An astonishing technique for recovering and cloning dinosaur DNA has been discovered. Creatures once extinct now roam Jurassic Park, soon-to-be opened as a theme park. Until something goes wrong...and science proves a dangerous toy.... "Wonderful...Powerful." THE WASHINGTON POST BOOK WORLD
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What is the main point of this passage?
Prologue: The Bite of the Raptor
The author includes fictional places in Costa Rica (such as Bahia Anasco) in addition to actual places (such as San Jose). (This annotation contains an image)
How would you characterize Carter's interaction with Ed Regis?
The Taino (indigenous peoples of the Caribbean) believed that the hupia were the spirits of the dead. They could take on many forms, but were usually described as faceless. While the Costa Ricans "were not especially superstitious," it is not uncommon for people to fall back on superstition when science can offer no explanation.
What purpose does this chapter serve? Where does it fit in the narrative structure?
Pay attention to the images and quotes that accompany the different 'Iterations.' Consider patterns and how they contribute to the rising action of the narrative. (This annotation contains an image)
Why did Ellen Bowman choose Costa Rica as the family's vacation destination?
How has the author used foreshadowing so far? (This annotation contains a video)
What is a contributing factor to Mike's unease?
Very few lizards actually make sounds or vocalizations. Listen to a few samples of some of these sounds (made mostly by geckos) here. What do they remind you of? (This annotation contains a link)
What is significant about the actions of this day clerk?
This is a basilisk lizard commonly found in Costa Rica. It is also sometimes called a Christ lizard because of its ability to run on water. (This annotation contains an image)
What feature of Costa Rica makes the possibility of the discovery of a new species so plausible?
Why would the fragments of this lizard be sent to a tropical diseases laboratory? Why not send it to a lab that studies animal toxins?
Why don't these scientists know that they are dealing with a dinosaur and not a basilisk lizard?
Even though the author is describing the protein as a "monster," this metaphor foreshadows the even more monstrous behavior of the dinosaurs to come. (This annotation contains a video)
What makes Alice believe that this is a dinosaur? Why is she so easy to believe that it could be one, and why does Stone remain skeptical?
The fossil-rich badlands of Montana continue to be a very popular site for paleontologists. (This annotation contains an image)
What does this anecdote reveal about Grant's character?
The character of John Hammond seems to be based on both Walt Disney and Howard Hughes. See if you can spot the character traits he shares with these two entrepreneurs/inventors as you read. (This annotation contains an image)
What trait of Grant's does this reveal?
We know exactly why these questions were so urgent to Hammond. (There really is very little element of surprise when reading this book now thanks to its ubiquity in popular culture.) It is dramatic irony that we know something that Grant does not. (This annotation contains a video)
What role do ethics have in cases such as these?
There are different types of hadrosaur, some larger than others. Why is Murray asking all of these questions? (This annotation contains an image)
What literary device is at work here?
Once thought to have gone extinct in the cretaceous period, a live coelacanth was caught in South Africa in 1938. Since then they have been found in Africa and Indonesia. (This annotation contains an image)
What is the most likely scenario regarding Hammond's attitude?
Part of the reason that Hammond chose an island off of Central America was because of its lack of government oversight, but he cannot escape the Environmental Protection Agency.
So far, what is the difference between the characters from the corporate world and the characters from the world of science?
Isla Nublar means clouded island. While island is actually cloudy, what additional metaphorical meaning could it have?
What do all of these features on the island have in common?
On the whole, our concept of time can be very personal and limited. We note the passing of time with things like birthdays and anniversaries. Remembrances of times past can be recalled through smells and tastes (like Proust's madeleine). What do you think could be the downside of people like Hammond being unable to understand the enormity of geological time? (This annotation contains an image)
What character trait does this illustrate about Gennaro?
How is this an example of foreshadowing? Also, what does it say about Hammond that he knew about such complications and still continued this project?
What is the driving force for success in both Hammond and Gennaro?
What is the purpose of keeping the island secret? Are these personal reasons, or legal reasons?
Cite examples of direct characterization that shows Dodgson is an unsavory character.
Dodgson is proposing to commit corporate espionage. "Information can make the difference between success and failure; if a trade secret is stolen, the competitive playing field is leveled or even tipped in favor of a competitor. Although a lot of information-gathering is accomplished legally through competitive intelligence, at times corporations feel the best way to get information is to take it." (This annotation contains an image)
Who is Dodgson working for?
