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Literature Study GuidesJurassic ParkSecond Iteration Chapters 11 16 Summary

Jurassic Park | Study Guide

Michael Crichton

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Jurassic Park | Second Iteration: Chapters 11–16 | Summary



Chapter 11: Choteau

Alan Grant and Ellie Sattler join Donald Gennaro and John Hammond aboard Hammond's jet. Hammond notes that the two are paleontologists and laughs at the idea that they "dig up dinosaurs." The group then take off, planning to refuel in Dallas on their way to Costa Rica.

Chapter 12: Target of Opportunity

This chapter opens in Cupertino, California, where the board of directors of the Biosyn Corporation is having an emergency meeting. Lewis Dodgson, a reckless geneticist, tells the board that InGen is cloning dinosaurs at Isla Nublar, Costa Rica. The board is skeptical, but listens when Dodgson informs them of the commercial possibilities that cloned dinosaurs present. Dodgson proposes stealing samples to "reverse engineer." He assures the directors this could be done secretly, but insists it has to be done within the next day. The board agrees—silently, so they will not be "on the record" as supporting the plan.

Chapter 13: Airport

Lewis Dodgson meets his industrial espionage contact at the San Francisco airport. He gives the man $750,000 and a refrigerated canister designed to look like shaving cream. The man can hide stolen dinosaur embryos in it safely for 36 hours. The plan is for Dodgson's contact to steal 15 embryos, for which he will be paid an additional $750,000 when they are delivered. They make plans for a boat to be waiting at Isla Nublar's east dock on Sunday.

Chapter 14: Malcolm

Mathematician Ian Malcolm joins Hammond and the others in Dallas and travels with them to Costa Rica. Malcolm wears only gray and black, is eccentric and outspoken, and is part of a group of mathematicians who want to apply math to the real world. As they fly, the others read Malcolm's paper on the park. They then discuss its prediction, based on chaos theory, that the park will fail. Malcolm explains that the system is inherently unstable, and he doesn't have to see it in person to know this.

Chapter 15: Isla Nublar

Computer expert Dennis Nedry joins the group in San José where they switch from the jet to a helicopter for the flight to Isla Nublar. From the airplane they see the village of Bahía Anasco, along with evidence of severe deforestation. They finally reach the island. It is volcanic and rugged, covering an area of about 22 square miles. The final descent takes them through dense fog, and it is rough and challenging. Upon landing, they notice that the woods resemble the forests of the Pacific Northwest. Grant sees what appears to be a large bare stump, then realizes he is looking at the head and neck of a dinosaur.

Chapter 16: Welcome

Ellie Sattler is struck by the dinosaur's beauty. Gennaro is speechless, but thinks the park will make a "fortune." Grant is disoriented at first sight, but then identifies the dinosaurs as apatosaurs. The dinosaurs call to one another. Hammond explains that a tour of the park has been arranged, and the group follows Regis past a sign that reads, "Welcome to Jurassic Park."


Although Chapter 11 is quite brief, it has three functions. It advances the plot by bringing most of the major characters together, and moving them one step closer to Jurassic Park. Regarding character development, the chapter brings several characters into sharper focus, especially Donald Gennaro in his "Armani suit" (and Alan Grant's immediate dislike of him), and John Hammond, whose joke about paleontologists "dig[ging] up dinosaurs" serves as both foreshadowing and dramatic irony, since Grant, Ellie Sattler, and Gennaro cannot yet appreciate the prehistoric wonders Hammond has "dug up."

In thrillers there is often a ticking clock of some sort that the hero or heroes must race against. At times, this clock is literal, as when officers must defuse a bomb. In other thrillers multiple teams race one another for the same prize, sometimes sabotaging each other's efforts as they compete. Chapter 12 supports the motif of time as it introduces both of these factors to Jurassic Park. Biosyn is the unethical competitor, and they intend to steal embryos within the next day. Even the homophone in their name indicates their ethical status. Biosyn clearly is meant to refer to biological synthesis, as might occur in genetic engineering. However, it sounds like "bio-sin," and they engage in, and cause biology-related sins. This puts tremendous time pressure on the tour group, more so because they aren't even aware they're in a time-based competition.

Chapter 13 actualizes Biosyn's plan, bringing it into being immediately. This raises the stakes for the novel, adding more tension. Michael Crichton's secrecy about which InGen employee Lewis Dodgson hires increases this tension: it could be any InGen employee with sufficient clearance. Crichton demonstrates his skill at plotting for suspense here. Even as he reveals more of the core mystery (InGen is cloning dinosaurs), he introduces others to take its place. He essentially introduces a "heist" subplot, in which a mysterious stranger tries to steal something of great value.

However, the background information Crichton provides in this chapter does more than just rev the plot engine. Showing how long Dodgson has been cultivating InGen employees shows how committed he is to it, and discussing the products of genetic engineering in financial terms fleshes out the historical shift described in the Introduction. It develops the time motif by showing the different scales on which people are working. While ratcheting up the tension, this chapter also supports the theme of greed.

Chapter 14 introduces the last major character, mathematician Ian Malcolm. Malcolm represents a development proceeding in parallel with advances in genetic engineering: a wave of mathematicians who break with tradition in their focus and their use of computers. Malcolm's extended discussion of chaos theory and complex systems suggests a new source of perspectives: theory, properly understood and applied. Malcolm, in many ways, balances Alan Grant. Where Grant's knowledge is based on extensive experience and is densely empirical, Malcolm's rests on math so firmly he doesn't need to directly observe Hammond's creation. Through Malcolm, the chapter supports the motifs of time and sight.

The title of Chapter 15, "Isla Nublar," is one of the meaningful names in Jurassic Park. In English this means "island of clouds," a name with a literal connotation: the helicopter must pass through fog to land on the island. However, this is also an island where conceptual visibility is limited. This is a place where Hammond and InGen can conduct huge developments in secret—such as cloning dinosaurs—because the fog protects them from outside observers. However, the island is also a setting where their vision may be clouded.

More prosaically, this chapter advances the plot in several ways. Dennis Nedry, the final adult member of their group, joins them on this leg of the journey, but does not socialize with them, signaling his emotional distance from the group (and the park). In addition, the first confirmed living dinosaur is revealed.

How characters respond to the revelation of the dinosaurs' existence in Chapter 16 reveals a great deal about them. Ellie Sattler's repeated reverential, "Oh God," displays a purity and profundity, while Gennaro immediately thinks about how much money they'll make. The scientist sees wonder; the corporate lawyer sees personal gain.

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