How attached are we to technology? : An examination of the technological culture in Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake and its subversion of the nature-culture paradox.

Natalie Ann White. How attached are we to technology? : An examination of the technological culture in Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake and its subversion of the nature-culture paradox. Honors Thesis, University of Washington. 2014.

My thesis examines the technological obsession in Margaret Atwood's 2003 novel Oryx and Crake and the ways in which this apocalyptic narrative comments on our perception of nature and that which constitutes it. I predominantly focus on the discipline of ecocriticism and pay particular attention to the concept of the nature-culture paradox, which attributes our distance and incompatibility with nature to the divide between it and human culture. Most ecocritics, however, hold that this paradox is capable of resolution by way of a merge between the two seemingly irreconcilable realms. Through the work of ecocritics that include Lawrence Buell, Dana Phillips, Michael Bennett, and Terry Gifford, I analyze what I describe as the technological culture" within the novel and how that culture builds on and intensifies this disassociation with the physical environment and natural processes. By way of applying several ecocritical concepts — which include place-attachment, the post-pastoral, and sustainability — to the character's treatment of nature while absorbed in the all-consuming reach of this technological culture, I argue that Atwood's novel challenges ecocriticism's proposed resolution to the nature-culture paradox. The suggested merge between the natural and cultural realms is complicated by the characters' participation in a culture that is incapable of merging with nature. I therefore examine the novel's commentary on the aptitude for technological innovation resonant within society and the resultant connotations for the natural world."

Status of Research or Work: 
Completed/published
Related Fields: