The Significance of Stereotype and Assimilation in Eaters of the Dead
[(Essay dated 10 June 2011) In this essay, J.A. analyzes the racial stereotypes presented between Arabs and Northmen in Eaters of the Dead, as well as the significance of the assimilation of the main character, Ibn Fadlan, to the Northmen culture.]

In Michael Crichton’s Eaters of the Dead, a heightened importance is bestowed upon on the differences between the lifestyles and customs of the Northmen and of the Arabs. Ibn Fadlan’s journey in the company of the Northmen constantly demonstrates the differences in religious belief, physical and intellectual capacities, and other stereotypes that different ethnic groups often make of one another. However, at the end of the journey, Crichton conveys significance in Ibn Fadlan’s assimilation to the culture and ways of the Northmen. This significance is evident in any culture in history that experienced such assimilation, and shows that changes in ethnic groups can lead to the spread of knowledge and a heightened respect for other cultures, as Crichton expresses through the journey of Ibn Fadlan.
Stereotypes held by both the Arabs and the Northmen about one another are constantly showcased throughout the novel, even before Ibn Fadlan is forced upon his Nordic journey. An interesting juxtaposition is made between the Oguz Turks and the Northmen in the beginning of the novel. When Ibn Fadlan is first introduced to the Oguz Turks, he describes certain aspects of their lifestyle, such as that “The Oguz do not wash themselves after defecation or urination, nor do they bathe after ejaculation, or on other occasions. They have nothing whatever to do with water, especially in the winter” (Crichton 30). Though it is evident in the tone of Ibn Fadlan’s narration that he does not appreciate the slovenly lifestyle of the Oguz, his tone is sharper when describing the Northmen. He says that they are “…the filthiest race that God ever created. They do not wipe themselves after going to stool, or wash themselves after nocturnal pollution, any more than if they were wild asses” (42). Interestingly, what he describes regarding both groups are almost identical, however he calls the Northmen the “filthiest race that God ever created;” a juxtaposition that clearly connotes Ibn Fadlan’s stereotypical views of the Northmen.
When Ibn Fadlan joins the company of Buliwyf in its journey to the kingdom of Rothgar, he experiences remarks from various Northmen about the Arab way of life regarding almost all aspects of society. The first of such remarks occurred during the funeral for Wyglif, the former leader of the group of Northmen that Ibn Fadlan first encounters, in which one of the Northmen said, regarding funerals, “You Arabs…must be a stupid lot. You take your most beloved and revered man and cast him into the ground to be devoured by creeping things and worms. We, on the other hand, burn him in a twinkling, so that instantly, without a moment’s delay, he enters into Paradise” (54). An ironic tone is expressed in this as it seems evident that the entire Arab community, represented through Ibn Fadlan, is more advanced and cunning than that of the Northmen (which is factual, as it is stated in the Introduction of the novel that the Arab nations were the most advanced nations in the world during the time in which the story takes place), and the fact that a Northman is calling the Arabs stupid speaks of the weight that this remark holds. Ibn Fadlan is not without his own stereotypes regarding the Northmen, as the aforementioned juxtaposition between the Oguz Turks and the Northmen displays. Most of Ibn Fadlan’s stereotypical remarks deal solely with his inability to fathom the barbaric and incomprehensible mannerisms of the Northmen. This is exhibited when the company of Buliwyf first arrives in the kingdom of Rothgar and see a boy’s mangled body; Ibn Fadlan says, “Never will I comprehend the manner of the Northmen, for even as I was sick, so they became calm and dispassionate at the aspect of this horror; they viewed all they saw in quiet fashion…” (110). A profusion of more stereotypical and judgmental remarks are made throughout the novel by the Northman translator, Herger, as well as by Ibn Fadlan regarding the other’s race. As their time together progressed, however, most of these comments were made with a sense of camaraderie and brotherhood to them.
Eventually, Ibn Fadlan became accustomed to the ways of the Northmen, and started to display it in the fact that he could understand their language, in how he spoke, and how he acted. When speaking to an old man in Rothgar, he “…repeated to this old man a saying of the Northmen, which Herger had once said to me. I said, ‘Animals die, friends die, and I shall die, but one thing never dies, and that is the reputation we leave behind at our death.’” (127). This is the first instance in which Ibn Fadlan’s assimilation to the Northmen’s culture is exhibited, and is incredibly significant in his growth as a character and in his acceptance of his unfavorable circumstances. After the first battle that the Northmen had with the beasts of the mist, Ibn Fadlan states to Herger that “…I feared nothing the demons would do” (145). This shows severe character growth, as in earlier parts of the novel, Ibn Fadlan openly expresses great fear and weakness to the Northmen, but in this passage, he becomes more like a Northman in his lack of fear in battle. This new bravado is exemplified by Ibn Fadlan in during the attack of Korgon when he, “…saw Herger in mortal combat with one of the demons; taking up a fresh lance, I drove it deep into the creature’s back. Herger, dripping blood, raised an arm in thanks and plunged back into combat. Here I felt great pride” (176). Not only does Ibn Fadlan prove himself in battle to the audience, but he is also acknowledged by his closest companion among the Northmen in battle for his successful feat. The final step in Ibn Fadlan’s assimilation is when he acknowledges to himself of his metamorphosis. The night before the company of Buliwyf entered the Thunder Caves, Ibn Fadlan, “…joined in the general revelry, for I felt as one of them, having spent much time in their company, or so it seemed. Indeed, that night I felt I had been born a Northman” (214). Here, Ibn Fadlan expresses his “rebirth” as a Northman and conveys this expression with joy and feelings of accomplishment in his growth. It is clear that this event is of great significance, as Crichton openly expresses Ibn Fadlan’s feelings of his transformation to the audience, and for the very reasons aforementioned.
Ibn Fadlan’s assimilation to the culture of the Northmen signifies his growth as an individual and the expansion of his knowledge and respect for different cultures. As aforesaid, Ibn Fadlan had no respect for the Northmen when he first interacted with them, and thought of them as animals that were barbaric and inhumane. However, his journey spent in their company and the many hardships that they faced together brought Ibn Fadlan closer to the Northmen, as well as caused him to hold reverence for them. The fact that such individual growth was present over a millennium ago is significant to the human psyche and provides evidence that human nature is consistent throughout history. It is because of this that the spreading of culture and knowledge due to differences in ethnic groups is possible through assimilation, as Crichton expresses through Ibn Fadlan’s Nordic journey.
J.A. 2011


Significance of Historical Allusions in The Andromeda Strain
[(Essay dated 10 June 2011) In this essay, J.A. analyzes the historical allusions presented in The Andromeda Strain and how they contribute to the potency of the feelings of suspense and fear conveyed throughout the novel.]

In The Andromeda Strain, Michael Crichton fuses actual and fictional events into his plot, by using alluding to actual events current to the time in which the novel was written, the year 1969. The tension that was presented throughout the novel regarding launching the nuclear bomb signifies Cold War struggles and the tension that the U.S. faced in its arms race with the Soviet Union. Anti-Vietnam War sentiments were at its peak in 1969 as well, which is alluded to by the negative tone that accompanies the description of Project Scoop and how the military was using to enhance their biological warfare capabilities. Andromeda itself can be alluded to an event from 1969, as it is an unknown killing disease, as was AIDS when the first case was recorded in 1969. It is through these allusions that Crichton made the events in The Andromeda Strain more suspenseful and relatable, as there are underlying hints of these significant and frightening events in the novel.
A huge focus is placed on whether or not to launch nuclear weapons to destroy Andromeda. Great detail is gone into in describing the procedures of the launching of the nuclear bomb, as well as how to stop its launch and who specifically can stop the launch. Stone describes the procedure to Hall in saying that “The detonation mechanism is automatic. Should breakthrough of the organism occur, with contamination of all Level V, detonation will take place within three minutes unless you lock in your key, and call it off” (Crichton 125). Giving the key to saving everyone in the facility to one single person is highly significant as it foreshadows the eventual countdown to the launch of the nuclear bomb. The panic and urgency of the launch of the bomb is captured in Hall’s response to the launch, in which “For a moment, Hall did not understand. He continued to sit in his seat, and then, when the realization hit him, he scrambled for the door and hurried outside to the corridor” (311). The intensity and the climactic tone in this passage as it meets the foreshadowed launch of the bomb highlights the similarities between reality and fiction. This is similar to the tension between the U.S. and communist countries during the time in which the novel was written. Americans feared the detriments that would have resulted from the U.S. launching nuclear weapons on the Soviet Union or Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The eerie similarities between the tension in launching the nuclear bomb in the novel and Cold War tensions regarding the arms race as well as the Cuban Missile Crisis are no coincidence. Crichton purposefully paralleled the events in his novel to events occurring during the time in which the novel was published so that his audience could sense the underlying similarities between fact and fiction, which would add to the suspense and emotion of his work.
Another similarity between fact and fiction comes from Crichton’s introduction in the novel for Project Scoop. It is outright stated that “The true aims of Scoop were to find new life forms that might benefit the Fort Derrick program. In essence, it was a study to discover new biological weapons of war” (54). It is then introduced in further detail to the audience as, “…a program to orbit seventeen satellites around the earth, collecting organisms and bringing them back to the surface” (56). Crichton is saying that these organisms would be used for enhancing biological weaponry for the U.S. and this was the sole mission for Project Scoop. This is incredibly similar to the government’s use of certain biological weapons in Vietnam and the attempt to increase the technology of American biological warfare. Some of these weapons included napalm, Agent Orange, and an unnamed weapon designed to alter weather patterns in North Vietnam. Crichton uses this mainly to again appeal to his audience by relating his fiction to actual events and create a lingering recollecting thought for his audience of actual events.
The Andromeda Strain itself is an allusion to a mysterious disease that was first introduced to the U.S. in 1969. The entire novel is about finding out what the unknown disease that befell Piedmont is and how it functions. When the Wildfire unit thoroughly examines the Andromeda Strain, they find:
“‘No amino acids,’ Burton said. ‘No proteins.’
‘Life without proteins, Leavitt said. He shook his head; it seemed as if his worst fears were realized.’” (250)
This outright exhibition of fear in a highly educated person is significant in that it shows that the disease that is being dealt with in this novel is of staggering magnitudes of danger. It is in this passage that it is confirmed that Andromeda is not of the Earth, and for this reason, planted the possibility that the disease could not be destroyed. This uncertainty and huge fear of the unknown disease is what drives fear into the scientists, and any others who know about Andromeda. This is eerily similar to the mysterious disease that befell an American teenager from Missouri, Robert R. Nobody knew of the origin of the disease, or what this disease was in the first place, as this was the first known case of it. It was later found out to be AIDS, which is an incredibly dangerous and serious disease. Though it was not known at the time that the disease was AIDS, the fact that there was a mysterious disease that had entered the U.S. is entirely alluded to by Crichton by using Andromeda itself. This allusion was made to have an even greater tantalizing effect on Crichton’s audience by showing the audience what could possibly happen with a disease like the one presented in Andromeda.
The obvious allusions that Crichton places in the novel are clearly significant in their means to create suspense and fear for his audience. The clear connections to the audience of his time is the key to conveying these emotions through the text in that it has less of an intense affect as the novel gets progressively older. It is because of this, however, that the gravity of Crichton’s installation of the aforementioned emotions to the masses was intensified, thus attracting more appeal, and the relatable nature of his novel is bolstered.
J.A. 2011

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(Michael Crichton uses certain events in the novel Jurassic Park to convey his own ideas and opinions concerning the course of nature and its abilities.)