How is Malcolm both a pragmatist and an eccentric? (This annotation contains an image)
How would you describe Malcolm's explanation of chaos theory?
This is an ironic comparison. When one thinks of a vacation spot, one does not normally think of a prison. Also, it was virtually impossible to escape from Alcatraz. (This annotation contains an image)
What are the implications for Grant and Ellie now that there are living, breathing dinosaurs?
This seems to be an understatement. Ellie attempts a bit of levity in this overwhelming and entirely unexpected situation.
What is the narrative point of view of this novel?
The Tyrannosaurus Rex is arguably the most famous type of dinosaur. This is probably because of its size and its ferocity, as well as its popularity in films. The T. Rex first made its film debut in the 1918 film "The Ghost of Slumber Mountain." (This annotation contains an image)
What is Malcolm's conclusion based on the evidence presented in the graph?
One of the general themes of the novel is the destructive hubris of man. How does John Hammond exhibit this kind of "nothing could possibly go wrong" brand of hubris? (This annotation contains a video)
What is the effect of introducing these younger characters to the narrative? What point of view do they contribute?
Due to the changing information on dinosaurs, it is not uncommon for museums to have to make adjustments to their skeletons or displays. Now that evidence shows that more dinosaurs had feathers than was previously thought, feathers are being added to quite a few dinosaur models. (This annotation contains an image)
Why do you think this sign thrilled Tim?
Take a look at this website that shows the process of extracting DNA from Neanderthal bones. These bones are not as old as dinosaur bones (about 38,000 years old, not millions), so the material is more viable. Why would it be useful to map the DNA of our ancient ancestors? (This annotation contains a link)
What has made sequencing DNA possible in the past few decades?
When Crichton wrote this book in 1991, the first successfully cloned animal was still 5 years away. Dolly the sheep was cloned from an adult cell in 1996. She only lived to be six and a half years old (the common lifespan of a sheep is 11 years), and had to be euthanized for various health problems. (This annotation contains an image)
What is this section an example of?
Why is it problematic that the scientists do not know what dinosaurs they are creating? (This annotation contains an image)
How would you characterize Dr. Wu? How is he different than the other scientists, Grant and Sattler?
Who are the protagonists and who are the antagonists in the story so far? Can the dinosaurs be considered antagonists? (This annotation contains a video)
What flaw does this reveal?
The more Wu talks, the more it appears that there was little forethought to this endeavor beyond the fact that it was possible to do it. Why is this a dangerous way to approach such an experiment that has wide scientific and social implications?
What literary element is used to describe the animals here?
The movie version of Jurassic Park has made the velociraptor, and its characteristic mannerisms, famous. This seems like a good place to include actor Tom Hiddleston's impression of a velociraptor from the film. (This annotation contains a video)
What is Malcolm implying?
In that case, why not just have animatronic dinosaurs? (This annotation contains an image)
What does the corporate world have to offer Dr. Wu that he would not have in the academic world?
Explain this simile. Also, what is Malcolm's motivation for being so dogged in his pursuit?
How do these scientists categorize the dinosaurs?
What is the problem with having so many variables when you are trying to achieve absolute control?
Why do you think Grant is troubled by referring to the dinosaurs as "rides"?
The result is a kind of hyperreality, "an inability of consciousness to distinguish reality from a simulation of reality, especially in technologically advanced postmodern societies."
What does Gennaro resent about Malcolm? Do you think that Malcolm is doing his job?
Here is what an othnielia dinosaur looked like. However, there is no evidence that real othneilias climbed trees. (This annotation contains an image)
How does Arnold's behavior contrast with the other park officials?
Why is this sentiment significant coming from the game warden?
Why is this statement ironic?
Crichton takes more creative license here with the description of the dinosaurs. There is no evidence that dilophosaurus, or any dinosaur, was venomous.
What is the overall effect of the author's use of imagery here?
Muldoon seems to be of the same ilk as the stereotypical 'big hunter' of the last century. (This annotation contains an image)
What are Muldoon's concerns about the park?
What is the meaning of this idiom?
How are Hammond and Wu similar?
Here is another example of foreshadowing. The weather is becoming threatening, just as events in the novel are becoming menacing as well.
What fact does Hammond ignore?
Stegosaurus means "roof lizard," obviously because of the bones that developed plates and spines along its back and tail. They are also known for having an extremely small head for their large body. (This annotation contains an image)
What has Ellie determined about the stegosaurus's affliction? How does this relate to a lack of control over the animals?
