The Wish to Stop Time Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake

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Tatiana de Freitas Massuno


What if humans continue to pursue “more and better”? What if we continue living within our safe anthropocen-tric boundaries? What if we ignore the question of when too much is too much? Margaret Atwood’s “speculative fiction” presents no new worlds, as Atwood’s world resembles our own; her novels present, on the other hand, what-if realities. By extrapolating trends, Oryx and Crake poses the afore-mentioned questions within Modernity’s framework. Atwood’s novel revisits key concepts such as time and subjectivity and brings progression to a halt. What may the wish to stop time, our human condition, result in, after all? Modernity and its concepts are under scrutiny in a novel in which climate change and nature seem to have been surpassed. The present paper aims, therefore, at investigating what this “us without a world” story, which becomes a “world without us” one, can tell us about the pursuits of Modernity and their repercussions: that is, ecological awareness and the good Anthropocene.

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