The novel Jurassic Park depicts a small island that is inhabited by dinosaurs that were created with DNA that humans obtained from mosquitoes. Trying to create a dinosaur zoo, the people try to contain the dinosaurs on the island in cages and pens.

Michael Crichton basis his story around the beliefs of one of his characters named Ian Malcom. Malcom believes that life cannot be contained forever; it will eventually escape and spread across the earth, also known as the chaos theory. Michael Crichton explains this to the reader through scenarios that he creates that address the issue of the chaos theory. Also Michael implements his own ideas of nature as well as the chaos theory.

“Softly chirping, one lizard bent down and, with a quick shake of its head, tore a ragged chunk of flesh from the baby”(27)

In this scenario, a strange lizard is discovered and is thought to be non-threatening, only if they feel threatened will they defend themselves. But a few weeks later, a pack of these lizards invade a house, and bite off the face of a small infant.

This scene demonstrates the power that nature itself holds. It can be thought to be friendly and kind, but in reality it is fierce and dangerous beyond extent, in this case, it can kill. By using this scenario does Michael verify the existence of the chaos theory and begin the development of the story.

“Now you see the flaw in your procedures,’ Malcolm said. ‘you only tracked the expected number of dinosaurs. You were worried about losing animals, and your procedures were designed to advise you instantly if you had less than the expected number. But that wasn’t the problem.”(165)

While on the island Dr. Grant and Ian Malcolm run into more and more dinosaurs. Arnold resets the computer to look for more dinosaurs than the expected amount and finds that there are much more dinosaurs than the expected amount, that somehow, the dinosaurs are breeding.

By using this scene, can Michael further explain the Chaos theory. That life will find a way to escape, and in this case, life multiplied in order to escape by surprise. The directors and security of the island didn’t know about the increase in dinosaurs because their computers were told to only show an amount of dinosaurs that were expected. Thereby nature deceived the system and did the opposite of what was expected. Which proves the effectiveness of Malcolm’s chaos theory.

“Nedry fell to the ground and landed on something scaly and cold, it was the animal’s foot, and then there was new pain on both sides of his head. The pain grew worse, and as he was lifter to his feet he knew the dinosaur had his head in its jaws.”(196)

Nedry, a computer technician that designed the whole system that secured the dinosaurs was working for a different company and he was willing to steal a few embryos in order to get 60 million dollars. His plan backfired when he took a wrong turn and ended up in a face-off with a dinosaur.

This event proves that nature can be extremely fierce and violent at times, therefore decreasing the possibility of it being contained. The author uses this scene to convey to the reader the intensity of nature itself and how deadly it can be. Which further proves the chaos theory that life will become unbalance and uncontrollable once it escapes.

“Those animals,’ Gennaro said, shaking his head, ‘they sure are desperate to escape from here.”
“No,’ Grant said. ‘They don’t want to escape at all.”
“They don’t?”
“No,” Grant said. “They want to migrate.”(395)

During this event, Dr. Grant and Gennaro discover a colony of Raptors, and as they observe the raptors they find that the raptors try to get on boats and anything heading away from the island. Trying to travel to another place on the earth.

By using this event can the author prove that nature will try to escape and spread across the earth. This further explains the chaos theory that life will stabilize after it escapes and will resume in a normal pattern. The raptors trying to migrate to another country is a normal attribute of all animals. Bears will hibernate, and birds will migrate south during the winter. And the wild animals are is what nature is mainly composed of. So what an animal’s natural instincts are, that is what nature’s instinct is as well. And because an animal tends to change its pattern when the weather changes, it is normal for the raptors to want to migrate after they’ve escaped from captivity, they’ve experienced a change in their life style.

By using events and scenarios such as these can Michael Crichton state his feelings and opinions on the topic of nature. Also he can develop Malcolm’s character and show the effects of nature and what it is capable of doing. By doing this can the author explain Malcolm’s chaos theory in further detail. By the showing the reader what chaos theory is about can Michael Crichton show the effectiveness of it.


D.H 2010


(Michael Crichton states his thoughts and opinions on the subject of Genetic Engineering through examples in the novel Next)

In the novel Next, the author, Michael Crichton, creates a world that is not as different as ours is today. The difference is that in this world, the societies all around the world are corrupt and naive.
The book presents different views of people in different countries around the world. Most of these people have pets or other animals that are genetically engineered, also being the main basis of this book. And throughout the novel, Michael keeps presenting the issue of genetic engineering we face today. The author feels that genetic engineering can be very dangerous and very hazardous to people, Michael proves this by implementing certain scenarios that address the issue of genetic engineering in a negative way.

“And what did you subsequently discover?”
“That Dr. Gross had sold my cells-the cells he took from my during all these tests-to a drug company called BioGen.”(23)

In this part of the story, a man named Burnet, discovered that he had a gene that created cancer. Thinking that he might have already developed it, Burnet went to a doctor named Dr. Gross and asked him for a diagnosis. The Doctor did tests on Burnet and found the patient contained within his cells an amino acid name cytokines, which were used to fight off cancer. Dr. Gross tricked Burnet into undergoing more tests. Once Dr. Gross had enough, he sold these cells to a company called BioGen for over 35 million dollars.

Because he violated the patients trust, Michael presents to us a negative side of the issue of genetic engineering. Because genetic engineering can make people extremely rich, they soon become consumed with greed for more money, and soon they loose all respect for other’s and their privacy. Even if it could hurt someone in the process, they will do anything to achieve more status and wealth.

“I’m sorry ma’am’, the policewoman said. ‘If she is sixteen, and these drugs involve reproductive issues, you have no right to be informed.”
“What do you mean I have no right to be informed? She’s my daughter. She’s sixteen.”(297)

In this part of the story, a mother finds out that her daughter is injecting herself with pregnancy inducing drugs in order to sell the embryos she makes to a dealer. Being naturally upset that her daughter is ruining her body to do this, she takes her daughter and the drugs to the police station where she is informed that it is none of her business.

This issue that Michael creates can have both a positive and negative side to the issue of genetic engineering. This can be positive because the daughter has found a way to make money legally, unlike the first situation, even if her mother doesn’t approve. But Michael also includes the pregnancy issue as well. Should mothers be informed if their daughter is pregnant? If a child were to be pregnant, they would most certainly need the help of their parents in order to support and care for the baby that the child conceives for at least a year if not more. Thus if the parent’s are going to be affected, then they should be informed, making the current issue of genetics in the novel more of a negative effect than a positive.

“He had a huge gusher on his forehead. Red blood pouring down one side of his face.”
“He smiled weakly. ‘Hi Mom.’”
“Jamie, where are you hit?” (319)

This incident occurs when a young boy named Jamie goes to school with his new brother, an ape that has human DNA named Dave. Dave can talk and understand language as well as any other human being. But the drawback is that he has the body of an ape. Once in school the boys are teased continuously by a bully named Billy. Soon a fight breaks out and Dave wins the fight and beats Billy very severely. Billy swears that he’ll kill Dave, and that night he steals his father’s gun and shoots at Dave, except he misses and almost kills Jamie who was outside with Dave.

Because the monkey is genetically modified, Michael presents again the issue of genetic engineering. Although the monkey is a wonderful companion to Jamie and is not ferocious, Dave still is the cause of Jamie nearly getting killed. This event is clearly a negative effect of genetic engineering, because it brought a child near death.

“He shot Dr. Bellarmino! He shot Dr. Bellarmino!”(403)

A young man named Brad is at an amusement park trying to enter a roller coaster. He was told to live dangerously in order to prove his case to the court that he has compulsive genes that force him to take risks. Just before he get on the ride, he sees some men in white coming towards him, thinking they’re here to arrest him, he takes out a gun and shoots the man in front of the line.

This is the climax of the story; a man is driven to killing someone just because he wants to prove to the court that he has compulsive genes, which brings the issue of genetic engineering into play once again. This incident creates an affect that is not positive in any way. A man is convinced he has a compulsive gene and in the process of trying to prove that he has this gene. He kills someone, this states that genetic engineering is dangerous and it can kill people in many different ways. In this case trying to prove a disorder.

Through these small incidents, Michael Crichton shows the reader the negative effects of genetic engineering, and by doing this, proving his point.

D.H 2010

The Perspectives of Corruption in Next
[(Essay dated 3 June 2008)In the following essay AK analyzes the numerous perspectives depicted in order to illustrate the far-reaching effects that one action taken by a few individuals with power can have in the novel Next, by Michael Crichton. Crichton expresses his disdain for these individuals through the pervasive atmosphere of corruption.]

