to stop it, he gave life. His art, the art of genetics, has taken a life of their own. And in the very moment art is released on the world, it takes a life of its own.
Despite all of his power, Crake could not stop his “gradual deification”. He posthumously became a god in the eyes of his “children”. As Crake warned, they had invented idols, and were disappointments in Crake’s view. There’s nothing he can do, becoming the very thing he hated, to the creations he was ultimately disappointed in. The artist’s work belongs to the world, and there is nothing he can do to stop it.