Understanding Vs. Knowing in Atwood’s Oryx and Crake Essay

Understanding Vs. Knowing in Atwood’s Oryx and Crake Essay

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It is often simpler to settle for an understanding of the world and people around us instead of trying to know the truth. Truth has consequences; by knowing too much, one can lose a friend, learn a deadly secret, or become someone they do not want to be. To express his understanding of himself and the world around him, Crake in Oryx and Crake uses quote-bearing fridge magnets. One very important quote is “We understand more than we know”. It is important to recognize the difference between the terms "understand" and "know"; the Oxford English Dictionary defines "to understand" as to perceive the significance, explanation, or cause of, whereas "to know" is to be absolutely certain or sure about something. There is certainly a difference, as understanding suggests ideas, and knowledge suggests facts. Prior to the Crake's devastation of the human race in Oryx and Crake, characters understand more than they know in their awareness of human nature. However, the only survivors of this catastrophe are those who, inversely, know more than they understand. This means that Crake, Oryx, and Jimmy have an astute understanding of the world around them, but only later do Snowman and the Crakers show the importance of knowledge in surviving as a species.
Crake believes he knows the problems with humankind, and that he also has the solutions. He views humanity as destructive, inefficient, and unsatisfied, and uses his understanding of these flaws to destroy the human race. His scientific background leads him to very accurately understand the biological and psychological characteristics of the human mind and body, of humanity as a whole, but also specifically of his friend Jimmy.
Crake understands physical attraction and sex from a strictly ...

... middle of paper ...

...how a newfound capacity to know more than they understand, suggesting the success of humans as a species may rely on never reaching (or never reaching for) a full understanding. Perhaps we should be accepting simply knowing as principle.

Works Cited

Atwood, Margaret. Oryx and Crake. 1st ed. New York, New York/United States: First Anchor Books, 2004. 374. Print.
Davis, Roger. ""a white illusion of a man": Snowman, Survival, and Speculation in Margaret Atwood's "Oryx and Crake"." Hosting the Monster. Ed. Holly Lynn Baumgarter. 1st ed. New York, New York/United States: Rodopi, 2008. 260. Web. 28 May 2012.
DiMarco, Danette. "Paradice Lost, Paradise Regained: Homo Faber and the Makings of a New Beginning in Oryx and Crake." Papers on Language & Literature 41 (2005): n.pag. Web. 27 May 2012.
Reizner, Chelsea. "Fridge Magnets." (2007): Web. Mar. 2012.

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