The novel, Jurassic Park, by Michael Crichton had many rich, and interesting characters. Crichton seemed to be able to make them come alive and jump out of the pages into three-dimensional people. One such character was John Hammond. This man had dreams of greatness. He had extravagant plans and the money to back those plans up. He had always been a child at heart and he was in love with dinosaurs. His company, The Hammond Foundation financed many different digs for paleontologists. When The Hammond Foundation finds amber with a mosquito locked in it, John Hammond realizes that perhaps his dreams of having a dinosaur park are possible. This is because the mosquito locked inside the amber contains the blood of a real dinosaur, complete with DNA. John Hammond has to hire people to do all of the technical stuff, but it is he who envisions the park as a whole. He sees the public paying thousands of dollars to come and see his dinosaurs. He can see the astounded look on peoples faces when they see creatures that have been extinct for millions of years. He can see the happy faces of the children as well as the money he will be making from the operation.
John Hammond's fault is that he refuses to believe that anything could go wrong. He has hired the best experts he could find, and he places all of his faith in them. When things do start to go completely awry, Hammond see them only as minor problems; chinks in the system. John Hammond is too caught up with the glamour of the idea of Jurassic Park rather than with the minute details. In fact he refuses to even see the minute details, preferring to leave them to somebody else. He is content with his delusions of grandeur. I felt only mild remorse when he died at the end. It is hard to care about somebody who only cares for himself.
Alan Grant was one of the more important characters of the story. He was a paleontologist who was initially hired by The Hammond Foundation to do a written report on the foods that a baby dinosaur might eat. Grant had no idea why he was being asked to do this, but he agreed to because Hammond was offering an astronomical amount of money for the job. As time went on, John Hammond invited Grant out to see the small Costa Rican island that was named Jurassic Park. By this point, the park was almost finished. Hammond wanted to get the opinion of a real paleontologist. Grant was literally blown away. He could not believe that there were real live specimens of the skeletons that he had been studying all of his life. Alan Grant was the person who made the crucial discovery that the dinosaurs were reproducing on their own. Grant found an egg shell that he immediately recognized as belonging to a velociraptor. At first this event seemed to be impossible because the animals were all hatched in laboratory, and they were all supposed to be female. However, Grant realized that the dinosaur DNA that Henry Wu had been working with had not been all that complete. The missing parts had been filled in with frog DNA. Unfortunately Wu failed to realize that frogs sometimes have the ability to switch between being a male and a female. Because of this reason the dinosaurs were able to reproduce. Grant was also an integral character because he was able to survive in the wilds of Jurassic Park and make is way to some form of safety. When all of the power went out, Alan managed to outsmart the incredibly ferocious Tyrannosaurus Rex. Grant was also one of the few brave enough to go down into a velociraptor nest and count to find out how many unknown babies there had been. Grant is also special in that he was one of the few people to make it off that small Costa Rican island alive.
Ellie Satler was a graduate student under Alan Grant. Her specialty is paleobotany. She travels to Jurassic Park along with Grant. She is extremely bright, and she knows volumes about prehistoric plants. She was the one who recognized that the authentic ferns that were planted throughout the park were extremely toxic to human beings. She also was the one who realized what was causing the stegosauruses so many problems. The problem was that the stones that the stegosauruses swallowed for gizzard stones was surrounded by berries. The animals swallowed these berries and these berries were very toxic to the animals. Another thing that Ellie did was comfort people. She made the kids feel better when they were really upset. She was the person who stayed and took care of Malcolm when the mathematician was really sick. The woman was also very self-sacrificing. She was willing to put herself out as bait to distract the raptors away from Malcolm.
The mathematician named Ian Malcolm was also a very important part of this story. He was invited to preview Jurassic Park along with Grant and Ellie. Malcolm is a very interesting character because he predicted the downfall of Jurassic Park right from the very start. Malcolm is a strong believer in something called the chaos theory. Basically this theory states that in some systems there are minute unpredictabilities that get magnified and cause the system to take a completely different course of action. Malcolm claims that Jurassic Park cannot work because, although it seems to be a simple system, that this simplicity will not last forever. He claims that small unpredictabilities in Jurassic Park will soon magnify, and the entire park will never succeed. Ian Malcolm turns out to be right. This raises an interesting question. If he knew that the park was doomed to fail, then why did he go and put his life on the line? Perhaps Malcolm was not excepted from the desire of every human to see a real live dinosaur.
Dr. Henry Wu was the man who was able to create the dinosaurs in the laboratory. This man was the person smart enough to make the dinosaurs. He took genetic information from amber and crushed up fossils and with a lot of experimentation was able to get a DNA strand and clone it to create a dinosaur. Dr. Wu is truly a brilliant man. He was smart enough to create safeguards to keep the dinosaurs from escaping. However, he gets so caught up in the excitement of it all, that he makes a few fatal mistakes. Because of his ignorance, the dinosaurs were able to reproduce.
Dennis Nedry was also of importance to this story. This is that man who was hired to do all of the computer programming for Jurassic Park. He turns out to be a traitor, however. He shuts down all the power, including the electric fences. He then steals some of the dinosaur embryos to sell to another lab. However, Nedry was pretty stupid. He gets killed because the dinosaurs are out of their fences and a dilphosarus kills him. Nedry was a rotten character and this reader felt little to no remorse when he died.
As I mentioned previously, the initial plan seemed pretty amazing. The Hammond Foundation would buy a Costa Rican island, hire the top people in their fields, and build an amusement park with dinosaurs instead of rides. The idea was to create a slice of history that people had never been able to be exposed to before. They had to use some frog DNA to supplement the blood found in the amber, but that was okay. After all, the frog DNA was so similar to the dinosaur DNA, that it really did not matter.
Early indications that everything might not be hunky dory could be seen when babies and small children started being killed by small reptile-like animals that nobody had ever heard of before. Soon one of these animals were identified by Grant as a dinosaur. Just the fact hat dinosaurs had escaped from the park was a major indication that something was awry. Also, a few workers were getting mauled to death. This would lead one to believe that perhaps thing were not as under control as Hammond and Wu thought they were.
The actual genetics of the project were very interesting. In order to get the DNA to create the dinosaurs, Wu went to two sources. First he tried using ground up fossils. By this only had a twenty percent yield for the DNA that Wu needed. Wu had much better luck using mosquitoes and other biting bugs that had been fossilized in amber. Often times these insects contained the blood of a dinosaur. With this blood, Wu had almost all of the genetic information that he needed in order to create a new dinosaur. In order to finish the job, Wu stuck frog and other amphibian DNA in many places where the strand was incomplete. Then Wu used some of the most powerful computers known to man to identify which genetic code he had. From that point, by replicating the molecule, Wu was able to create a dinosaur.