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Literature Study GuidesJurassic ParkSixth Iteration Chapters 48 51 Summary

Jurassic Park | Study Guide

Michael Crichton

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Jurassic Park | Sixth Iteration: Chapters 48–51 | Summary



Chapter 48: Return

Alan Grant drives an electric cart through a tunnel. He has Lex, Tim, and a tranquilized velociraptor with him. When they reach the visitor center, they find it smashed. Grant calls the control room on a security guard's radio. When Ellie Sattler and Dr. Henry Wu answer, they tell Grant the raptors are trying to break into the lodge. Wu tells Grant he needs to go to the maintenance shed to turn the power back on. Grant leaves the kids—who are hungry—in the cafeteria, thinking they'll be safe and can get some food.

A raptor follows Tim and Lex into the kitchen. Tim sets up a trail of frozen steaks leading to the freezer. The raptor follows the trail, and Tim traps it in the freezer. Tim and Lex wander to the control room. While they are squabbling over the radio, Robert Muldoon speaks to them through it. Muldoon explains the situation and Tim starts trying to get the computer system back online.

Sattler distracts the raptors and Grant gets into the maintenance shed. Via radio, Wu talks him through what he needs to do. He gets the generator going, and Wu sends him to the control room to restart the park's systems. Donald Gennaro hails Grant from the truck, and the two men join up. Dr. Gerald Harding tells Wu the raptors have left through the skylight. Wu opens the door to call Sattler, and the raptors attack and kill Wu. While they're doing so, Sattler runs to the lodge.

Chapter 49: The Grid

Tim Murphy works on the computer grid, trying screen after screen and command after command. He eventually reaches what seems to be a dead end. Lex Murphy lets him know that raptors are in the next room. They are also about to break through into Malcolm's room, and the mathematician estimates he has just a few minutes to live. The kids go through the control room door and see a raptor, followed by two more. The door to the control room locks behind them, so they use a security card found on a guard's body to get through the first door they can.

Chapter 50: Lodge

Tim and Lex realize they've entered the nursery, where they find the baby raptor Tim befriended earlier. When the adult raptors enter the nursery, the kids give them the baby, hoping to distract them. Instead, the adults eat it. While they're tearing it apart, the kids run to the next room, the DNA lab, where they find Alan Grant and Donald Gennaro. Grant tells Gennaro to keep the kids safe, then he lures the dinosaurs to the hatchery. He takes the lab's syringes full of poison and injects it into the dinosaur eggs. When the raptors follow him, he rolls the poisoned eggs toward them. One raptor eats a poisoned egg, and attacks a second raptor as he's dying. The third raptor follows Grant. He puts his radio on the floor and asks Sattler to talk. The dinosaur is distracted by the sound. Grant stabs a poison-filled syringe into its tail.

Chapter 51: Control

Gennaro and the kids rejoin Grant. Everyone goes to the control room. Tim eventually gets the power back on. They attempt to call the ship and have trouble getting through. When they finally make contact, the sailors reject the instructions not to dock, because it is Tim talking. Gennaro then threatens the captain with a fictional law and huge fine, and the captain agrees to sail back to Isla Nublar instead of docking on the mainland.


Chapter 48 provides support to the themes of the value of experiential science and system complexity, and the motif of sight. Alan Grant's choice to take the young raptor with him indicates how pure his motivations are. He isn't just trying to survive, or even to save the kids. He's bringing evidence back to prove his claim that the dinosaurs are breeding. The way they rush back to the visitor center also indicates the breadth and depth of his motives. He's racing the clock so that they can prevent a larger catastrophe (the dinosaurs getting loose on the mainland). His ability to keep sight of the bigger picture is truly impressive, especially because raptors are attacking people.

Tim Murphy's insightful heroism also extends the parallel between him and Grant. As Grant took care of the kids earlier, Tim takes care of his younger sister, Lex Murphy. That this salvation takes place in a kitchen adds greater meaning to this action. The kitchen is traditionally a site of domestic activity. People assume it is safe and comforting. Certainly Grant treated it as safe when he left the kids alone there. However, given the transformation of the park, the raptors have now penetrated all parts of the facility (and by implication, all aspects of human life). The fact this happens in a chapter titled "The Return" also indicates that Tim has been transformed by his experiences. He entered the park a passive passenger and a child. He returns to the starting place of his journey a hero and Lex's savior.

In Chapter 48, when Tim tries to restart the computer, Michael Crichton breaks with traditional storytelling and aligns the narrative with his visual experience as a screenwriter.

Rather than just telling readers what Tim sees, in Chapter 49 Crichton provides simplified graphics of what the computer screens show. This performs several functions. It makes the story more graphic (literally) and more visual. It gives readers a chance to experience some of what Tim is working on, creating an experience that is somewhat less vicarious than most fiction, and closer to a video game. Readers push themselves forward, reading faster in order to reach the next changed screen. Each change creates a sense of progress. All of these are nonstandard but highly effective ways of creating anticipation. When Crichton interweaves traditional methods of creating suspense—the ticking clock of Ian Malcolm's life, the interrupted task, and the presence of dinosaurs as an active threat—the experience becomes almost interactive.

Chapter 50 is the novel's climax, and the scene in which Grant combines both insightful thinking and genuine physical heroism. Grant uses any means at his disposal to fight the raptors. His ability to repurpose items—first the poison, then the radio, which he uses for distraction rather than communication—exemplifies his particular blend of practical intelligence. He is the opposite of the preprogrammed cars that drive in only one direction. Grant can adapt, which is essential for life in a complex system.

The specific sequence of events here is also quite striking. Tim and Lex anthropomorphize the raptors, assuming they would treat their young as humans do, and respond with great care. Instead, the raptors tear the baby apart. Grant, by contrast, employs his extensive knowledge of dinosaurs and modern predators, and calculates they are likely to eat eggs. He is right, and this insight allows him to kill them all.

In Chapter 51 Donald Gennaro provides a welcome bit of comic relief as he saves the day only by lying about the law. However, like all of Crichton's best details, this one serves multiple purposes. Besides showing Gennaro's ability to think quickly, it addresses the question of authority in a cultural context. Rather than listening to the content of Tim's message (which is very important and would take little time to check), the ship's crew rejects him because of his apparent age. This repeats one of Crichton's points throughout the novel: rejecting information because the source is apparently unqualified can prove dangerous, even deadly.

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