A Foreshadow on Today’s Society as Seen Through Atwood’s Oryx and Crake Short Summary

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A foreshadow on today’s society as seen through Atwood’s Oryx and Crake. In today’s society, the one thing most stressed about is one’s outer appearance. It doesn’t matter how smart one is or how talented you are, if you have beauty then you have the world. Margaret Atwood, author of Oryx and Crake, focuses her novel around a society where most companies promote a better outer appearance for people. People would spend every spare dollar to get wrinkle free skin, so that they can be young looking old people.

The “Crakers” were made to have no human imperfection, which is the cause that makes people feel inferior. Free experimental procedures enabled people to look younger at any risk because it was free. Lastly in Atwood’s society, cosmetic procedures have become so normalized that one can never tell what is or what isn’t real. Today’s society has become so fixated on having procedures, such as plastic surgery, that it has become an obsession to be beautiful. Atwood’s prediction on how society will become obsessed with cosmetic procedures is accurate because of the path our society is headed.

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According to the research, people are on the path to a plastic surgery obsessed society, because they feel like their looks are inferior, people are oblivious to the risks because of the cheap procedures that are out there, and it is no longer considered a taboo. Atwood describes a future where everyone’s flaws can be fixed with a simple procedure. Today’s society is leading up to this life because people feel like their looks are inferior to everyone else’s. In the future that Atwood predicted, the author mentions how Crake created a super human free from all the flaws and imperfections people suffer from today.

In one shot, the Crakers were made of what society thought a perfect person should look like. In the novel, Snowman describes the Crakers saying that “They’re every known color…no ripples of fat around their waists, no bulges, no dimples orange-skin cellulite on their thighs” (Atwood 100). Every common flaw that people seek to fix today were eliminated and corrected through the creation of the Crakers. Snowman saw the Crakers as too perfect and they were missing the value of uniqueness.

Snowman felt that “it was the human imperfection that used to move him, the flaws in the design: the lopsided smile the wart ext to the naval, the mole, the bruise” (Atwood 100). All the Crakers looked the same. Flaws are what make people unique and beautiful, with imperfections being taken away, no one is no longer considered unique. People lost the factor that made humans what they are. The future that Atwood describes through the use of the Crakers proves that because people are so insecure with their looks, they will always be in the search to correct their flaws. The fact that Crake was able to rid people or at the very least make a new human race without flaws shows the path today’s future is heading towards.

That is if people don’t stop feeling like they are second-rate in society. Atwood’s future seems to be inevitable because of how people many people feel insecure about their flaws in today’s society. The overall inferiority that people have on their flaws in today’s society will lead to what Atwood predicted the future to be like. People nowadays result in plastic surgery because they feel like they will never measure up to how celebrities, models, or friends look like. They take their healthy body into a plastic surgeon office and let them cut and mold them into someone they aren’t.

Rather than being proud for having a beauty mark in their face, they end up removing it, because of what society defines as having a flawless face. Jeffery Shapiro, reporter for Fox News, writes an article on the Fox News website, called “Our Sick Obsession with Plastic Surgery. The investigative reporter researches the reason why America is so obsessed with plastic surgery. Shapiro uses celebrities such as Heidi Montag, who was beautiful before, to show how even beautiful people have insecurities about themselves.

In the article, the Fox news reporter, Shapiro, mentions that “this isn’t about shallowness or even physical beauty, despite the illusion that it is. It’s about fear, fear of being unworthy and sub-standard. [It] is contagious and has reached epidemic proportions, preying upon the insecurities of both young and middle-aged women all over the civilized world”. People are no longer changing their looks because they are superficial but it goes deeper than that. People are resorting to plastic surgery because they feel like they don’t meet up with society’s expectations of beauty.

This obsession is turning into a global problem, because everyone thinks that fixing a problem in their body will higher their self esteem. It only takes one person to invent a cure for all flaws. And in Atwood’s world, Crake was that one person who found that cure by making a new sub species of human. Today’s society is leading up to the same life style as Atwood’s future because they feel like they don’t look they way society describes an ideal person to look like, and will do anything to make themselves look that way.

This obsession is leading people to accept any procedure that will help solve their imperfections without thinking of the risks that come with them. People resort to plastic surgery because there are now many forms to get the procedures done at a cheap price. However, most are oblivious of the risks that cheap procedures entail. The future as described by Atwood will be that people could get cosmetic procedures done as an experiment for free, and those who were oblivious enough to do it, suffer the consequences. In today’s society, plastic surgery has become cheaper as the years go by.

However, many cheap procedures come with hidden risks that many people don’t know about. In Atwood’s predicted society, the author mentions how companies tested out their new procedures by using human test subjects who are ignorant enough to do it for free. In the novel, Atwood writes “the dozen or so hopefuls… volunteered themselves as subjects, paying no fees but signing away their rights to sue had come out looking…[and ended up] uneven tone[d], greenish brown, and peeling in ragged strips” (54). Due to the fact that the procedures were free, people signed their lives away to be experimented on with the chance to change their appearance.