The novel
Next by Michael Crichton allows the reader to experience the perspectives of a variety of people involved in the numerous facets of genetics. These individuals, namely scientists, doctors, and big companies each have their own interests in the novel. Scientists want to be the first to discover new genes, doctors want to be the first to prescribe new drugs, and big companies want to benefit through huge profit increases. This combination creates a market that quickly spirals out of control and that is rank with corruption as well as deceit. The far-reaching effects of these individuals can be seen through the many perspectives offered in the novel Next.
Scientists in the novel are typecast as immoral, instead of releasing news of discoveries for the continuance of the pursuit of knowledge; it is done in order to best someone else. The rush to be the best leads some scientists to release their finds too early, while they are still unproven. This ultimately affects the public who lack the proper knowledge on the subject and “geneticists will not speak out. They all sit on the boards of private companies, and are in a race to identify genes they can patent for their own profit” (158). This uncertainty also extends to testing drugs as one scientist, Josh Winkler, in charge of vaccinating mice allows his brother, a drug addict, to receive it. While initially he is worried about the side-effects, soon the alluring idea of fame and ultimately money leads him to test it on many people, “the whole world is going to talk about it”(79). However, those whom he targets are what he deems ‘disposable’, therein making them extremely good test subjects. Winkler decides that he is the only one that matters; it does not matter to him that the vaccination that he has distributed will lead to the deaths of his victims. This is displayed by all the scientists in the novel, as long as their actions do not affect them, then they feel no compulsion to stop.Scientists in the novel also seem disregard the consequences of their actions, especially the fact that what they do ultimately affects their families as well. The most prominent example of this is Dave, a half human and monkey child who is created because his ‘father’ wants to see if it is possible, “I never expected the experiment to go to term”(193). In the long run this wreaks havoc in his children’s lives as they are harassed by classmates and others. Crichton’s feeling toward these characters is evident through the diction of the novel, which points out the duplicity of these characters. Crichton shows his resentment of scientists who abuse their profession to deceive uneducated people as well as to advance their own careers.
“The man at the podium was one of the most famous venture capitalists in California, a legend in high-tech investment, Jack B. Watson (……) Watson was a young fifty-two, and assiduously cultivated his reputation as a capitalist with a conscience. That appellation had carried him through a succession of ruthless business deals”(2).Big companies in Next play an even bigger role in effecting a wide range of people because of the power and money at their disposal. With such important assets they can do literally anything, including declaring they own someone’s cells because of a supposed purchase. This would not be such a problem if it was not for the fact that upon losing these purchased cells the company, BioGen, declares that they can go and get some more from the patient, “The court has held that BioGen owns these cells. They came from Mr. Burnet but they are the property of BioGen. We argue that we have the right to retrieve these cells at any time”(374). The ensuing debate leads to the company’s ‘hit men’ trying to obtain the cells from the man’s daughter and grandson who share the same cells. It is this kind of lawlessness that characterizes big companies in the novel as well as an intense secrecy as the location of BioGen suggests it, “looked impressive and high-tech while revealing absolutely nothing about what went on inside-which is exactly how Diehl (company president) wanted it”(45). This secrecy stresses the ever present atmosphere of corruption, where these companies do not want to help people but rather deceive them.
The head of the company, BioGen, is just as corrupt, as he tries to ruin his ex-wife’s life by making her take a genetic test, “there’s a fifty-fifty chance she may have the gene. If she does, she’ll eventually develop the disease and die writhing in dementia. But she’s twenty-eight years old. The disease might not appear for another twenty years. So if she knew about it now…it could ruin the rest of her life”(33). The use of foreshadowing in the novel shows Crichton’s views of big companies and the short cuts they take as well as the things they are capable of doing. Throughout the novel things go very well for big companies even as they manipulate everyone but there are hints that things are about to go very wrong, “He (Diehl) was poking at his daughter when the phone rang. And things became much, much worse”(223). All of the plans that Diehl has made dealing with his company quickly are lost and Crichton also has plans for another company president. The man, Watson, who has completely lied to his patients about how exactly he is treating them, is himself struck with an incurable disease.All of these factors combine to create a network of individuals whose sole intent is to deceive those who they should be trying to help, the people. The resounding effects are far greater than those who initially dealt them could ever imagine. Crichton demonstrated his contempt for the ways of big companies and scientists through the use of certain literary devices.
A.K. 2008



The Effects of an Active Sub-Conscience[(Essay dated 9 June, 2008) In the following essay AK analyzes the psychological effects of the setting in the novel Sphere by Michael Crichton. Each character displays different side effects which manifest themselves in very different and dangerous ways as their sub-consciences take control.]
The characters in the novel Sphere are tested as they are put in a tiny deep sea habitat in order to investigate a strange alien object on the bottom of the ocean. Michael Crichton portrays all of these characters as being rather flawed in that all of them have a tough time interacting with each other. There is Harry, a black man who sees racial undertones in everything and, Beth, a woman who feels controlled by men Fortunately Crichton provides in the midst of these characters one levelheaded psychologist, Norman Johnson.The setting of the novel evokes a claustrophobic feeling, “This place feels like a tomb-and I’ve been prematurely buried”(247), as the characters deal with the fact that there are limitless ways in which they can perish in this hostile environment. They are all literally on edge because of the object, which appears upon inspection to be a sphere from fifty years in the future. The sphere is revealed to allow anyone to access their sub conscience and put it into action, which in this environment can have some nasty effects. Harry is the first one to enter the sphere and manifest himself as JERRY, an alien to everyone, even himself. This presents a problem because as Norman analyzes those around him he “realized how much the group deferred to him(Harry). Harry is the person who figures things out for us. We need him, rely on him”(125). As this unfamiliar situation progresses, all of them lose confidence and this allows them a lot of time to think about their fears.This fear is shown through Harry who has this newfound power, unbeknownst to himself, in the form of a squid, which he is deathly afraid of. However Harry seems to begin to recognize that he himself is controlling something, “It is something that was previously inside the sphere, and that is now released, and is free to act. That’s what it is”(178). This passage seems to point to the fact that Harry’s dark side has been released and has absolute power, nothing can stop him. Yet these manifestations are Harry’s own fears which explains why an illusion of a seaman appears, this shows his desire to be rescued, and why this same seaman is black. Harry finds this to be a comforting image, he sub-consciously is terrified that they will never leave the bottom of the ocean.Norman begins to realize exactly what is going on and informs Beth which is not the best idea considering Beth’s own hostility towards men. Beth unbeknownst to Norman enters the sphere and returns looking “stronger, clearer. She actually looked rather beautiful”(257). According to Beth men “resent the power of the female”(263), which is why she continually strives to get on without men. With her new looks, she gains power and the knowledge that men find her attractive but she remains elusive and uninterested. Beth is also afraid of dying in an explosion and promptly manifests explosives all around their under sea habitat in order to protect herself as she believes that Norman is trying to kill her.This paranoia effects everyone except Norman, throughout the novel he is the most composed and sensible. “All pretense of naivete, of an alien quantity, had been dropped. But Norman felt stronger, more confident, as the conversation progressed. He knew whom he was talking to now. He wasn’t talking to any alien. There weren’t any unknown assumptions. He was talking to a childish part of another human being”(293). Norman is able to use the powers of the sphere to take control of the situation which ultimately saves all of them.There are many hints throughout the novel that things are not going to go well which is indicated by the names of the chapters. One such name is simply “Descent” while another is “the Door” and another is “the Deep”, all of these sound very ominous and dangerous while pointing out the events to come. Crichton shows that the power of the sub-conscience when motivated by fear can be a powerful thing if given the means to operate. By allowing each of these characters to dwell on their surroundings and formulate the most terrifying things that can possibly happen to them, their sub conscience becomes more powerful.
A.K. 2008



The Power of Money in Soceity
[ (Essay Dated June 15 2009) In the following essay, MB analyzes Michael Crichton’s depiction of money as the ultimate driving force of society in the novel Next.]

In his novel Next, Michael Crichton uses several intertwined stories to convey how society’s main motivator has become solely about making a profit, at the expense of anyone and everyone. Crichton uses universities, corporations, and individuals from different places throughout the world to represent how advances in technology, namely genetic engineering, has become so focused on making money and out doing their competitors at the expense of the very people they are supposed to be helping. Their original goal of helping society has become greatly overshadowed by the greedy of those who can help.

Crichton makes his intent very clear within the Prologue where the character Vasco Borden, a “fugitive-recovery specialist”, is introduced. Vasco is currently following his fugitive who has stolen cryogenic embryos. By introducing a bounty hunter and a fugitive intent on selling the stolen property, Crichton is able to subtly get across that the underlying theme is going to be money based. This is the connecting factor of these two men, both are looking to get ahead in the world at the expense of others; Vasco unconcerned with those he endangers in his relentless chase and the fugitive unconcerned with the possibilities for human betterment that he has stolen.

Throughout the novel, Crichton uses several different characters of very different backgrounds to continue to express his disgust with societies need for money.

The main story line, focusing on the Burnet cell line, makes the need for money very clear. Crichton characterizes Burnet as a man who defeated cancer but was tricked, by the very doctors he trusted, into letting his cells be cultivated and sold as a commercial product. The cell line is sold and Burnet sees no money and claims he never gave permission for commercial use of his tissues. The betrayal of Burnet by his doctors to make a profit shows just how far corporations are willing to go and how they no longer care for the well being of their patients.

Crichton goes to great lengths throughout the novel to make the whole Burnet family seem as though they are victims being used by a big corporation for a profit. “ I trusted him… just so he could steal parts of my own body from me and sell them to make a profit.” (p. 23) Although this is very true and evident, Crichton cleverly disguises motives of Burnet himself. Despite the fact the Burnet is the victim; he wants just what the big corporation wants, money. “ ‘Did he ever offer to chare his profit with you?... Did you ask him to’ ‘Eventually I did, yes’ ” (p. 24). By characterizing the victim as someone who wants money, Crichton is able to convey how the desire for money is not one sided, but in fact, a shared common goal of all aspects of society.

The gene spray side story is another example of how patient well being is pushed aside in order to make a profit. Although Josh Winkler does not initially intend to start human trials with the BioGen product, he become caught up in the idea of being able to make a profit from the product. He starts illegal trials to see how the spray affects different people he knows; he becomes encouraged by Rick Diehl, the head of BioGen, to continue his illegal activity. The two men become so concerned with the potential commercial value that the product could have that the completely disregard the patients’ health. Crichton uses BioGen and its many different conflicts throughout the novel to represent the corruption that is carried out in the corporate world.

