Date of Award


Degree Type




First Advisor

Jeffers, Jennifer

Subject Headings

Atwood, Margaret, 1939 Oryx and Crake -- Criticism and interpretation, Male domination (Social structure) -- Fiction, Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake


This essay analyzes the role of masculine domination in the twenty-first century as portrayed in Margaret Atwood's 2003 novel of speculative fiction, Oryx and Crake. I argue that Atwood's uncharacteristic choice of male primary characters highlights the masculine/feminine and the human/nature binaries in order to critique the destructiveness of a continued masculine domination of nature and the feminine. I utilize Donna Haraway's theory of speculative fiction as an alternative space in which we can begin to explore new relationships with nature to critique Atwood's novel. In my first chapter, I posit that Atwood utilizes Judeo-Christian allusions to situate the novel within the framework of biblical hierarchy. In my second chapter, I show that Atwood inverts the symbol of the monster in order to illustrate the continued domination of nature and the feminine and to designate the masculine as monstrous through its appropriation of nature and the feminine. My third chapter explores the boundary crossing of the genetically altered Crakers as an attempt to reconstruct the social body that ultimately fails because of Crake's embeddedness in a culture of masculine domination. While some critics read Jimmy/Snowman as the possibility for humanity's redemption, my fourth chapter argues that he actually reinscribes an ideology of masculine domination into the Craker culture through his mythologies and ritualistic teachings. I contend that Atwood's characters fail to realize the true possibility of change in the "elsewhere" she creates by virtue of their inability to cross the boundary of their own Judeo-Christian centered ideology which acts as a critique of the West's current culture of consumer driven environmental degradation