Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam Trilogy

I’m going to go literary on you here. I haven’t had a writing assignment in over 17 months now, so this feels long overdue. I just finished Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam Trilogy, and I am completely in love. Atwood’s ability to read a potential future is terrifying. I can easily visualize a future in which virtual reality is so prevalent that real life is seen as a “rough, unpolished physical world” with a unique “visual allure” (167). I can guarantee if I read that passage to my sixteen-year-old sister I would not be able to get a reaction from her over the blue glow of her iPhone 5.

I want to discuss Jane Goodall and Margaret Atwood, and the role religion/hope plays in the trilogy. Starting with Jane Goodall (my numero uno feminine queen goddess role model) and Margaret Atwood. I recently read an interview with Goodall (explorer mag?) where she claimed that the one thing that separated us from any other type of animal is our ability to ask questions. I found this idea eerily echoed in Atwood’s Craker’s. Their unique lack of history (being created in a test tube) makes them easily susceptible to that which killed the cat. Jane Goodall is celebrated in Maddaddam on her feast day. On this day, the God’s Gardeners celebrate Goodall and everything she did for them and the world.

When I recently went to see Atwood speak at the public library, I wanted to ask her if she was religious, but sometimes people get touchy with those questions, so I didn’t. The theme of religion feels almost too heavy at some points throughout this trilogy. The Craker’s hero-worship Crake, who made them. The story that Toby and Jimmy tell the Craker’s is eerily similar to our stories about God. Once Crake was done clearing away the “chaos” (the majority of the human race), he went up into the clouds and now lives up there. These ideas about death are a comfort to the Craker’s, who love Crake and want to know that he is still someone alive.

On an unrelated sidenote, Margaret talked about her work with the Future Library project, which I think is amazing. You all can check out the project here: http://www.katiepaterson.org/futurelibrary/.

-A

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