Crichton makes use of the character Bellarmino to ties in even the religious aspects of society to the need for money. Bellarmino is described as a God believing man who is able to tie in genetic engineering to God’s intentions. Instead of being a moral man, however, Crichton characterizes him as a manipulator who has a tendency to steal others ideas. “Nothing, in short, would interfere with his lab, his research, and his reputation.” (p. 122) He is a relentless character who does whatever he can to gain support for “his” ideas and goals. The use of someone who appears as an ethical man to the public, allows Crichton to convey the manipulation of the public and patients, whom Bellarmino claims to have in mind, just so a huge profit could be made.

Crichton also makes use of newspaper articles and short side plots to convey the world wide deceit to the public. The majority of the articles are either revised or discredited later on, showing just how focused the reporters and scientist were at making a story and money that they do not fully check what they are publishing to the public. Side stories of transgenic pets and advertising on animals further shows societies need to make money, even if it comes to disrupting the natural world to accomplish this.

The use of pressing and controversial issues within Next creates a very real atmosphere for the reader. The issues being discussed with in the novel allow the reader to feel involved and realize just how close to nonfiction it really is. By doing this, Crichton, is able to reach the reader on a deeper level and express how society has become so focused on money that it is at the point of endangering the well being of all members of the society and how no one, even those who seem to be victims, is free of the desire of having money.

MB 2009

The Inability of Individuals to See Their True Selves
[ (Essay Date June 15 2009) In the following essay, MB analyzes the concept of the inability of individuals to see their true self in the novel Sphere by Michael Crichton.]

The novel Sphere by Michael Crichton deals heavily with the subconscious and a person’s inability to see their true selves.

As the events of the novel unwind, the three characters that remain throughout the whole novel each battle with their subconscious and are unable to see their true selves. Norman, Harry, and Beth must battle their own selves as well as ban together to protect themselves from each other. In the end, the characters’ biggest threat to themselves is their own mind.

Harry is the first to enter the sphere and after the crew receives contact with an alien named Jerry. Harry seems to know that the alien does not exist and that it is him in reality endangering the crew, but he tries to deny this fact. When decoding the message he deliberately changes the name so that no one will know it is him and warns Norman not to mess with Jerry. Because it is his subconscious that is endangering the crew, Harry seems to be unable to fully admit that it is his fault. He is blinded to much by his perception of himself to believe that he is capable of endangering the crew. Harry’s ego also makes it nearly impossible for him to recognize fully what he is doing. He is self-centered but at the same time would rather analyze those around him and his surroundings. “”But Harry was astute; he didn’t miss a thing.” (p. 82) Because Harry pays more attention to those around him, he is really look at himself and this creates the problems later on. He is unable to even comprehend that it is him creating the dangerous sea creatures, even when all the evidence is before him and he sees it. “ ‘It cant be me, it cant be me,’ Harry moaned.” (p. 264)

Beth also falls victim to her subconscious and it leads her to go insane while the crew is trapped desperately waiting to be rescued. Beth is portrayed as being a very strong minded and independent individual. But despite her outward front, Beth is the most insecure character. Her inability to admit how insecure and unhappy she really is becomes a problem when her subconscious takes over. She surrounds the habitat with rigged explosives in her attempt to “protect” herself, but in reality she is trying to commit suicide but will not admit it. She cannot take a step back and look to see that she is being irrational and endangering everyone just as much as Harry had done. The female crew member that was found aboard the sunken space craft is a perfect example of her thickness. The crew member is a striking image of Beth, in almost every way, but she constantly denies that it is even remotely similar to her. This is symbolic of her overall inability to see herself clearly, even when everything is laid out in front of her.

Even Norman, the most level headed of the survivors is forced to look at his true self. Throughout the novel, he is portrayed as the single one who is always aware of what is going on. He begins to question himself, however, when Beth claims that he has entered the sphere. He is the only character that willingly tries to look at himself from another perspective. “ No, he thought. No, no, no. She can’t be right.” (p. 285) Even though it would seem that Norman would be able to look at himself better then anyone else, he is looking from a warped depiction created by Beth. In reality Norman does not acknowledge his true self at all; despite how hard he tries, he still has the same flaw that the other characters have.

Crichton is able to illustrate the dangers that arise when people refuse to look deeply at themselves through the use of the three main characters. Each one posses a strong trait that would seem as though it would help the characters out. Harry is the brains, but no matter how many logic problems and codes he cracks, he is still unable to see his own faults. The same is true of Beth, the strong willed and independent individual, and of Norman, the most level headed character. By giving these characters these strong traits, Crichton is able to convey that no matter how strong a person may be, they are no match for their subconscious and it is almost impossible to view your true self if you are in denial.

MB 2009

The Consequences of Unbalanced Relationships and Misunderstanding in Prey

[(Essay dated 15 June 2009) In the following essay, IB analyzes the need for balance in various relationships and Michael Crichton’s use of symbolism in order to convey his message that misunderstanding and mistaken identity with respect to one’s exterior can lead to the end of a relationship. It is contested herein that simply focusing on solely one area in one’s life will result in eventual failure as upheld by evidence provided by Crichton in the novel Prey.]

“People change and forget to tell each other”. That sentiment, taken from a Lillian Hellman text, speaks to the core idea in Michael Crichton’s novel Prey. In his widely acclaimed novel, Crichton analyzes the need for a balance between relationships in life; one’s relationships to everyday tasks, such as a career, need to be in balance with the relationships he or she has with loved ones. Crichton uses various techniques and symbolism not only to represent his disdain for those who function in a tunnel-vision like way, but to warn of the grave danger it poses to one’s sanity.

In order to understand Crichton’s message and the methods he employs to plant it into the reader’s mind, it is first necessary to become aware of the novel’s circumstances.

The novel’s protagonist, Jack, has “become a house-husband...a stay at home dad...full-time dad...” (8). Jack, formerly employed in the lucrative Silicon Valley, has ceded his position as bread winner to his wife Julia, now a senior partner at Xymos Technology. Jack and Julia seem to have lost their spark; Julia is now a career woman and Jack has been exiled to the home. Julia’s company, Xymos Technology, develops technology for war-fare. Its recent invention is a cloud of nano-particles; the particles function as tiny cameras that, once put together, form images. The premise is that the clouds, in theory, will help in the field. Tests, however, show that the clouds grow and evolve, reproducing by invading the bodies of the living. Crichton uses symbolism and intense imagery in order to represent the torn relationship between Jack and Julia.

Crichton presents his argument systematically; as Jack and Julia’s relationship gets more stressed, the details he incorporates reflect the need for balance. “As I turned (to leave the room), I saw Julia’s silhouette in the doorway. She had been watching me. I couldn’t read her expression. She stalked forward. I tensed” (19). Crichton’s diction in this passage is striking; Words such as silhouette, stalked, and tensed all contribute to the ominous tone. At the start of the novel, it is apparent via their interaction and the tone that their relationship is beginning to lose strength. An important detail to note is the backward behavior Julia exhibits; one moment Julia is angry, yet the next she feels remorse.

As the novel progresses and Jack and Julia begin to fade farther away from one another, Crichton uses powerful symbolism in order to warn the reader against replication of the protagonists’ behavior. Julia’s body has become invaded by the nano-particles. The more ill she becomes the farther she drifts from Jack. The particles now make up 90% of her body, and, in the climax of the novel, Jack is able to see his wife one last time. They are in what is described as a giant MRI, an enormous magnetic field. Because Julia is made of particles, the resonance machine will pull her apart, revealing the shell of a wife that Jack once knew.

“‘Jack. Please. Let’s put emotion aside and be logical for a moment. You’re doing this to yourself. Why can’t you accept the new situation?’...She held her hand out to me. I took it and she pulled me up. She was strong. Stronger than I ever remembered her being. ‘You’re an integral part of this...we are a new synergy with human beings’”.

“‘The synergy you have now?’”

“‘That’s right Jack’. She smiled. It was a creepy smile.”

“‘You are what? Coexisting?’”

“‘Symbiotic’ she was still smiling”

“I kicked the plate with my knee...the magnet pulsed.”

“Her mouth was open as she screamed...the skin of her face began to shiver...and then in a sudden rush Julia literally disintegrated before my eyes.”

“‘Jack,’ she whispered. ‘It’s eating me’”.

“I looked at her. Her eyes were sad, pleading.”

“Her bony hand touched my cheek. She whispered, ‘You know I always loved you, Jack. I would never hurt you’”.

“And then suddenly, in a whoosh, all the particles returned, and she pushed me away...” (338-339).

Perhaps the most moving part of the entire novel, the example provided is by far Crichton’s biggest use of symbolism and imagery in order to get his point across. The particles that surround Julia and make up who she has become represent the poison in their relationship. By no longer being close, Jack and Julia have allowed a toxin to push them apart. Crichton’s focus on the topic of successful relationships, perhaps due to personal experience, has been narrowed in order to communicate his vision. A doctor during his life, Crichton must have found balancing relationships to be a tricky task. By using the particles and connecting them to a roadblock in the way of understanding one another, he has skillfully created a scenario that will live in the back of the reader’s mind.

Crichton’s vivid imagery also allows the reader to feel the emotion. His use of the bony hand and the shell of a human being really get his idea across; it’s not enough to tend to your relationships unevenly. If work and home are not balanced, the person one becomes on the outside no longer matches who one truly is and ultimately strives to be.

(I.B. 2009)


Technology: Its Importance and Place in Society in Timeline

[(Essay dated 15 June 2009) In the following essay, IB analyzes Michael Crichton’s position with regard to technology. It has become apparent that technological advances are inevitable; most agree that the advances to come will benefit society as long as technology does not over step its boundaries, as exhibited through examples and support in Timeline.]

“It has become appallingly apparent that our technology has exceeded our humanity”. Such a quote today does not seem out of place, but this is a quote from Albert Einstein. Einstein, it seems, was able to see the future through the static and noise of the world around him; technology certainly has its place, but how much is too much? Does it need to be controlled? Crichton weighs in on the issue in Timeline, providing ideas for the reader to chew on while incorporating his point of view.