The reader does not get a very favorable impression of the professionals working at the park. They seem to missing a lot of clues about how dysfunctional things really are. How could the vet miss this diagnosis, but a paleobotanist could figure it out so quickly?
Why did Hammond likely ignore all of Malcolm's warnings?
What can you infer from this chart? Look at the numbers of different types of dinosaurs, as well as the version they are on. Why so few of some, and so many of others?
What do these numbers represent?
How does this revelation signal a shift in tone? (This annotation contains a video)
What should have been done differently in the development stages of the park? Or is Hammond's vision inherently unsustainable? Explain your answer.
Read this article on how scientists are actually doing DNA research with birds and dinosaurs. What are your thoughts on this? (This annotation contains a link)
What is disquieting about Malcolm's behavior here?
Now we know how animals have been getting off of the island. This is a large cargo ship, so it is not surprising that no one noticed their presence.
Why are they so concerned about these particular dinosaurs on the ship?
How would you describe the pacing of this book? (This annotation contains a video)
In what way is Nedry an antagonist in this novel? What is his motivation?
How does Crichton build tension here? (This annotation contains a video)
What did the characters just establish that proves it could be the tyrannosaur in the road?
To create this terrifying roar in the film version of the book, the sound designer mixed different animal sounds, including a baby elephant and his own Jack Russell terrier. (This annotation contains a video)
How is the tyrannosaur's movement described?
It is interesting that the tyrannosaur attacks Tim and Lex first. This is in keeping with the previous pattern of children being bitten by the dinosaurs on the mainland at the beginning of the book.
Do you agree with Regis's actions? What might you have done in this situation?
In addition to the visual and auditory imagery associated with the tyrannosaur, this olfactory imagery (smell) intensifies the terror. (This annotation contains an image)
"Flick" and "hiss" are examples of what literary device?
Without the surveillance system, they have no idea that the vehicles have been attacked, and that the dinosaurs are free from their electrified holdings.
The dinosaur hooting like an owl is a continuation of what motif?
So, Nedry is the first (main) character to be killed by a dinosaur. What does this mean for the narrative structure that one of the main antagonists is killed so early on?
What is off about this statement? What is off about the way Hammond is acting in this situation?
Hammond's statement illustrates the real purpose for building Jurassic Park -- money and exclusivity. He does not care about science or education. He doesn't even really care about entertainment.
What can be said of the traits of these genetically engineered dinosaurs?
Is it a coincidence that Tim and Lex's last name is Murphy, and that everything that could go wrong does go wrong at Jurassic Park? (This annotation contains an image)
In the dark, what sense does Tim rely on?
Tim is now well aware of what it feels like to be pursued by an animal. That is a feeling of panic that Tim will likely never forget.
How is Tim's point of view different from the other narrative points of view thus far?
Frog DNA is surprisingly versatile. Research has shown that frog gene sequences closely resemble that of mammals, including humans! (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Lex say "aminals" instead of "animals"?
Contrast Regis's behavior in the face of danger with Dr. Grant's.
This sentence is almost humorous because of the use of
If Crichton had known that scientists would come to think that tyrannosaurs likely had feathers (if only in their youth), he might have compared this juvenile to a turkey instead of a puppy. (Pictured: A model of a feathered juvenile Tyrannosaurus Rex at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County) (This annotation contains an image)
What does the juvenile tyrannosaur view the humans as?
This "scene" is a momentary pause in the action. Ellie detects tension in Arnold's voice, but their slowness to understand the enormity of the situation also builds tension for the reader. (This annotation contains an image)
The creatures that were created by humans are now killing humans. Can you relate this to any other piece of literature?How are the circumstances in these two works similar or dissimilar?
It's amazing how calm Muldoon is here. Why do you think he is not affected by this more (like Gennaro is affected)?
Why did Gennaro want Muldoon to look in the car first?
Muldoon is using his powers of deduction in addition to his expertise as a hunter to piece together what might have happened. (This annotation contains an image)
The fact that the wheezing did not change signifies that
Muldoon's plan makes a lot of sense, but do you see any flaws in it?
In what way could this be Arnold's and Wu's motto? How does it apply to their previous oversights?
This is an allusion to the white rabbit in "Alice in Wonderland." Can you explain the meaning behind this allusion? (This annotation contains an image)
What have Arnold and Wu finally realized?
What is Grant trying to find?
