Study Guide

Jurassic Park Awe and Amazement

By Michael Crichton

Awe and Amazement

Velociraptors hunted in packs, and Grant thought it must have been a sight to see a dozen of these animals racing at full speed, leaping onto the back of a much larger dinosaur, tearing at the neck and slashing at the ribs and belly…. (2.9.52)

Grant doesn't need to see cloned dinosaurs to feel awe and amazement. He experiences wonder in the delicate task of digging for dinosaur bones. The little details he learns hint at a deeper reality that he can only imagine.

"So we set out to make biological attractions. Living attractions. Attractions so astonishing they would capture the imagination of the entire world." (2.10.43)

For Hammond, astonishment is a means to an end. He wants to capture the imagination of the entire world so he can bring in the big bucks.

Grant liked kids—it was impossible not to like any group so openly enthusiastic about dinosaurs. (3.20.57)

In the 1993 movie, Grant doesn't like kids—at all. Grant in the book is pretty different. He likes kids because they're the ones most enthusiastic about dinosaurs—which means that they still have the capacity to feel genuine awe and amazement. In a way, that makes what Hammond is doing all the worse: he's preying about the innocence of children in order to make a buck, without thinking about the possible dangers of pitfalls of his park.

"Entertainment is antithetical to reality." (3.21.24)

Reality television wasn't actually a thing when this book came out. But this line is ironic in other ways: Hammond wants his park to entertain, but by this definition, his park isn't "reality." The truth is that reality has a way of seeping back in and biting you when you're not looking.

"Damn those people. They are so negative." (3.26.6)

Negative people aren't paying customers. Hammond really, really doesn't want to hear criticism about his park.

"They aren't experiencing the wonder of it at all."

"We can't make them experience wonder." (3.26.55-56)

Hammond seems to have forgotten the purpose of the tour. Grant and company are there to assess the dangers of the park, and dangers they find. Hammond wants everyone to be awed and amazed—in other words, he wants his guests, just like his dinosaurs, to behave exactly as he has planned they should. It turns out he can't even control his guests.

"We are just strange, smelly objects in their environment." (4.33.44)

The dinosaurs think less of people than people do of them. This is a rather ominous observation, considering what's going to go down in the rest of the novel.

It was Hammond. He sounded like the voice of God. (4.43.34)

In case you missed it, Hammond thinks of himself as a kind of god. Hammond is a short man, but his wealth and manner give him a commanding presence. He uses it when it suits him.

"Ugly, aren't they. Truly ugly." (6.50.4)

Malcolm isn't overflowing with awe and wonder when raptors are close to killing him. He just sees them as, you know, killers.

"They want to migrate." (7.57.20)

The scene in which Grant and Sattler enter the raptor nest helps the novel keep from ending on a cynical note. For all the dangerousness of the dinosaurs and the stupidity of the humans, the animals at the park are fascinating. It's not their fault that they've been brought back from the dead; they're just doing what they do, and what nature wants them to do. Grant and Sattler cannot help but experience astonishment at the sight of raptors eager to spread their wings, so to speak.