The People of Sand and Slag:
the abject confronts us, on the one hand, with those fragile states where man strays on the territories of animal. (Kristeva 12)
in fact recognition of the want on which any being, meaning, language, or desire is founded.(5)
Put another way, it means that there are lives not sustained by desire, as desire is always for objects. Such lives are based on exclusion.(6)
old enoughon 23)
the humanin Oryx and Crake
The Abominable Snowman – existing and not existing, flickering at the edges of blizzards, apelike man or manlike ape, stealthy, elusive, known only through rumours and through its backward-pointing footprints. Mountain tribes were said to have chased it down and killed it when they had the chance. They were said to have boiled it, held special feats; all the more exciting, he supposes, for bordering on cannibalism.(8; ch. 1)
What’s his [Snowman’s] life worth anyway, and who cares? Out, out, brief candle. He’s served his evolutionary purpose, as fucking Crake knew he would. He’s saved the children.(107; ch. 5)
(56; ch. 4)That’s all we need,said Jimmy’s mother.More people with the brains of pigs. Don’t we have enough of those already?
Monkey brains, had been Crake’s opinion. Monkey paws, monkey curiosity, the desire to take apart, turn inside out, smell, fondle, measure, improve, trash, discard – all hooked up to monkey brains, an advanced model of monkey brains but monkey brains all the same.(98; ch. 5)
They’ve accepted Snowman’s monstrousness, they’ve known from the beginning he was a separate order of being.(101; ch. 5)
He [Snowman] can imagine the dismay – as if an orang-utang had crashed a formal waltzfest and started groping some sparkly pastel princess.(169; ch. 7)
There’s a distant murmur from the village: human voices. If you can call them human. As long as they don’t start singing. Their singing is unlike anything he ever heard in his vanished life: it’s beyond the human level, or below it.(104; ch. 5)
Despite their irritating qualities – among which he counts their naive optimism, their open friendliness, their calmness, and their limited vocabularies – he [Snowman] feels protective towards them.(153; ch. 7)
this dissolution of meaning(Atwood 39)
From nowhere, a word appears: Mesozoic. He can see the word, he can hear the word, but he can’t reach the word. He can’t attach anything to it. This is happening too much lately, this dissolution of meaning, the entries on his cherished wordlists drifting off into space.(39; ch. 2)
Now let’s all choose a word, a different word, so we can each have our own special mantra.(68; ch. 4)
(110; ch. 5)Oryx,he says.I know you’re there.He repeats the name. It’s not even her real name, which he’d never known anyway; it’s only a word. It’s a mantra.
Jack had a name for the building where the movies went on. He called it Pixieland. None of the children knew what that meant – Pixieland – because it was an English word and an English idea, and Jack couldn’t explain it.(142; ch. 6)
What’s happening to his mind? He has a vision of the top of his neck, opening up into his head like a bathroom drain. Fragments of words are swirling down it, in a grey liquid he realizes is his dissolving brain.(149; ch. 7)
I have a daily routine, he thinks. Routines are good. His entire head is becoming one big stash of obsolete fridge magnets.(148; ch. 7)
Beware of words. be careful what you write. Leave no trails.
This is what the Gardeners taught us, when I was a child [...] and the Spirit isn't a thing.
As for writing [...] use your words to condemn you.
But now that the Waterless Flood has swept [...] I can write down anything I want.
What I write is my name [...] Amanda told me that.
I can't see out the window [...] I still have food.
I'm lucky [...] the cleanest dirty girls in town.
Scales and Tails took care of you [...] with the face cream and the white cotton panties?
Mordis believed in plain speaking. [...] He had ethics.
He was a wiry guy [...] It was a point of honor with him.
Also he didn't like waste. [...] But compassion takes work, and we were young.