Thoughts from the front lines


How smart are pigoons?


In Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam Trilogy, we have seen that she describes the pigoons as one of the smartest animals in the books. They know the rifle; they know to use the tactics and almost catch Jimmy one time; they know to distract humans’ attention so that they can get into the garden; they even hold a funeral for their dead companions, and so on. In one word, they’re sly. Furthermore, in the book Maddaddam, Margaret mentions the pigoons communicate with each other and they even want to communicate with the survivors of the waterless flood. One morning, they come to the humans’ place and wish to have a talk with them. Margaret says, “there are fifty or so in all. Fifty adults, that is: several of the sows have litters of piglets, trotting along beside their mothers. … a low level of grunting is going on, from pig to pig. If they were people, Toby thinks, you’d say it was the murmuring of a crowd. It must be information exchange’ but God knows what sort of information” (Atwood 267-268). This passage shows that the pigoons can exchange ideas with each other. It’s very strange. As we know, the pigoons have the brain tissues which are similar to humans’, therefore they are smarter than the ordinary pigs. But how smart are they? We don’t have the answer, but we can test out how smart the ordinary pigs are.

According to “The 10 smartest animals”, Science on NBC NEWS, the author says that the pigs are perhaps “the smartest, cleanest domestic animals known, even more so than cats and dogs”. The experiments of testing pigs’ intelligence even started in the 1990s. Furthermore, according to the neuroscientist Lori Marino of Emory University, “we have shown that pigs share a number of cognition capacities with other highly intelligent species such as dogs, chimpanzees, elephants, dolphins and even humans”.

Well, some of the intelligent animals are considered to have the same IQ level as a preschooler and even a little child (until about 9). It’s hard to think about the pigoons may have the same level of intelligence as our human children. I mean, maybe like your 9 years old little brother or sister. It’s incredible. On the other hand, I think it could be true because some of their abilities are beyond the scope of ordinary animals should have. So what do you think? Did you find any other clues in the book and in our real world to support or against this idea?



Atwood, Margaret. The Year of the Flood. Toronto: Vintage Canada, 2010. Print.

“The 10 smartest animals”, Science on NBCNEWS,               science/t/smartest-animals/#.WPwE8zsrJhG

Viegas, Jen. “IQ tests suggest pigs are smart as dogs, chimps”, Seeker,         1769934406.html



Miserable childhood experience changes your whole life!

Oryx is from an ignorant, poor village in Southeast Asia. Because of the poverty, Oryx’s mother has to sell her to Uncle En. After that, Oryx sells roses, involves in child porn, was treated as a sex slave, and she meets Crake because of to provide him sex service. Therefore, Oryx has the chance to involved into the great cause of human destruction. For this character, I sympathize with her, the tragic childhood experience brought her great pain.


I feel that Oryx has some weird thoughts. She even makes the excuse for those who exploit her. Remember when Jimmy is angry to those who exploit her and he says that he wants to kill the filmmaker? She just avoids talking about it. She makes me feel that Jimmy is unreasonable and he shouldn’t get angry. In one hand, it shows that she suffered too much that she used to the feeling of misfortune, on the other hand, it clearly shows that she is submissive and cowardly. She even says Uncle En is kind to her, so she appreciates him but I feel it’s weird. Obviously, Oryx isn’t the kind of great man like “love your enemy” or someone who has the Stockholm syndrome. Because of she doesn’t have a family, so it’s hard for her to find the value and the feeling of being needed. Therefore, to have the monetary value is the only way which can make her feel safe.

Oryx in the book has a really bad childhood experience. It is incredible that a child who has gone through so many bad things in her life could grow into a kind person after her growing up.

An example from our true life: Elizabeth Smart, was kidnapped when she was 14 years old and rescued after experienced nine months nightmare. Elizabeth bravely stood on the stage of TED, to tell people about her experience. Some of the traumas are permanent and do not disappear with the age.

Youtube video–My Story| Elizabeth Smart 11:36 minutes


Atwood, M. (2003). Oryx and Crake. Toronto: Vintage Canada. Print.

Smart, Elizabeth. (2014, January 31). My story. Youtube, retrieved from