The novel is filled with powerful themes that are still highly relevant today. Crichton asks readers to consider whether or not science should do something because it has the ability to or whether one should show more restraint.
Jurassic Park Themes
Man vs. Nature
Man vs. nature is the major theme of Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park. The InGen scientists create dinosaurs using groundbreaking genetic engineering. The protagonists spend the majority of the novel fighting for their survival. They contend with various threats, all of which could’ve been avoided had InGen and John Hammond truly understood what they created.
In Jurassic Park, John Hammond believes his money and the scientists at his disposal give him power (and the right to exert power) over the park’s dinosaurs. Throughout the novel, he realizes that just because you created something, it doesn’t mean you have control over it. They thought they could control nature, but the park proved InGen very wrong.
Technology is a major theme in this novel and in other Michael Crichton books. The InGen scientists use technology with no regard for the consequences. Or, as Crichton writes, they created dinosaurs because they could but never stopped considering whether they should. They want money, power, and control but do not realize that they lack the skills to maintain their creations and ensure the safety of others.
Analysis of Key Moments in Jurassic Park
- A mysterious attack leads to scientists contacting Alan Grant about discovering what they think is a dinosaur.
- John Hammond brings Grant, Sattler, Malcolm, and others to an island off the coast of Costa Rica.
- They learn that InGen has recreated dinosaurs using genetic engineering.
- Readers learn that Nedry, a greedy, unlikeable employee, is plotting to smuggle the dinosaurs’ DNA off the island.
- He disables the park’s security system, including the electric fences.
- The power outage leaves characters stranded in the park with dinosaurs on the loose.
- The main characters learn that frog DNA allowed the dinosaurs to change sex and that they are now breeding.
- The protagonists contend with numerous attacks from pterodactyls and the T Rex.
- The velociraptors escape and kill Dr. Arnold and Dr. Wu.
- Tim locks one in the kitchen’s freezer.
- Tim manages to restart the park’s security systems and other programs.
- Hammond trips and falls into a ravine where he’s killed by compies.
- The Costa Rican National Guard arrives and decides to blow up the island.
- Dr. Grant learns that some dinosaurs have escaped to the Costa Rican mainland.
Style, Tone, and Figurative Language
In Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton focuses on thriller elements as well as scientific ones. Readers will bounce back and forth between gruesome dinosaur attacks and cleverly written passages about how the creatures were created and behaved.
His characters are fairly simple, with direct and easy-to-understand motivations. Despite this, they still capture the reader’s imagination. Throughout, he changes the tone from complacent to increasingly urgent and, at times, desperate. The various characters have no idea what to expect but soon learn that their situation is quite dire.
In the novel, Crichton also uses several examples of figurative language. For instance, the metaphor Dr. Ian Malcom uses to demonstrate chaos theory (the pool ball and cue) and the many different examples of the dinosaurs being compared to birds. The author also uses similes, metaphors, examples of personification, and more.
Analysis of Symbols
In the novel, they discover numerous poisonous plants around the pool area in the park. They symbolize poor planning on the part of John Hammond and InGen and arrogance in the face of their own scientific creation. They did not understand what they were recreating but continued to push the limits of science.
Dr. Ian Malcom’s focus on chaos theory symbolizes the island’s false promise. It’s presented as a place of safety and wonder, but even one small mistake, like adding frog DNA to the dinosaur’s genetic code, turns the park upside down.
Despite easily being taken offline by one person, the security systems symbolize the danger inherent in operating something like Jurassic Park. The entire island looks like a military installation, not like a theme park for children. It’s clear from the beginning that this is far from a safe environment for anyone to be in.
Although InGen did take some precautions with fences and weapons, it was the lack of caution in their scientific advances that made all the difference.
What is the main theme of Jurassic Park?
The main theme of this novel is man vs. nature. The secondary, although still quite important themes, are power and technology. Throughout, humankind tries to control nature and exert power over it. But, the dinosaurs soon prove that this is impossible.
What is the message in Jurassic Park?
The message is that just because it’s possible to create something, it doesn’t mean that you should. The InGen scientists get too caught up in what they can accomplish and do not take the time to stop and think if they should continue on this path.
What is the most famous line in Jurassic Park?
The most famous line in Jurassic Park is “Life finds a way.” It alludes to Dr. Ian Malcom’s obsession with chaos theory and the arrogance that the InGen scientists show in the face of incredible danger.
What type of conflict is Jurassic Park?
The main conflict type in this novel is man vs. nature. The scientists and visitors in the novel spend most of it trying to preserve their lives and, in some instances, their scientific accomplishments in the face of raging, nearly unstoppable nature.