Why would Tim start viewing Grant as a father figure?
How would you characterize the relationship between Lex and Tim?
Why do you think Crichton added these lines of computer code? Does it add anything to the narrative? Can you decipher any meaning in it? (This annotation contains an image)
Discuss the theme of technology and its pitfalls. Is technology both the cause and solution of problems in the novel, or only the cause?
How do you imagine one could wrangle tyrannosaurs?
What device does Malcolm employ in this statement?
Arnold accuses Malcolm of being more about style than substance.
What does Harding feel toward Hammond during this conversation?
This is a call back to the chapter where Nedry was attacked by the dilophosaurs. He thought that he heard the hooting of owls, but was not as knowledgeable of the dinosaurs in the park as Muldoon.
Why did Hammond cut the requisition? Do you think that it was merely an issue of money?
This interlude serves as a reminder that not all of the animals on the island are dangerous. Do you think the park could have been a success if they only bred herbivores?
What does Lex continue to be most worried about?
Nedry had planned on returning to his station after dropping off the embryos. If things had gone as planned, no one would have noticed that he had purposely shut down these systems.
What does this smell signal?
Can you find an example of personification on this page? (This annotation contains a video)
How does Grant's background as a paleontologist influence how he views the dinosaurs despite the danger he has encountered because of them?
What are the added benefits of traveling by raft? For example, could dinosaurs swim? According to this article, maybe they could. (This annotation contains a link)
What do the flies symbolize?
We need to talk about Lex. Do you sympathize with her, or do you find her superfluous to the story? What is her role in the narrative? (This annotation contains an image)
Based on the diction, how would you describe the tyrannosaur's attack?
Here is another description of flies buzzing. Can this be considered a motif? (This annotation contains a video)
What other "stakes" could Muldoon be referring to besides money? What is at stake for everyone still stuck on the island?
Muldoon referred to 'antivenin.' This is another word for antivenom. Even if Nedry had known where to locate the antivenom he would not have had time to use it. The dilophosaurs were swift in their brutal attack. (This annotation contains an image)
The power is back on, and yet
Do you find it odd that Grant and the children keep crossing paths with the tyrannosaurs? Do they just have horrible luck, or is it just convenient storytelling?
What is ironic about this statement?
Pterodactyls could have a wingspan of up to 40 feet! (This annotation contains an image)
Do you remember why Grant is on such a tight schedule? Even if he gets to the control room on time is he guaranteed to be successful?
If the tyrannosaur is indeed tracking them, what does it say about his behavior? It now has access to hunt all of the other dinosaurs in the park, so why would it fixate on three small humans? (This annotation contains an image)
According to Malcolm, what makes Wu and Arnold "thintelligent"?
Malcolm opines over the lack of scientific ethics ventures like this. What do you think he means when he says "It's time for a change"?
What is different about this appearance of the tyrannosaur?
Muldoon knows that after recent events, there is no way that the island will be open for business anytime soon. Hammond and Arnold are still holding on to the dream.
What is the tyrannosaur looking at? How has the narrative structure changed?
This statement is ironic because that is exactly what the entire weekend on the island was supposed to feel like -- an amusement park. (This annotation contains an image)
How would you describe Lex?
Lex continues to be afraid of being abandoned. This might have something to do with her parents' impending divorce.
Based on what Muldoon said earlier, what should the kids do when confronted by the tyrannosaur?
Two separate parts of the narrative (Muldoon & Genarro and Grant & the kids) come together here. What just happened to the tyrannosaur?
Why don't the kids wonder who shot the tyrannosaur with the dart?
Is Arnold's carelessness and lack of attention to detail out of character? (This annotation contains an image)
What is Hammond most concerned about?
Malcolm is a very popular character among readers, partially because of his sarcastic sense of humor. Sarcasm is verbal irony when spoken with contempt. (This annotation contains a video)
According to Malcolm, what was lacking in the development of the 'scientific power' that made Jurassic Park possible?
Why would Arnold think that velociraptors couldn't climb stairs? Is he just clutching at straws? (This annotation contains an image)
How has Gennaro developed as a character? What has facilitated these changes?
Crichton builds tension by cutting back and forth between scenes of intense action and more quiet scenes. This is the case here, where the reader is left wondering what happened to Genarro while the scene cuts to a discussion between Malcolm, Wu, and Muldoon.
What makes Malcolm's statement so powerful?
What is the difference between Grant's concern for the dinosaurs, and Hammond's concern?
