A Few More Thoughts on Oryx and Crake (Just Because I Liked It So Much)
I didn’t read the perceived competition for Oryx as being an integral part of the storyline. To my mind (and my surprise, as well) Oryx only played a bit part in the part of the book that took place before the catastrophe. I saw the story as being much more about the homosocial relationship between Jimmy and Crake than the triangle that Atwood inserted near the end. Their interactions drive the story, provide metaphors, and lead up to the microbial holocaust that occurs. Oryx is a very neutral character, never committing to anything or anyone (Jimmy and Crake included) except the Crakers. I found her character a bit annoying to be honest; Oryx’s refusal to answer Jimmy’s questions just strikes me a bit like Alsana in White Teeth during the maybe-maybenot phase she went through (however, since he’s only doing it out of some masochistic curiosity, maybe I shouldn’t blame her). In addition, Crake appears to be much more interested in his plans than anything else, and as a result the only real connection (aside from Oryx’s description of their physical intimacy) I saw him have with Oryx was when Jimmy looked at them and saw that (or perceived to see) Crake was in love with Oryx. It just seemed to me throughout the book that Crake merely used people, which I read as going along with the metaphor for his representation of the artificial. He lacked emotion throughout the book, and Jimmy’s emotion (again, playing the role of natural in the metaphor) just filled the void that Crake left. If anything, they almost seemed to be a Yin and Yang representation of the same person. That is, they were polar opposites, even to the point that their friendship seemed a bit out of character to me.
To expound on the natural versus artificial metaphor, however, it is very convenient that Crake died as the artificial world died around him. Houses, airports, cars, and trains no longer had meaning as technology and its uses died with its creators, humankind. Jimmy, on the other hand, as the representative of nature, survives with the Crakers.
Again, perhaps I missed the deeper meaning and Crake was taking Oryx out with him when he killed her and thereby essentially forced Jimmy to kill him, but guess I I just saw Oryx as being secondary in the past storyline. However, she was a major (although absent) character in the storyline taking place in the days after the disease swept the world, so maybe I just didn’t notice her as much when Jimmy wasn’t hallucinating.