Timeline tells the story of a research team in France. The research team’s goal has been to recreate the scene of Castlegard, a fourteenth century European metropolis of sorts. The team, made of up archeologists, excavators, and document analysts, strive to make their model as accurate as possible. Meanwhile, back in New Mexico, a technological firm known as ITC has been testing it’s time travel module. As the novel progresses, members of the research team in France end up traveling to fourteenth century Castlegard. All is well and good until the technology fails and, for the time being, the team is stuck in the past. Crichton uses several instances of technological glitches to illustrate not only its power but the need for regulation as the world moves into the future.

The first example Crichton uses to get his point across occurs in the first scene. Joseph Traub is an employee at ITC, and he attempts to use the time travel module to escape his life at present. His efforts fail, and he ends up in the middle of the desert.

“Baker pulled over...As the dust cleared he could see a man laying at the side of the road...His skin was pale...”

“Something white caught (Baker’s) eye, glinting in the sunlight a few feet down the slope. It was a piece of white ceramic. He saw the letters ITC.”

“(Back in the car his wife said), ‘You see his hands?’”

“The old guy’s fingers were red to the second knuckle....just on the tips” (5-7).

The time travel module had malfunctioned, resulting in a partial transportation; parts of Traub’s body had failed to transport. The depiction of Traub’s fingers as red to the second knuckle serves to provide a visual of what technology is capable of doing. By having the reader visualize a victim of technology, Crichton is able to get his message across.

Subsequent to this scene is a scene back at ITC headquarters. Donniger, CEO of ITC, becomes furious at the news that Traub’s story has been leaked to the news. Crichton uses the following scene to demonstrate the perilous nature of risky technology and its affect on society as a whole.

“‘Where did they find Traub’s body,’ Donniger asked”.

“‘In the desert. On the Navajo reservation’”.

“‘Where, exactly?’”

“‘Ten miles north...’”.

“Have someone from security drive a car up there, puncture a tire, and drive away...I want you to fix it Diane...because this company now faces three significant problems, and Traub is the least of them...” (21-23).

Crichton uses Donniger’s preoccupation with the media and its coverage of Traub’s story in order to convey a real life example to the reader. The specific details of the text are important. Crichton’s use of colloquial speech with respect to Donniger brings the CEO down to a more personal level. More readers can relate to a human being with humility than to one who is self-righteous. Donniger’s angst over the media furthers Crichton’s point; the technology generated is great in and of itself; what is not clicking, however, is the lack of regulation in the market. Regulation of an industry like time travel seems like an obvious circumstance, but Crichton’s use of an exaggerated situation serves to remind the reader that anything is possible.

Crichton, a man of science and medicine, absolutely had a place for technology in his schema of life. As ascertained by the aforementioned text, Crichton welcomed tempered advancement as long as it was controlled. Overstepping the boundaries resulted in negative outcomes for society, and Crichton’s message in Timeline is to avoid that scenario at all costs. It is true that too much of a good thing can be worse than nothing at all.

(I.B. 2009)



Humans as the Natural World Elites- Delusions and Dangers in Congo
(Essay dated 8 June 2010) In the following essay, K.P. analyzes the pervading theme of human intellectual elitism and delusion, as well as its inherent consequences, in Congo, by Michael Crichton.Also analyzed is Crichton’s warning to the possessors of the aforementioned bias which he clarifies through a climactic downfall resulting from the form of ignorance.

What, exactly, constitutes intelligence? It’s a question that has baffled psychologists and other professionals since the dawn of its recognition as a varying trait, and one Michael Crichton attempted to address in his novel, Congo.All too often, society restricts the label of “intelligence” to use for only human beings, as though other animals cannot possibly be sentient.In reality, scientists have documented animals capable of conceiving, building, and using tools and weapons, mathematics, utilizing memory, and using language in meaningful ways, even sarcasm.In Iowa, chimpanzees outperformed human college students in tasks of memory and basic mathematics.Clearly, the term “intelligence” cannot be solely of human possession, although the pervading attitude staunchly declares that it is.This attitude can lead to ignorance which is always incorrect and sometimes dangerous.This is evident in Crichton’s Congo, particularly in the human characters who are incredulous to witness a species of ape intelligent enough to build bridges, wield makeshift swords, and develop their own verbal and gestural language.Repeatedly, the plotline is advanced through the characters’ underestimate of the intelligence of the apes, simply because they are nonhuman.Only once they recognize their foes for the equals that they are is the conflict resolved.

Peter, one of the novel’s main protagonists, is the character most able to perceive the abilities of apes, being a primatologist.Paradoxically, he also has the most difficulty acknowledging that the apes are, for all intents and purposes, even more dangerous than human opponents.Often, Peter utters statements such as, “But gorillas…are shy animals that sleep at night and avoid contact with men” (Crichton 320).In doing so, he responded to the undeniable evidence of a gorilla attack including foot and handprints, fur, and even photo and video data illogically and unreasonably. When he witnesses ape behavior at odds with what he knows about primates, Peter is frequently unable to recognize and respond to the situation.His belief that only Homo sapiens could constitute the term “intelligent” is so heavily imbued within him that he is prevented from revising the belief, even when his belief is disproven completely by empirical evidence.His reasoning and logic are tainted.

The phenomenon of restricting the label of intelligence to only humans is not, in Congo, limited to professionals.The casual healer in Nairobi exclaims with wonder, “…he understands English?” (165) when confronted by Amy, a mountain gorilla, who humorously satirizes him in sign language and, after direction in English as a demonstration, shows the man the door.While the healer can hardly be blamed for his ignorance, it is a testament to the wide-ranging effects of an absurd bias.In the tense exchanges, an opportunity for a peaceful interspecies relationship had been ended, and had Peter not intervened, the healer’s ignorance may have cost him life and/or limb.

Several times, the actions of the ERTS team depict an inability to make this revision.Prior to another attack on their camp, the team digs a shallow trench around their space, reasoning that since gorillas fear water, they will not cross over it.It is a move of extreme folly.The violation of the often-quoted adage, “Insanity is repeating an action and expecting a different result” and the apparent lack of logic the team of brilliant scientists and strategists displays is profound.A reader is left wondering how a team of such knowledgeable people could continue, after the first attack on the camp, to consider the gorillas as underdeveloped brutes whose behavior would be consistent with that of other known gorilla species.The answer is made clear by Peter’s statement.He admits, “I couldn’t accept it” (324).The bias imbued in the human societal superiority complex allows otherwise brilliant and rational people to abandon logical cognition.It is obvious that the team is too shortsighted to reconsider the broadly-accepted notion that humans are the only species with problem-solving and cognitive reasoning skills.

This shortsightedness results in harm, as expected.The gorillas quickly work together to bridge the trench, just as human attackers would, and move over the makeshift bridge to attack the team once more.Clearly, the bias against animal cognition is a dangerous complacency.Dead men litter the campsite of the protagonists, side-by-side with dead animals of a new and possibly beneficial species.Supplies, ammunition, food, and other resources dwindle in attempts to reconcile beliefs that the gorillas are stupid rather than attempts to reassess previous information and to come to a new understanding.Only in the climax of the book does the author, Crichton, demonstrate the proper resolution.The team is saved when Peter begins to view the gorillas as animals far closer to humans in cognitive ability than he originally perceived, and is rewarded with an end to the interspecies tensions.This plot resolution clearly depicts the danger of the aforementioned shortsightedness, but also the inverse’s rewards as a far more appropriate and accurate mindset.

Finally, however, it is notable that not only does the ignorance of animals’ intellectual equality with humans pose an immediate danger to the deluded humans and its inverse a peaceful reward, but it is this human elitism which leads to the greatest loss at the conclusion of the novel.In greed, and in a focus on superiority of race, Ross loses the cache she fought so hard to acquire.Had an acceptance of animals’ equal status with humans been attained, perhaps Ross’s perceived superiority over the natural world could have been quashed, and her goals would have been achieved as well as the bias held by the rest of the world vanquished through the scientific recognition of the intelligent gorilla species.Alas, in the novel Congo, the pervading theme of human bias and the elitist belief that humans are irreconcilably different from other animal species leads to delusions and downfall through its inherent inaccuracy and dangerous assumptions.

K.P. 2010

Greed and Ignorance Can Destroy Even the Safest System
[(Essay dated 9 June 2010) In this essay B.S. describes how personal greed and ignorance led to the accident on Isla Nublar in the Michael Crichton novel, Jurassic Park. The actions of very few led to a catastrophic ending for many, as well as putting an end to a technological marvel.]

“ ‘ As for them all being female,’ Malcolm asked, ‘is that checked? Does anyone go out and, ah, lift up the dinosaur’s skirts to have a look?’”(109).

The novel Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton recounts the tale of a catastrophic meltdown and an amusement park located on an island one hundred miles off the coast of Costa Rica. The park’s main attractions are bioengineered living dinosaurs, back from extinction. The CEO of the InGen Corporation, the company behind the park, was John Hammond, an eccentric old man who dreams of the future success of his creation. He wants to open the park, but in order to keep his investors content he invites a group of scientists and a lawyer down for a weekend so they can weigh in their own opinions. What is to happen that weekend will lead to the deaths of innocent, if not greedy and ignorant people, and the collapse of InGen Corporation.

When the scientists and lawyer arrive at the island and find out about the dinosaurs they have their doubts, especially the sarcastic chaos theory mathematician Ian Malcolm. Malcolm keeps a running theme going that the system will fail and that the whole park is a bad idea. The chief geneticist, Henry Wu is assured that the dinosaurs he created are safe and cannot escape and live off the island, which is what Malcolm insists is happening. Wu states that the dinosaurs are all genetically engineered to be female, and that they cannot live without an enzyme fed to them by the park, ruling out that they can breed or live off of the island. His ignorance to the facts will lead to the dinosaurs successfully breeding in the park, but he did not do it alone. The head of engineering, John Arnold, also helped by believing right up to the point he was proven wrong that his safety and tracking systems were foolproof. He only set the computers to track for the number of dinosaurs he expected, and never did he ever think to search for more. The ignorance of these two men were the cause of the dinosaurs in the park breeding without being noticed as well as some of the smaller species escaping, but they were not the biggest issue at Jurassic Park.

‘Hell no Mr. Dodgson,’ the man said. ‘I want to see the damn money.’
Dodgson flipped the latch on the briefcase and opened it a few inches. The man glanced down casually. ‘That’s all of it?’
‘That’s half of it. Seven hundred fifty thousand dollars.’
‘Okay. Fine.’ The man turned away, drank his coffee. ‘That’s fine Dr. Dodgson’”(70).

