HomeLiterature Study GuidesJurassic ParkSecond Iteration Chapters 6 10 Summary

Jurassic Park | Study Guide

Michael Crichton

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Jurassic Park | Second Iteration: Chapters 6–10 | Summary

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Summary

Chapter 6: The Shore of the Inland Sea

Dr. Alan Grant is excavating dinosaur remains in Montana when Bob Morris of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) arrives to discuss the Hammond Foundation with him. The organization—established by a wealthy American named John Hammond—funds Grant's research. Hammond's company, InGen, has set up a facility in Costa Rica. Morris and the EPA think InGen wants to conduct genetic engineering free of legal restrictions.

Grant knows little about InGen. Donald Gennaro, legal counsel for InGen, hired Grant as an expert consultant for a children's museum they said they were building. He advised them on their baby dinosaurs' exhibit. Grant told them everything he knew, but the phone calls became intrusive, so Grant broke off the relationship. Just before he leaves, Morris asks Grant if there is anything else InGen could do with the information he gave them. Grant says they could feed baby dinosaurs. While Grant and Morris are talking, his assistant, Ellie Sattler, takes a phone message. It is Alice Levin at Columbia, with a biological sample for Grant to identify.

Chapter 7: Skeleton

Levin sends Grant an X-ray of a skeleton. Grant identifies it as a dinosaur named Procompsognathus (later called a "compy"). While Grant and Sattler discuss whether this could be from a living animal, John Hammond calls. He asks about Morris's visit, then insists Grant come to Isla Nublar to see the new park he's building. Grant turns him down, saying they've recently found evidence of a "living procompsognathid" in Central America. Hammond insists on being told where the creature was found, then offers Grant and Sattler $60,000 each to consult for three days. They agree.

Chapter 8: Cowan, Swain and Ross

Donald Gennaro meets with his boss, Daniel Ross, in San Francisco. He's on the phone with John Hammond, discussing the exchange with Grant. Once the call ends, Gennaro briefs Ross, saying they can't trust Hammond because he's under too much pressure. In addition to the EPA investigation and the living dinosaur sighting, two workers have been killed. Investors are nervous. Gennaro insists they must inspect the island. Ross agrees, and sends Gennaro to accompany the group of experts this weekend.

Gennaro calls Grant. He thanks him for visiting the island and tells him a mathematician will be joining them. As the call ends, he asks Grant about the supposed living dinosaur sighting, and says he'll follow up on it.

Chapter 9: Plans

An envelope from Hammond arrives at Grant's dig site. It contains plans for what appears to be a combination of a resort and a zoo. Neither Grant nor Sattler can read all the annotations on the plans.

Grant then tries to map a dinosaur skeleton in place at the dig site, using a computerized imaging system, but the computer breaks down before the job is complete. Grant tells his crew they need to protect the skeleton from the elements.

Chapter 10: Hammond

As Gennaro leaves the office, Ross instructs him that if there is a problem, he should destroy the park completely. On the jet, while Gennaro and Hammond talk, Gennaro reflects on what he knows about Hammond. He's small and child-like, and not completely honest. He used to travel with a dwarf elephant and imply it was created through genetic engineering, although it was not. He also hid the animal's nasty temperament. He is, however, a good showman who draws investors. As they talk, Hammond shares the fact that they have 238 animals in the park and 15 distinct species. He insists there is no problem with the island, even though Gennaro asks about a delay in opening and the death of several workmen. The jet then lands in Choteau, Montana.

Analysis

Like many chapters in this novel, Chapter 6 is efficient, accomplishing multiple tasks at once. The EPA is working to keep track of illicit technology in general, and InGen and genetic engineering in particular. However, the odds seem very much against them. On one side is Bob Morris, a well-meaning but unimpressive government official. On the other side is a very well-funded corporation that sets up its base of operations on a private island off the coast of a foreign country. Any attempt to keep tabs on genetic engineering seems doomed to fail. This provides concrete illustrations of the issues identified in the Introduction and offers a more complex context for them.

