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Sympathy, in the case of Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood and Tracks by Erhlich, the authors effectively uses the motif of isolation, characterization, and plot chronology to evoke sympathy for Oryx and Fleur facing society's injustice.

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Introduction

A common criticism of poor literature is that it fails to evoke in the reader an emotional understanding for the protagonist's struggles. In effect, the reader reads through countless pages of bland writing that doesn't incite them to feel sympathy for the characters. However, in the case of Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood and Tracks by Erhlich, the authors effectively uses the motif of isolation, characterization, and plot chronology to evoke sympathy for Oryx and Fleur facing society's injustice. Firstly, the motif of isolation of Oryx, is one way that Atwood evokes sympathy. By separating Oryx from her family, Atwood severs the emotional bonds that bond Oryx to her mother. The mother who is commonly regarded as the safe haven for the helpless child, symbolizes love. When Oryx was taken away from her mother, it is as if she no longer has someone to love her. Furthermore, when Oryx is separated from her brother, her emotional ties with her family are again severed, this time absolutely. The progressing isolation of Oryx from her family causes the reader to notice the vulnerability and mental trauma that effects Oryx during her life with Mr. En. Mr. En forces her to strip, flirt, and succumb to pedophiles so that he can catch them in the act, and blackmail the pedophile into giving Mr. ...read more.

Middle

She is characterized as a sexual object that is helpless to escape the forces of the unjust society. Being characterized as a symbol of sex appeals to the reader's sense of morals. Because sex is considered taboo in our society, the reader has a strong emotional feeling against the characterization of Oryx as a sexual object. Likewise, Fleur in tracks is characterized as a victim and a symbol of Indian resistance against the whites. She is considered strange, mysterious and dangerous because she has "witch eyes." Her fellow tribe members believe that she has magical relations with the sea monster and shun her. Her differences cause her to be ridiculed by the Morrisseys and Lazarres. The reader sympathizes with Fleur since the reader can relate to the negative feelings of being an outcast in our society, especially as modern society promotes equality and accepting people who are different. Moreover, she characterizes resistance against western colonizers. She is raped and cheated by white settlers who take away her land. Despite this, she uses her powers to attack the logging company. She refuses to baptize her child into Christianity. Her struggles act as a symbol of Indian resistance, which makes the reader reminisce about the injustices faced by the Indians during 1920-1940 due to Western colonization and exploitation of the Indians. The characterization of Fleur as a victim, though a different type of victim as Oryx, leads to the reader to feel sympathy. ...read more.

Conclusion

Finally, Fleurs uses her magic to attack the lumber company by felling trees to hit them. The chronological progression of events helps to explain why Fleur retaliates at the end. Fleur is frustrated because she cannot control the injustices that happen to her. The reader shares her frustrations because they would likely find ways to retaliate if they were continually faced with injustices themselves. As sympathy is the reader's attempt to understand and side with one character, the chronological order of events make the reader understand Fleur's actions. Fleur's actions are different compared to Oryx who seems to be more submissive to the negative things that happen to her. Nevertheless, the chronological order is important in enhancing the sympathy the reader feels for Fleur. As the reader reads the novels, these three techniques - isolating the character, characterizing the character as a victim, and using plot chronology to enhance the reader's understanding of the characters, help evoke in the reader sympathy. The combination of these techniques work together to make the character become vulnerable, victimized, while the chronological order allows for telescoping time and flashbacks that helps the reader understand the actions and background of the characters, thus being able to relate to their distresses and sympathize with them. Through careful analysis, the novels seems to be skillfully written, and contains many more literary techniques that are at work even without the reader noticing. ...read more.

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