To whom is Wu referring?
Giving the velociraptors the ability to chew through iron bars is a horrifying detail. It makes them seem more monstrous than most predatory animals. (This annotation contains an image)
How would you describe Grant's mood?
Muldoon brings a bit of comic relief to the situation. What with everything that they can do, it wouldn't be surprising if the raptors could understand English!
There are only two female characters in the story (not counting all of the dinosaurs, of course). Describe their roles in the story. Why do you think there are so few female characters?
Comparing dinosaurs to birds is a recurring motif, usually associated with Dr. Grant's observations.
Why is it important to get the generator working?
What is the tone of Lex's delivery?
The author uses all of the following to describe the velociraptor EXCEPT
Something actually goes right for Tim! Tim's plan to trap the raptor just might be successful. (This annotation contains an image)
If they are scavengers, why did compys attack those children at the beginning of the novel?
Wu chooses to see the fact that the dinosaurs are breeding on their own as proof of his success as a geneticist. Of course, he ignores his failure to achieve the original goal he had set of controlling the dinosaur population. (This annotation contains an image)
What does the use of repetition convey about how Ellie is feeling?
Do you remember how Tim felt when he saw a similar sign before he went on the tour? What has changed?
It was mentioned before that Tim was very good with computers, we now know that this was
Why is Lex so adamant that Tim not try to help? Could he really make things any worse than they already are?
Why is the detail of the snarling raptors included here?
The ship with the loose raptors minutes away from approaching the mainland is equivalent to the trope of a bomb being diffused just seconds away from detonating. (This annotation contains an image)
Lex's constant interruptions give this section a sense of
If you were Tim, which section on the grid would you try? Is this system set up to be intuitive?
"Fascinated dread" is an example of what literary device?
Malcolm tends to use analogies to make his theories more palatable and understandable. Even so, Hammond just does not seem to get it.
What does Tim hope to accomplish by throwing the baby raptor at the other raptors? What did he assume about the raptors?
The fact that the raptors are methodically searching for Grant proves what Muldoon has been saying about them being excellent hunters. How does it also make the raptors appear more human-like?
Unlike Tim, what does Grant know about raptor behavior?
The raptor becomes more cautious a solitary hunter. This gives Grant an advantage. (This annotation contains an image)
The raptor falling backward just as it is about to attack is
Since the tour, the story has had several mini climaxes and resolutions. Would you say that is still the case here, or is the narrative already on the falling action?
What is the source of conflict between Freddy and Tim?
Malcolm is very much a big picture guy. He sees things from a broad perspective. The earth is billions of years old. It has been through countless cycles of destruction and life. The idea that one man could destroy the earth is preposterous.
Do you agree with Malcolm on this subject? Is he being overly dramatic or is he a realist?
Well, not entirely Jurassic equilibrium as some of the dinosaurs are from different periods, but we get Grant's point. The animals are now in a more natural environment as opposed to being controlled in separate paddocks. (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Grant say that Gennaro needs to take responsibility for what has happened?
Lex sure is trusting of the velociraptor after everything that she has been through. What do you think accounts for her new feeling of security?
The author conveys the hellish landscape through
What is the flaw in Gennaro's plan?
What is one possible reason for Hammond feeling the need to justify himself?
Why does he feel rage and not fear? What does this reveal about his internal conflict? (This annotation contains a video)
Is Hammond a lost cause? Does this make him a static character?
How is Gennaro different from the other stakeholders on the island? How has he changed, while others have not?
What characteristic do these wild velociraptors have that the ones bred in captivity don't have?
What do you think accounts for the seemingly lowered aggression in these velociraptors?
What does this compass symbolize?
After everything that he has witnessed, Hammond still believes himself to be untouchable. He is weakened and cannot get up from the ground -- what should he be concerned about?
Consider all of the people who have been killed by dinosaurs on the island. What do they have in common?
Grant has just realized how the existence of real dinosaurs calls into question his entire career. Can he go back to digging fossils after this? (This annotation contains an image)
Why doesn't the officer ask Ellie if she is in charge?
Epilogue: San José
Spoiler alert, Ian Malcolm was such a popular character that Crichton revived him in the sequel, "The Lost World" (1995). This kind of fictional revision is called a "retcon" (retroactive continuity), and is popular in comic books and soap operas. (This annotation contains an image)
Why would they all have to stay in Costa Rica until the government knows more about the escaped animals? How is this being cautious?