And the slim chance they would look worse than how they came in. People seem to forget the fact that everything that seems too good to be true, probably is. The people of Oryx & Crake, were so desperate to get work done that they signed up for these procedures without thinking of the fact that the side effects could be worse than the actual procedure. This future of companies offering risky free procedures is what our society is leading up to. Today’s society is turning to cheap alternatives such as the black market because they are a cheap and easy way for people to get work done on them.

Today’s obsession with plastic surgery has lead people to choose other alternatives for plastic surgery such as the black market because it is cheaper. Today’s society is leading up to the same life as the people Atwood describes, because people will do anything to fix their imperfections. Black market plastic surgery has become a new phase for people who are desperate enough to get plastic surgery but lack the funds to get them. Toni Yates, who is a reporter for ABC News, investigates the real dangers of cheap plastic surgery in “Dangers of Black Market Plastic Surgery”.

In the article, Yates reports on how six New Jersey women were hospitalized after injecting themselves with industrial silicon found places such as Home Depot. Yates in the web article adds how the women “went to an unlicensed person who injected them with industrial grade silicone… [They] were injected, and became infected”. The women risked their lives to get work done to look beautiful. Rather than going to a highly trained professional they went to an unlicensed person and suffered the consequences. People are not willing to pay the price for beauty even though they want it.

Today’s society has just starting to become like how Atwood described. Today, people are going to the black market but tomorrow they will be risking their lives to try out new procedures just so that can change how they look. Today’s society has only begun to resort to cheap means of getting plastic surgery. Although they are aware of the risks, they put that aside to look beautiful. Atwood’s portrayal of the future is accurate because of how she mentions the fact that people volunteer themselves to get experimented on because it was free and it could provide them with beauty.

Not only has the obsession with plastic surgery lead people to find cheaper ways of getting work done, it has also led plastic surgery to no longer be seen as a taboo. In the past, plastic surgery was considered taboo; however, today plastic surgery has become normalized. Atwood’s future society is accurate because people have made plastic surgery so normal that society has become more plastic than real. Atwood focuses her novel around new experiments where they manipulate species and turn them into other sub-species. Companies such as RejoovenEsense were turning old people into wrinkle-free old people.

This crave for changing what nature intended was noted by Jimmy when he told Crake “did they occur in nature or were they created by the hand of man, in other words are they real or fake? ” (Atwood 200). Atwood’s predicted society had become so infused with fixing what was wrong with what nature made, that now it was hard to tell whether something is real or not. Cosmetic procedures had become so normal in that society that it wasn’t no longer considered weird if someone had work done or not. Today’s society is becoming like the future world, because plastic surgery is no longer considered something that is shunned by society.

In an article posted by an online newspaper sponsored by Kent State University called “The Burr”, Michelle Park wrote an article called “Transformers”. Park mentions how plastic surgery is no longer taboo. In the article, Park writes “television shows like MTV’s “I Want a Famous Face” and FX Network’s “Nip/Tuck” have ensured the disappearance of taboos. In the past few years…women as young as 14 are going under the knife, The Washington Post reported last year” (as said in “Transformers”). Television shows are a major reason why plastic surgery has become so normal in society.

It is encouraging people to get work done to fix what they don’t like in themselves. The normality of today’s use of plastic surgery assures people that the future will be filled with live “barbies” and “kens”. Atwood is accurate on how the future will be like if people continue on this obsession with plastic surgery, because in the future no one will be able to tell what is real in a person and what was cosmetically done. Today’s society is gradually becoming the same as the future Atwood envisioned in her novel Oryx and Crake.

This proves that Atwood was accurate in her rendition of the future. Social pressures have made people’s outer appearance seem inferior and feel the need to have plastic surgery to fix their flaws. Today’s society has made beauty such an obsession that the normality of plastic surgery has lead many companies to scam on people for their money. They know people will buy a product promised to make them look younger. Atwood predicts that the future will lead our society to become more fake than real. People will spend all their life savings to reach their own idea of beauty. While some achieve this illusion of a perfect outer appearance, others die in the struggle to fix their flaws.

Works Cited

Atwood, Margaret. Oryx and Crake. New York: DoubleDay, 2005. Park, Michelle. “Transformers. ” CYBURR. 2005. Kent State University . 26 April, 2010. <http://burr. kent. edu/archives/2006/fall/Spring2005/index. html> Shapiro, Jeffrey Scott. “Our Sick Obsession With Plastic Surgery. ” Fox News. 2010. Fox News Network. 19 April, 2010. <http://www. foxnews. com/opinion/2010/01/22/jeffrey-scott-shapiro-heidi-montag-plastic-surgery-addiction/>. Yates , Toni. “Dangers of black market

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A Foreshadow on Today’s Society as Seen Through Atwood’s Oryx and Crake Short Summary. (2016, Dec 25). Retrieved from


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