Dennis Nedry, the head programmer of Jurassic Park’s computer system was most certainly disgruntled and angered with John Hammond for pushing him so hard in his eyes. When approached by Lewis Dodgson of BioSyn Corporation of Cupertino, California, he immediately agreed to his terms, swindled into a deal by his anger at Hammond and InGen, but mostly by the 1.5 million dollars offered to him. His job was to steal embryos of all fifteen species of dinosaur at Jurassic Park and get them to a boat that would be waiting at the island. Spurred by greed, Nedry sets up a plan to get the embryos out of the high security laboratory. His plan is to shut down the security systems in the control center as well as in the park, so he can steal the embryos, sneak out to the boat, and get back unnoticed within 15 minutes. What he doesn’t see in his greedy eyes is that he will be shutting down all the fences in the park while a tour with all the scientists as well as John Hammond’s grandchildren is running. In his rush to the dock he gets lost, and when he leaves his Jeep for only moments, he is attacked and killed by a Dilophosaurus, leaving no one that knows how to break his code and turn the systems back on. Nedry turning the system off would lead to the disastrous events that would kill the park’s head of public relations, Ed Regis, Ian Malcolm, John Arnold, as well as many others. When the fences get turned off a Tyrannosaurus Rex attacks the guests on the tour, scattering them in the park and fatally wounding Malcolm. It also lets the captive Velociraptors out that will attack and kill as well. With all the dinosaurs loose and out of control, and even after everything is almost under control, the Island is eventually bombed to put an end to the danger of the dinosaurs in the park after evacuations of the survivors are complete.

The ignorance of Wu, Arnold, and Hammond, as well as the blind greed of Dennis Nedry led to both multiple deaths, including those of Hammond and of Malcolm, and the collapse of InGen Corporation. No matter ho safe Jurassic Park was thought to be, it only took the greed of very few to destroy a possible empire.

B.S. 2010




When Greed is in the Equation, No One is Safe
[(Essay dated 10 June 2010) In this essay B.S. takes a look into how the greed of Lewis Dodgson of BioSyn Corporation and his partners bring danger and distress to an otherwise peaceful science expedition on Isla Sorna in The Lost World, by Michael Crichton.]

"It's already extinct. So if it exists, it can only be something we have made. We made it, we patent it, we own it"(96).

In The Lost World, by Michael Crichton, a very peaceful observation mission is put in serious danger leading to multiple deaths by the greed of Lewis Dodgson and the BioSyn Corporation of Cupertino, California. The simple, yet very secure observation mission that eventually met up on the island was peaceful, intending to leave no trace. Dodgson, and the two men with him, George Baselton and Howard King, intend to steal eggs from the dinosaurs for BioSyn, and a very large profit. Their greed and plan of action will lead to the deaths of their team, as well as the death of Eddie Carr, an innocent man on the observation mission.

The observation mission includes the scientists Richard Levine, Ian Malcolm (who survived his experiences on Isla Nublar from the original book in the series, Jurassic Park), African predator expert Sarah Harding, former college professor turned mechanic Jack Thorne, his assistant Eddie Carr, and two children who sneak onto the expedition with them. After everybody meets up on the island after some troubles, including Sarah being thrown off a ship by none other than the evil Lewis Dodgson, they begin to peacefully observe the dinosaurs in the wild, as well as the island itself. The peace that existed was soon to be disturbed by the greedy BioSyn team.

"Sarah said, 'He should be trying to put his sound machine together again. Are they really just going to stand there?'
'Yes,' Malcolm said.
'Why?'
'They are misinformed,' Malcolm said'"(239).

Driven by the chance of making large sums of money, and after a preliminary failed attempt to attain living dinosaurs, Lewis Dodgson takes two other men on an expedition to an island full of bioengineered dinosaurs in order to make a profit. His plan is to scare the creatures off with high pitch sounds. What he fails to see is the danger he will be putting his team in. At first he believes he will be successful, but is very wrong. Not thinking his plan through fully there is a hitch when he tries to steal eggs from the Tyrannosaurus Rex nest, his machine stops working, and they are attacked. Baselton is killed because he stands still thinking he can't be seen by the dinosaur, and the live baby rex breaks its leg. After crashing when attempting to escape, King and Dodgson are separated, both fated to die due to bad planning and inadequate safety parameters. Their greedy rush led to their own deaths, as well as the death of an innocent.

The observation team finds the baby t-rex whose leg was broken by Dodgson and team and takes him in to fix his leg. This action will lead the adult rexes to wreak havoc on the innocents, yet kill no one. It will however find Dodgson and take him back to its baby, whose leg is fixed, where he will be killed. With their safety compromised, the team is forced into hiding, where the very same Velociraptors that killed Howard King as he tried to escape will also kill Eddie Carr and capture one of the children. Even though they will all survive, the troubles they are forced to go through are all a result of the disturbances caused by the men from BioSyn.

Ultimately, the greed of BioSyn led to the destruction of a peaceful expedition, as well as the deaths of their own team and even of an innocent man. This just illustrates how both corporate and personal greediness lead to nothing good, and will ultimately make those who are greedy meet their own demise.

B.S. 2010


Objectivity's Failure- Humanity's Inability to Rise to the Level of their Creations
(Essay dated 10 June 2010) In the following essay, K.P. dissects a scene from Michael Crichton’s Prey beginning on page 283. Analyzed are the forces of human emotion in spite of the will to live, and the development of complicated characters contrasting with the logical technological forces.

In Michael Crichton’s Prey, stunning statements are made regarding the human will to survive in even the most dangerous and hopeless situations. A concept often studied, the human will to live has been scientifically shown to be one of, if not the most powerful instinct among the human race. However, it is Crichton’s single deviation from this theme which appears starkly in an opposing backdrop. As the plot climb of the story becomes clear, Rosie, a main character and a symbol of strength through adversity and raw desperation, defies the model of unconditional human instinct and thrusts herself into certain death in order to aid the hopeless case of a dying coworker and (as left to reader speculation) possibly lover. Rosie’s abandonment of her excellent chance of living through her first encounter with the predatory swarm and her rush to dying David’s side opposes every other plot element in Crichton’s story. However, it shows that Crichton is unwilling to abandon human emotion as a viable force, and is instrumental in creating dynamic characters in a genre of literature which historically focuses more on plotlines than realistic characters.

In the aforementioned event, a team of archetypical scientists including the protagonist- Jack, Rosie- a masculine, capable, and objective woman, Charley- the comic relief, Mae- the love interest and voice of reason, and David- the timid but brilliant intellectual. The group becomes trapped in a storage shed by the predatory swarm of nanoparticles and attempts to “flock”, and to exploit a weakness in the programming (the swarm is programmed not to attack groups of the titular prey). However, just when success seems certain, David crumbles emotionally, breaks from the ranks of the makeshift flock, and runs for the door, instantly being attacked by the particles which begin to suffocate him.

Crichton’s statement in the scene is clear. Despite all of the technological figuring, programming, and logic, human emotion is an equally important force in interactions. Jack’s plan was a highly probable success based in reason and nearly foolproof had the swarm been up against a group of humans personalized to be just as mechanical as the swarm was. However, Crichton shows that humanity cannot be rationalized and cannot be categorized in black-and-white as the technology humanity creates can. The contrast is stark. However, Crichton goes further in the relatively short scene.

Rosie, overcome while watching the swarm consume David, rushes to his side, although she is demonstrated to fully understand that leaving the “flock” means certain death for her as well. Crichton contrasts her brusque and tough personality with her tender care for David and her irrational rush to attempt to save him, although she knows it is futile. In doing so, Crichton shows that the façade of objectivity and intellect humans perpetuate can be torn down quickly in moments of stress (as Rosie’s is), and that the true nature of humanity cannot be truly hidden. Unlike the technology which the team created, the team is not programmed logically, and is subject to emotionally-based action and emotion. The implication is that human emotion can overpower any logical plan of a program, and this implication is confirmed through the remainder of the novel.

Crichton’s juxtaposing scene is a new take on the classic “love conquers all” theme. His genre and background superimpose a commentary on humanity upon the original subject. Rather than the stereotypical “love conquers all”, Crichton depicts what could aptly be called, “subjectivity conquers humanity” by implying that humans create their superiors through technology in that man’s creations are capable of objectivity while humans at the most basic level are not.

To conclude, the force of human emotion, often unaddressed by science fiction novelists, is thoroughly investigated in Michael Crichton’s Prey, particularly in the scene describing David and Rosie’s deaths resulting from their own emotion rather than programmed predation. In the process, Crichton creates characters more dynamic but more sporadic than the technology they themselves create.

