Study Guide

Jurassic Park Power

By Michael Crichton


"We're having one hell of a time getting a handle on this thing, it's typical of the way government operates, there isn't any complaint, there isn't any charge, just harassment from some kid who's unsupervised and is running around at the taxpayer's expense." (2.7.46)

Hammond dislikes the government, whatever the country. To him, the state is an opposing power, a force that prevents him from doing what he wants. He's really the only "taxpayer" he cares about. It's not surprising that Hammond has no concern at all for the social safety net or for the greater good; it's all about number one.

"I'll be paying you the usual weekend consultant rate of twenty thousand a day." (2.7.83)

Grant and Sattler can't say no to this offer. Their work depends on the money Hammond gives them. In short, money gives Hammond power over others.

"But if there is a problem on that island, burn it to the ground." (2.10.5)

The law firm associated with Hammond's project is another power player. The firm wants to make money, but it also don't want to lose everything if Jurassic Park proves to be an invitation to crippling lawsuits.

"You're not going to shut me down, Donald—" (3.18.44)

Hammond has taken calculated steps to reduce and limit the power others have over him, but he can't take away every threat. He knows deep down that he's not invincible.

"These animals are genetically engineered to be unable to survive in the real world. They can only live here in Jurassic Park. They are not free at all. They are essentially our prisoners." (3.20.32)

It's fitting that Wu likens Jurassic Park to a prison. He and the others at the park have attempted to build a system that gives them power over their animal creations. For the park to work, they must exercise power over nature… but nature fights back. The prison is overrun, and the inmates escape and survive.

Saying these complicated names was a way of exerting power over the giants, a way of being in control. (3.20.58)

Hammond and his team aren't the only ones seeking control over dinosaurs. Grant believes that, for children, dinosaurs represent the "uncontrollable forces of looming authority," and being able to say the names of dinosaurs is a way that kids respond to this authority.

"… you will recall that the original purpose behind pointing my company in this direction in the first place—was to have freedom from government intervention, anywhere in the world." (4.33.26)

The fact that Hammond needs to be an autonomous power and a law unto himself in order to build Jurassic Park is evidence enough that the project is a bad idea. He's pretty much flying in the face not only of all regulation but also of nature itself.

"The scientists may wish to constrain you. Even to stop you." (4.33.52)

Hammond has more enemies than just lawyers and governments. The scientific community may not be as forceful as law firms and state agencies, but it's a threat nonetheless. If Hammond can get noted scientists like Grant and Sattler on board with the park, he'll have an easier time persuading scientists generally.

"We may lose a couple of dinos before we get the rex out of there, but, believe me, we have the park." (4.41.98)

The way Arnold speaks here almost makes it sound as though he's engaged in a game or a war with the forces of nature. And, truth be told, he is. The humans and the dinosaurs are fighting over territory.

"Get rid of the thintelligent ones. Take them out of power." (5.45.137)

Malcolm says that scientists and engineers who can't see where their ideas will lead have "thintelligence" rather than intelligence. More than being opposed specifically to Jurassic Park, Malcolm is opposed to the shortsighted, opportunistic thinking that thought up the park to begin with.

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