Although no one in the novel comments on this, the name "InGen" carries interesting connotations. It sounds like a spliced together version of "in Genesis" or "in the beginning," and also "engine." Because InGen is creating life, this is, in a way, a Genesis story. In this version, however, there is no God, although the sins of pride and overreaching are certainly present.

This chapter also establishes the limits of Alan Grant's knowledge: not only does he not voluntarily use computers, he isn't even familiar with computer vocabulary. Near the end of the chapter, Grant and Ellie Sattler dismiss Morris as naive because he has cast Hammond as a stereotypical villain with a secret lair. However, in the end, Bob Morris turns out to be right. Grant can be limited in both knowledge and judgment.

Chapter 7 advances the plot and supports the themes of hubris and system complexity. When Alice Levin contacts Grant, readers see yet another example of a global knowledge production system. Questions, samples, and X-rays have been shuttled from Costa Rica to New York to Montana. This is impressive in itself (and perhaps a nod to Michael Crichton's extensive travels), but it is also a signal of how complex and interconnected the world is.

Hammond's ability to insist on Grant visiting his park is essential to the novel, and no doubt a good thing for the world in the end, because Grant proves both knowledgeable and responsible. However, his ability to essentially bribe Grant and Sattler to abandon their research and do his bidding shows how corporate pride can distort science.

The conversation between Sattler and Grant on whether the X-ray could be genuine also develops the motif of time. Their shared awareness of how unlikely it would be for a dinosaur to still exist shows how their discipline develops valuable perspective. By being aware of the weight of time, they are acutely aware of how complex systems work and change over time.

Adding San Francisco to the novel's map, as Chapter 8 does, further extends the web of locations involved in the novel. This multiplies the implications of the novel's events: people in more places are involved with what is happening.

This chapter also supports the theme of greed and underscores the moral division in Crichton's world. Repeatedly, those in the corporate world (Hammond, Ross, the board of Biosyn), or those motivated primarily through money (Dennis Nedry) are shortsighted and even evil. Deaths at the park are treated as financial risks, essentially, rather than as serious drawbacks.

Chapter 9 advances the plot: the plans hint at what Hammond has created. The chapter also provides knowledge essential for several aspects of the novel's climax: Grant's background information on raptors and predators reveals how dangerous they are before the reader ever sees one. Grant's blend of knowledge shows a great deal about his character. On one hand, he understands many forms of violent predation. On the other hand, he understands the infinitely slow pace of geological time, which gives him a perspective no other character in the novel can match (except, at times, Ian Malcolm).

This chapter also develops the motif of sight, particularly as clear-sightedness relates to knowledge and understanding. Even when Grant and Sattler receive a copy of the park plans, they can't read it: they lack the knowledge to decipher the annotations. In this they are similar to Grant's graduate students, who can't interpret the image of the dinosaur correctly. In both cases specialized knowledge is needed to allow true vision. When the computer breaks down before Grant's students can see the dinosaur—requiring them to do hard physical labor to see what they need to see—it becomes a foreshadowing of what will happen at the park: technologically augmented vision will break down, and hard work will be necessary.

Chapter 10 employs both foreshadowing and dramatic irony. When Daniel Ross tells Donald Gennaro to destroy the park entirely if there is a problem, he reveals that he vastly underestimates the scale of the possible problems at the park. This is an instance of dramatic irony: Gennaro doesn't have to destroy the park, in part because it destroys itself, and in part because the local military steps in to bomb the rest of it out of existence.

The exchange between Gennaro and John Hammond in Chapter 10—paired with Gennaro's memories of Hammond—provides useful insights into both men, and supports the themes of hubris and greed. Hammond's willingness to do whatever it takes to realize his vision of the park shows he is ambitious. He is proud of what he has created, and the specific number of dinosaurs mentioned underscores this. However, Gennaro's memories also show Hammond to be self-centered, and the nature of his actions reveals his dishonesty. As for Gennaro, he is not much better: he is willing to work with a liar and considers the dead workers an acceptable cost for building the park.

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