K.P. 2010

The Role of Greed in Pirate Latitudes


The novel Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton explores how important the role of Greed is in perspective of a pirate in the 1800’s. Crichton uses many instances where treasure and becoming rich is more important than anything. This greed is commonly shared throughout everyone in the town of Port Royal in the New World of Jamaica. Although piracy and plundering are acts condemned by hanging, such acts are still committed through secrecy due to human greed. The acts are carried out by Charles Hunter, a clever and resourceful pirate captain who only cares about money and fame. On this expedition to raid a Spanish fortress called Matanceros, perils no man could ever dream of are faced, justified by the challenge of capturing the Spanish treasure located on a ship called the Galleon.
Piracy being outlawed in the New World made it difficult for pirates to actually leave Port Royal. In doing so, loopholes were found in order to justify these pirates by calling their actions “privateering raids.” The Governor of the colony, James Almont allows these privateers to act on his own greed for wealth. He told Captain Hunter before his leave, “One thing is certain; the continued support of privateers will be assured if it pays the king handsomely.” (40) By this statement, the governor told Hunter his expedition would only be allowed if it payed him and the King of England extremely well. This act is a strong example of greed and how the enforcers of the law allow such acts by taking an equal share of the loot for themselves. The greed in the colony shows why few are ever tried for piracy because all expeditions are approved by the governor who takes a large share of the treasures and keeps it as a secret. The secret is kept by giving papers of marque to the captains. In this case, Captain Hunter was drawn up a paper of marque stating he was on a logwood cutting expedition.
The same greed of Captain Hunters is shared with his 70 crew members he brings along to attack the island of Matanceros. “One crew member stood. ‘Captain, are you taking us to Matanceros? It is dangerous.’ ‘Indeed it is,’ Hunter said, ‘but the booty is great. Any man who sees the danger over-much will be put ashore here in this bay, and none the worse is my estimation. But he must go before I tell you the treasure that is there.’ He waited. No one moved or spoke.” (85) The crew knew the danger was great, because Matanceros has never been captured, the last time it was, a crew of 300 attacked it and all died. Here, only 70 are going, but all saw the amount of booty was greater than their lives. The greed for wealth outweighed everyone’s lives in the crew’s minds. None of the crew thought the journey too perilous because they all believed in Captain Hunter and knew the rewards would outweigh the risks. These pirates lived as scum in Port Royal, and with this treasure, their lives would be enhanced. This greed for money was important to many, so the crew deemed it worth the risk. Even after the Captain’s speech, Hunter “saw the glint in their eyes, fed by visions of gold.” (86) It was evident that gold and riches is what the crew wanted and would follow their captain to get it no matter the risks. Everyone saw it clearly that this would be the raid of a lifetime and also wanted a part of it.
In revenge for what had happened at Matanceros, the pirates were followed from their raid by the Spanish soldiers who they attacked. Even being chased, and about to be killed, Captain Hunter still shows his greediness in the face of death. “‘Not easy to outrun a ship,’ Hunter said. ‘Or a storm,’ Enders said. ‘You thinking of cutting the sloop?’ The ten men aboard the Cassandra would help the larger ship…but El Trinidad would be sorely undermanned. Furthermore the sloop was valuable in itself…he could auction the Spanish Galleon to the merchants and captains of Port Royal and get a considerable sum, or be included in the king’s tenth.” (168) Even with many Spanish soldiers sailing to kill his crew, and being in desperate need of more crew members on his ship, Hunter kept his small craft. He kept it for the fact that if he made it out of the mess he was in, the large ship can be sold at auction or included in the king’s cut in the treasure. No matter what, Hunter was always thinking of ways where he could make and save money so there would always be more for him. Hunter made it evident that he put money over the safety of his own crew even when more men were desperately needed in order to get away from a Spanish warship and an incoming hurricane. In his own mind, the thought of having more money was more substantial than his own safety and that of the others.
The greed shared between the crew and their captain is a character flaw Crichton depicts through the novel. Ultimately, the greed gets them into so much trouble that many innocent men had perished due to fighting between soldiers, sea monsters, and each other. Crichton used greed between the pirates to complete a riveting novel of betrayal and adventure. Crichton used the aspect of greed between pirates to show the realistic sides of them exposing how pirates are such scoundrels and have no respect for one another. He depicts their characteristic for the love of money and wealth.

T.D. 2010

Hurtful fabrications of journalism

The novel Airframe by Michael Crichton coveys the consequences of investigative journalism, that journalists distort the truth to get a better story and hurt whoever they are investigating. Crichton throughout the novel depicts how low these journalists will go to get a story. Throughout, it is evident that journalists do not care about the truth, they care about how interesting their story is and the results they can get. A snobby young reporter named Jennifer Malone heads this media scandal to defame Norton Aircrafts of the N-22 airplane for being a death trap. As the story progresses, Crichton illuminates the reality of the news and the journalists who report on it. Although some are well intentioned, some will do what they have to do to get on top and not see who they are stepping on to get there.
As a reporter Jennifer Malone believed, “The best frames engaged the viewer by presenting the story as conflict between good and bad, a morality story. Because the audience got that. If you framed a story that way, you got instant acceptance. You were speaking their language.” (174) Jennifer was a new generation reporter at the age of 29. She thought nothing on reporting the facts and what happened in the story. She focused on contorting the information into a way that reflected her views on how to make a story appealing. Her views were cynical and did not reflect on the news. She changed the news from telling what went on in the world to a show which was drama filled that just captured audience members’ attentions. Therefore for what Jennifer reported on were fabrications of the truth which can seriously damage people and companies if they are not accurately portrayed.
Furthermore than the reporter goes is the editor. The editor is even more corrupt than the journalist. The editor forces the journalist to come up with these fabricated truths. Before Jennifer could do anything with her story, “She must sell the segment to Dick Shenk. She had to come up with an angle that would appeal to Shenk that would fit his view of the world. That was no easy matter: Shenk was more sophisticated than the audience. More difficult to please.” (175) Dick Shenk was the editor of Newsline, which is the show Jennifer worked for. Crichton uses the reality of how news segments would get on the air, they had to pass through the editor and seem appealing to him. He shows not only is fabricating the truth to something the audience can relate to is not only the reporters fault; it is also what the editor wants. Editor and reporters know their success is based on their audience. They know only compelling stories will capture attention, so it’s almost as if journalists are forced to fudge the truth to increase ratings. Crichton goes through a great amount of detail to show the perspectives of real life journalism and the shallowness these people have of only caring about themselves and what they want.
Fabricating the truth can hurt companies badly. Especially for Norton which is a builder of commercial airlines. Defaming this company would cause no one to ride on these planes depleting sales to almost nothing for the company. Example of this press fabrication is, “‘Newsline is going to run a story on the N-22 on prime time television and it is going to be highly unfavorable.’ ‘How unfavorable?’ ‘They’re calling the N-22 a deathtrap.’… ‘We feel Newsline is being crudely sensationalistic. We regard their story as uninformed, and prejudicial to our product. We believe they are deliberately and recklessly defaming us.’… ‘I think Newsline’s information is inaccurate and biased.’” (235) John Marder – (Chief Operating Officer) is having a conversation with Fuller, the Head of Norton Legal. Marder clearly states to Fuller the inaccuracy of the media and how they can ruin the company. Marder even recognizes how the company is being set up and the news is defaming them through false allegations that were made clear after his interview. Calling one of their planes a death trap was a sure fire way to decrease reliability in the craft and causing a mass panic for everyone who already had purchased tickets and anyone who would think of purchasing tickets for a flight on a N-22 in the future. This fiasco would lead to bad business sales and drops in numbers across the board in places such as revenue and stocks. The Norton Company would never salvage itself and go out of business. The effects of the airing of the newsreel is evident on the events that would occur prior to its release, which like Marder stated, would absolutely defame the company. Crichton depicts one of the central themes of the novel here by evoking how the consequences of media agencies distorting the truth for better sounding stories.
In conclusion, the theme of fabrications of the truth from media agencies can have consequential effects on those who the stories are about. Throughout the novel, Crichton uses many examples of stubbornness shown by the news reporters and showed evidence of how nervous the employees of Norton were if the newsreel came that would bash the N-22. Crichton used realistic circumstances to illustrate a suspenseful thriller which carried many twists to what the final outcome would be. Airframe brings to light how low journalists can be and show the effects of what they report can have on the general public and the specific person or people the report is about.
T.D. 2010

The Inner Workings of Psychology in "Sphere"
[ (Essay Date: 6/8/11) In the following essay, JC analyzes the subconscious effect of the mind on the dynamics of a group in high tense situations. Crichton also provides commentary on the significance of the imagination as the key component of superiority in intelligent life.]

"Sphere" begins as a science fiction novel, like most others by Michael Crichton due to his experience at Harvard medical school, but quickly develops into a psychological thriller by exploring the nature of the human imagination. This novel explores the psychology of individuals in high tense situations. The UFL group consists of people of all different personality types and fields of study. Since Norman is the narrator and main character, the story focuses around his field of study, psychology. As the group evolves, consisting of less and less people, "Sphere" illustrates the effect of the subconscious on the mind and on the dynamics of a group in high tense situations and conditions along with providing commentary on the significance of the human imagination on a wider scope of psychology.
Each members' interpretation of the sphere reflects their personalities. Ted, the natural optimist of the group, interprets the meaning of the sphere as "a greeting, a message, or a trophy." Ted hoped all along that the spacecraft they were investigating was of alien origin out of both optimism and ambition of being recognized as being a part of a significant event in human history. His imagination is consistent with his personality, since he is so hopeful that the sphere is a peaceful message or greeting from another civilization. He chooses to believe that the alien civilization that the sphere originated from is peaceful and welcoming, stemming from his eternal optimism but he hopes it's extraterrestrial out of ambition. Harry mocks Ted by approaching the issue with what they already know "as opposed to what we imagine in a flight of fancy." Harry reviews the situation in an utterly logical fashion, reflecting his mind's mathematical process, and comes to the most logical conclusion he could come to, that the sphere was brought aboard by the probing devices on the ship, such as the large claw that the sphere rests in. Harry, a mathematician who has a strictly logical approach towards problems, and Ted, an astrophysicist who has an optimistic and imaginative approach to problems work perfectly together within the group despite their incessant arguing. Not only do these two explain the connection between imagination and personality but also describe the dynamics of groups. Although they are constantly at odds, the different backgrounds of all the group members allow the group to consider all possibilities while balancing each other out and keeping the groups assumptions centered and accurate.
However, this novel doesn't consist only of this single psychological dynamic of a group but of many other dynamics of human psychology. These include the human reactions to intense and high pressure situations due to specific circumstances and conditions. For example, not only are these group members being attacked by their own manifestations of their imaginations, but they are dealing with such attacks in a claustrophobic habitat which is located one thousand feet underwater under turbulent and hostile conditions with fragile life support systems, making staying in the habitat alone dangerous. Despite extreme and strenuous circumstances, nobody aboard the habitat cracks under the psychological pressure until the group falls to only three members. Norman's narration explains that groups consisting of only three people, the smallest group possible, are vulnerable to hostility since "the group tended to form shifting allegiances, two against one."
Throughout the novel, Norman psychoanalyzed each of the members in case any of them were cracking under the psychological pressure. Norman searched for manic or hysterical behavior, common psychological conditions following a traumatic event. Norman especially psychoanalyzed Beth and Harry when they were the only remaining survivors in the habitat, due to the turbulent dynamics of their group. When it becomes apparent that Beth is the one psychologically deteriorating , her erratic behavior derives from her unconscious mind taking over as her conscious mind deteriorates under the pressure. The takeover of her conscious mind by what is referred to as "the shadow," which is the dark side of the subconscious consisting of fears caused by memories of traumatic events or other personal experiences. Certain personality traits reflect the shadow within their unconscious mind. In Beth's case, her shadow consisted of her fear of being controlled by men which developed into a fear of being controlled in general. This fear is ushered in as her subconscious mind, or her "shadow," takes over and becomes the driving force of her actions and the logic she uses. After all the Navy personnel die, Beth is the first to learn how to operate all of the life support systems and consoles due to her obsession for control. She uses this control against Norman when she begins to psychologically deteriorate, at one point stating "you goddamned men" and "you'll never get near me." However, it is through this psychoanalysis that "Sphere" illustrates the connection between certain personality traits and the unconscious mind.
The group members' interpretations and estimated origins of the sphere along with the sphere itself, which can only be opened by imagining it doing so, explores the fact that the imagination is the single component which makes intelligent life forms, such as humans, truly intelligent. When Norman enters the sphere, his own subconscious compares the human to the bear, referencing such similarities as "it has a brain as large as yours" yet his subconscience insists that there is a very important difference between the two life forms, the power to imagine. His subconscience cites the imagination as the special ability that "made your species as great as it is," the only difference between man and animal. Norman's subconscience assures him that their is not "the power of good and the power of evil, the angel and the devil" but only the ability to imagine. Imagination is the ability to foresee, which allows the human civilization to flourish and advance further in every field of study, yet the imagination also has destructive tendencies since traumatic events and other bad experiences haunt the mind in the form of recurring nightmares or psychological disorders.
Michael Crichton conveys the destructive tendencies of the subconscious mind and imagination, while underscoring the importance of these two human psychological aspects as vital and key to the superiority of humans in the intellectual sense. The interest of this book derives from the illustration of how these advantageous human components, which compose our superiority to other life forms on earth, can work against individuals and groups in a negative and destructive way under high tense and stressful circumstances.

