Study Guide

Alan Grant in Jurassic Park

By Michael Crichton

Alan Grant

A "barrel-chested, bearded man of forty," Dr. Alan Grant is a professor of paleontology at the University of Denver. He sees himself "as an outdoorsman," believing "all the important work in paleontology" is "done outdoors, with your hands" (2.6.38). With Ellie Sattler, he digs for dinosaur bones in Montana. He receives funding from the Hammond Foundation, hence his participation in the assessment of Hammond's park.

Like his film counterpart, Grant doesn't get along with computers, but unlike his movie version, he loves kids. "It was impossible not to like any group so openly enthusiastic about dinosaurs." Even more: "Grant used to watch kids in museums as they stared openmouthed at the big skeletons riding above them" (3.20.57).

So Grant's actually a pretty suitable guide for Hammond's grandkids when the dinosaurs escape. With skill and sympathy, he leads them through the dangers of the park and finally to safety. He chats with Tim about their personal lives, and he carries Lex even though she's the least injured of the three. He asks both children what they feel they can do. When they have to climb a fence and Tim's fear of heights becomes apparent, Grant patiently talks him through it.

Grant also has the expertise to evade prowling prehistoric hunters and to trick a bunch of raptors into eating poisoned eggs. Then, when everyone is safe, he takes it upon himself to find the raptor nest, enter it, and count the creatures so that he and the others will have a better sense of the damage. His sense of wonder also calls him. "He's thought about this for his whole life," Sattler says of him (7.53.113).

Grant is probably the main protagonist of the novel. If he doesn't have the moral authority exerted by Ian Malcolm, he does the most to keep people alive once the terrible lizards run amok, and he feels the greatest sense of responsibility for the dinosaurs now that they exist. Unlike many of the scientists in the novel, Grant remains firmly rooted in the real world, which means that he's always aware that his actions have consequences.

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