Thoughts from the front lines



Childhood is a very important period of our lives. Those years are the stage of innocence. We do not know much, but we get to learn about many things. We get to understand things faster while we’re younger, which explains why we do most of our “first steps” earlier on in life. A few of those first steps are walking, talking, writing, etc. However, there are some parents who try to avoid talking to their children about topics such as sexuality, death or adults problems, in order to protect them from the “ugly side” of the world. Yet, is it really protecting them or does it simply prevent them from growing up?


In the novel, MaddAddam, we clearly see the theme of innocence through the Crakers. They are just like children: they ask too many questions and are awfully curious. They learn and understand things through songs, stories and questions. They cannot differentiate right from wrong because they seem to think that everybody is kind and that everyone has good intentions. We see it in the first pages of the novel. Finally safe from the two painballers, Toby and Ren tied them. At a certain point, the Crakers arrive and since they feel like the painballers are in danger so they naively untied them. They did not understand why they were tied and thought that the “rope is hurting these ones” and that they “must take it away” (13).

Since Jimmy is unable to tell them stories, Toby answers most of their questions through metaphors so that they could easily understand them. She answers vaguely in order to protect them from suffering. Even when she explains the story of the birth of Zeb, she avoids certain details that are unpleasant.

The Crakers have been made innocent in the idea to be free from negative emotions/feelings. They have not been created to be violent so they cannot fight. In the last novel, we understand that the Crakers are a burden for everyone since they are just like children.


I feel like children lose this innocence at even younger age than past generations. They get to know the dark side of the world at a really young age. They get to know about sexuality, war, and social media elaborately.

Do you think that we should preserve childhood innocence or do they have the right to know the whole truth about what is coming?

Atwood, M. (2003). MaddAddam. Toronto: Vintage Canada. Print.


8 thoughts on “Innocence

  1. I don’t necessarily think that innocence should be preserved, but I also don’t think that children should be forced to know about everything at a very young age. In other words, I do believe that children should have the right to know the truth and get a proper answer if they ask a question about a mature subject, however, there is no need to strip their innocence away if they are not asking questions or showing curiosity.


  2. Growing up, I always despited how my parents lied to me at a young age. However, I do remember how my angsty butthurt mentality wouldn’t handle the truth so well. I was depressed and brooding a lot as I learned about death and how cruel some people could be. Thankfully, I learned about this after I was a bit older and able to accept reality as it is, but I wonder how would I have reacted if I learned a bit earlier in life when I was even more sensible than what I was when I figured it out the truth. All of that to say that I believe that YES, some things should be filtered from children. Learning about the truth is important, but too early in life can be a problem as we are still shaping our world view and perspective. We don’t quite know what is right and what is wrong.
    Also, in my opinion, Crakers are not like children. They are way more pure than real children. Also, they seem inept to get a grasp of what sadness is. I mean, they do cry, but their sadness lasts about a couple of seconds. Yes, they are very naive, and don’t know much about the world, but they are definitely different from children!


  3. Very throughout-provoking post! I can understand both sides of the argument. Personally, I don’t like being left in the dark when it concerns real world matters. Even at a young age, I wanted to be made aware of everything going on everywhere in the world. I believe that the more children can understand the reality of the world, the more it can benefit them. If they are more educated about the unfair aspects of being a human, they won’t have unrealistic goals and they would be more sympathetic to those struggling.
    Also, I believe that children have the right to know what is going on. It would be unjust to hide things from them based on their age. Perhaps telling a 5 year old something traumatic might be a bit extreme, but I think 10 year olds and up have the right to know about the world just as much as adults do.


  4. I really liked your post and I also agree with the link you made between the Crakers and children. As we can see with Blackbeard, the Crakers are totally able to think for themselves and understand what is going on around them. However they are not really given the opportunity to do so because they are being sheltered from the truth as you mentioned. I do think that it would benefit the Maddaddamites to teach the Crakers as one would teach a child. That way the Crakers could actually take part in their society and bring the advantages that Crake gave them as they started to do at the end of the third book.


  5. Amazing post! I feel like child should only learn about things that are considered more “taboo” only when they are mature and ready for it. Curiosity is strong and if we tell young kids that babies are made through sexual interactions between a male and a female; they will tend to explore it. In other words, I feel like if we open up to them, there will be not a lot of difference between adults and children. I think we have all had one or many sex classes during our high school period where there were a sex expert that would come talk to us in class and talk to us about sex. Their main subjects were more about STDs, protection, pregnancy which are all things summing up to “don’t have sex”. It seemed like their point was simply to tell the young kids that sex is dangerous and to be aware of all the possible outcomes which was to scare kids from having sex. Therefore, in order to prevent children from exploring sex, I think it is better if they learn this topic at a convenient age. This also applies for other things such as drugs, etc.


  6. I really liked this post, it discusses the Crakers, which are creatures that, in my opinion, we don’t learn enough about in the trilogy. They absorb knowledge just like human children, yet are shielded from reality just like their parents. Does knowing everything really help us? Judging from our society, and the future society that Atwood has so well depicted, id have to say no. Look at Crake, for example. He was a wunderkind, a genius even, and he caused the end of the world. When it comes to the Crakers, though, id have to say their lack of knowledge even as children can lead to the end of their species as a whole, especially now that we know other humans exist amongst them, and judging from Zeb’s sudden disappearance, bad humans.


  7. Should we preserve the childhood innocence or let the children know the truth about the brutal world? This is a harsh topic. In the book, the survivors play the role of the protectors. That is because there are other humans out there and Crakers need to stay away from them. Without the protections of the survivors, what happened if Crakers meet the other people and they hurt them? Do Crakers know how to fight back? I personally do not think Crakers have the ability to protect themselves. They may be killed or become slaves. Therefore, I will say, remain the same, do not let Crakers to know the brutal world.


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