The Dangers of Greed as Found in Jurassic Park
[(Essay dated 8 June, 2014) In the following essay, C.L. analyzes the most diabolical characters of Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park, particularly InGen CEO John Hammond, and how they contribute to Crichton’s criticism of greed, particularly in those who have the ability to help mankind.]

From the capitalistic Gordon Gekko of Wall Street to the miserly Mr. Potter of It’s a Wonderful Life, greed has for ages been a characteristic for villains and antiheroes alike. Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park also utilizes this trait. Crichton’s novel describes the disaster at the eponymous park on the remote Costa Rica island of Isla Nublar, which contains genetically recreated dinosaurs from the Mesozoic Era (in other words, the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous Periods). Though seemingly developed for amusement and scientific research, it is in reality designed almost entirely to bring profit for the InGen Corporation (and its CEO John Hammond), the park’s developer. In addition, it is greed which causes the park’s ultimate destruction, as the intentional sabotage of the park’s security system by its chief programmer, Dennis Nedry, not only reveals the numerous failures in the park’s design, but also results in the deaths of numerous innocent, albeit in some cases somewhat ignorant, people.
One of the more obvious instances of the greed which brings down Jurassic Park can be found in the park’s chief computer programmer, Dennis Nedry. Nedry, for instance, is quite repulsive physically, and is described as “fat and sloppy” (Crichton 78) and “a fat college kid who had something to do with computers” (95). Much like King Richard in Shakespeare’s Richard III, this grotesque outer shell reflects the corruption and festering avarice inside. While developing the system which more or less controls the entire park, Nedry inserted a “classic trap door” (175) which granted him access to any room in the park. Though he states that this “bug” is “partly common sense … and partly a signature” (175), he was also incited to program the trap door as a means of retaliating against InGen, which had “demanded extensive modifications to the [park’s] system but hadn’t been willing to pay for them, arguing that they should be included under the original contract” (176). Nedry’s anger at InGen’s refusal to compensate him, as well as the subsequent lawsuits the company threatened when he refused to comply, pushed him to accept the offer of Lewis Dodgson, CEO of Biosyn (a rival bioengineering company), which in turn resulted in Nedry disabling the security system (as well as the fences containing the dinosaurs) and stealing dinosaur embryos for Biosyn. Nedry’s greed-fueled sabotage serves as the point-of-no-return for Jurassic Park, and though Nedry himself is killed by a Dilophosaurus (which serves as Crichton’s means of forecasting the end result of such greediness), the rampage and other deaths which subsequently ensue due to his twisted desire for vengeance against InGen, as well as his covetous desire for money, leaves him with a fair amount of blood on his hands.
However, the most damning example of greed in Jurassic Park is also the most insidious. In contrast to Nedry, whose gross exterior relates to the evil inside, InGen CEO John Hammond is the exact opposite. Portrayed as a warm and grandfatherly figure, the “childlike quality” (60) which Hammond possesses conveys innocence and kindness. However, this is in reality all a façade to a cold, callous, and avaricious monster. Early in the novel, in a conversation with lawyer Donald Gennaro (who was sent by InGen’s investors to inspect the park), Hammond states
“We can never forget the ultimate object to the project in Costa Rica—to make money … Lots and lots of money … And the secret to making money in a park … is to limit your personnel costs … That was why we invested in all the computer technology—we automated wherever we could.” (62)
Despite Gennaro’s worries over accidents in which several workmen were killed, Hammond shrugs him off, stating that “everything on that island is perfectly fine” (63). Not once does Hammond consider the flaws which this automated system might contain, and it is this cavalier attitude which dooms Jurassic Park. Furthermore, InGen’s (and by extension, Hammond’s) callous attitude toward Nedry, combined with the lawsuits and blackmail they threatened him with, was what impelled the programmer to sabotage the park’s security systems and cause the entire disaster on Isla Nublar in the first place.
The long list of examples of Hammond’s greed does not stop there, however. Hammond’s greed is quite completely surmised when he explains his motivations to Henry Wu, the park’s chief researcher:
“If you were going to start a bioengineering company, Henry, what would you do? Would you make products to help mankind, to fight illness and disease? Dear me, no. That’s a terrible idea. A very poor use of new technology.”
Hammond shook his head sadly. “Yet, you’ll remember,” he said, “the original genetic engineering companies … were all started to make pharmaceuticals. New drugs for mankind. Noble, noble purpose. Unfortunately, all drugs face barriers. FDA testing alone takes five to eight years—if you’re lucky. Even worse, there are forces at work in the marketplace. Suppose you make a miracle drug for cancer or heart disease … Suppose you now want to charge a thousand dollars or two thousand dollars a dose. You might imagine that is your privilege. After all, you invented the drug, you paid to develop and test it; you should be able to charge what you wish … Sick people aren’t going to pay a thousand dollars a dose for a needed medicine—they won’t be grateful, they’ll be outraged … So something will happen. Your patent application will be denied. Your permits will be delayed … From a business standpoint, that makes helping mankind a very risky business. Personally, I would never help mankind.” (198-199)
As can be seen, though Hammond has the technological wherewithal to possibly cure crippling diseases, he considers such an action to be unprofitable, and thus not worth his attention. A theme park, however, is a completely different matter to Hammond. As Hammond continues:
“Think how different it is when you’re making entertainment. Nobody needs entertainment … If I charge five thousand dollars a day for my park, who’s going to stop me? … And, far from being highway robbery, a costly price tag actually increases the appeal of the park. A visit becomes a status symbol, and Americans love that.” (199)
Hammond’s decision to avoid helping mankind and instead to build a theme park is based solely on profit. In other words, Hammond’s greed obscured any more noble desires he could have had with InGen. This avarice “inspires” Hammond (in a perverse sense of the word) to construct the potentially dangerous Jurassic Park, and then to forgo the necessary measures which, though requiring more funding, would ensure the safety of the park.
Even with his park’s ultimate failure, Hammond does not become aware of his deep flaws. Despite the deaths of nearly everyone on the island, and the near-deaths of his own grandchildren, Hammond refuses to call off the Jurassic Park project. Hammond’s deep sense of denial is obvious when he states, “If there had been problems [on Isla Nublar], then the next time they would solve those problems. That was how progress worked. By solving problems” (380). Hammond clearly has no concern for anyone else who might die in the name of profit. Furthermore, in his greed, Hammond is unable to take responsibility for those who died due to his park. Just after vowing to make another Jurassic Park, he criticizes the now-dead Henry Wu for being “sloppy, too casual with [Hammond’s] great undertaking … Hammond suspected darkly that that was the reason for the downfall of the park” (380). Additionally, Hammond places the blame on chief engineer John Arnold (also the victim of a Velociraptor attack) when he states that the engineer “hadn’t been organized, and … had missed things” (380). Along with these two, Hammond even attacks his own grandchildren, asserting that “they had been nothing but trouble from the beginning. Nobody wanted them around” (382). By this point, the pure, selfish evil that John Hammond represents is quite clear. In fact, Crichton underscores his condemnation of the traits that Hammond embodies when, in a cruel twist of poetic justice (much like with Nedry), the CEO cowardly ran from what he believed was the T-Rex which had just ravaged the park (ironically, it was in reality not the tyrannosaur, but Hammond’s grandchildren triggering a recorded tyrannosaur roar), and fell and broke his ankle. Taking advantage of his wounded status, a pack of Procomsognathus soon attacked and killed him; not even at the moment of his death did Hammond accept his failures (380-381, 390-392). Though Hammond is finally ended, the trail of destruction he left in the wake of his selfish goals still remains. It is this wake which resulted in the unnecessary deaths of numerous park employees, and although it was Dennis Nedry who began the park’s collapse, it was Hammond’s desire for money which doomed it from the very start.
The death of such a foul and duplicitous character not clearly serves as a sort of karmic rebuttal of Hammond’s beliefs, and this highlights Crichton’s point—that greed, particularly at the expense of others, can result only in tragedy. From the openly-foul Dennis Nedry to the more subtle and devious John Hammond, greed permeates the novel as one of its central themes. Quite clearly, both of these characters are portrayed in a negative light, and both meet their end due to their own machinations—Hammond for creating Jurassic Park in the first place (as well as cutting some corners with personnel), and Nedry for sabotaging it. Altogether, it is these two embodiments of greed which result in the failure of the Jurassic Park concept, and it is they, not the dinosaurs, who are to blame for the tragedy on Isla Nublar.

C.L. 2014