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Oryx and Crake

Margaret Atwood
  • Study Guide
Summary

Chapters 14 & 15

Summary Chapters 14 & 15

Summary: Chapters 14 & 15

In the present time, Snowman packs as many supplies as he can carry and leaves Paradice. He makes his way out of the Compound and begins to cross No Man’s Land, on his way back to the Crakers. As the noon heat approaches he climbs a tree and shields himself in its shade. His foot throbs, and he considers what would happen if he died up in the tree. After a couple hours of rest, he climbs down and continues on his way.

Snowman arrives back near where the Crakers live. When approaches the Craker village, he hears an unusual noise that sounds like men and women chanting “Amen.” As he gets closer, Snowman observes a statue with a head and a body made of ragged cloths. The Crakers notice Snowman and welcome him back. They tell him they’ve been calling him, and Snowman realizes they were chanting his name, not “Amen.” He also realizes that the Crakers have created a statue of his likeness, an idol meant to carry their voices to him. Snowman recalls Crake’s warning: “As soon as they start doing art, we’re in trouble.”

The Crakers ask if Snowman’s journey into the sky was difficult. They believe that Crake lives in the sky, and they assumed the tornado had taken Snowman there. Snowman explains that the tornado brought Crake down to earth, and that they visited in Paradice, the place they all came from. The Crakers express their desire to go see Crake, but Snowman tells them Crake turned himself into a plant.

One of the women notice Snowman’s swollen foot, and a group converges around him to purr over his injury. The pain diminishes, but the swelling doesn’t fully abate. The Crakers bring fish for Snowman to eat, and he watches as children dismantle the idol, imagining that it’s his real body they’re tearing apart.

Abraham Lincoln informs Snowman that a group of three others like him came, one woman and two men. Others explain that the men looked angry and that one of them carried a “noisy stick”—a gun. The group retreated further along the beach when the Crakers tried to approach them. Snowman’s mind races, thinking about the other survivors and imagining the worst.

The next day Snowman wakes before dawn, climbs down from his tree, hobbles to the shore, and washes his wounded foot in the water. His wound is worse than ever, and he realizes the antibiotic cocktail he’d injected himself with in Paradice has worn off. He removes his sheet and, wearing nothing but his baseball cap, proceeds along the beach. He follows a trail of human footprints toward a column of smoke rising in the distance.