Jurassic Park

  • Study Guide

Introduction–First Iteration

Summary Introduction–First Iteration

As its operations are located on an island about a hundred miles off Costa Rica, InGen is also associated with the "hupia" spirits that are purported to dwell on offshore islands and kidnap children. The injured construction worker claims that a "hupia" was responsible for his injuries. These hupia are also the first significant symbols in the book: after Tina is attacked, Dr. Guitierrez's research indicates that several babies around Costa Rica have similarly been attacked recently. Considering these events along with the injured InGen worker, we infer that the hupia are closely tied to InGen and lizards.

Of course, as Crichton has already allowed us to follow the perspectives of several different characters in several different settings, we have privileged information at this stage of the novel. Dr. Guitierrez does not know about the InGen worker's accident, and thus has no way of knowing about the saliva on the InGen worker's wounds. Crichton employs this sort of dramatic irony to give the story an eerie, something-is-awry feeling that we vaguely feel has something to do with whatever InGen is doing on the island off Costa Rica.

Crichton also uses this dramatic irony to take a jab at the scientific community. In the introduction, he discusses how, over the last several decades, the scientific community has been increasingly divided by commercial interests. Even academic scientists sway with the business world these days, a trend that he claims has debilitated the entire scientific community. Throughout this section, Crichton takes care to point out the inefficiency of the scientific organizations that are working in various capacities to investigate the situation in Costa Rica. Dr. Guitierrez ignores Tina's insistence that the lizard has three toes and proceeds to identify the lizard as a basilisk, which halts proper analysis of the saliva from her wounds. Instead, the saliva sample is sent to a different lab in San José. Meanwhile, though the lizard carcass Guitierrez sends to Dr. Simpson at Columbia is never properly identified because Simpson is in Borneo, a fax sent to Guitierrez misleads him into believing that his identification of the lizard as a basilisk is correct. Finally, the lab technicians in San José notice unusual aspects of Tina's lizard saliva sample that link it to cobra venom, but then fail to note a genetic marker they have discovered. Because the marker is not normally found in wild animals, they dismiss it as a lab contaminant. Crichton presents all of this data as dots the scientists fail to connect, which furthers our suspicion that everything, particularly the genetic engineering marker, is somehow related to InGen.

Most of the foreshadowing here revolves around the idea that dinosaurs are related to birds, an idea that Crichton will explore at length throughout the novel. At this point, the concept is merely hinted at: the injured InGen worker used the word "raptor" which Manuel associates with "hupia." Bobbie looks the word up in two dictionaries, finding the definitions "abductor" and "bird of prey." Tina states that the lizard tracks looked like bird tracks and says the lizard chirped and bobbed its head like a chicken, furthering this connection between lizards and birds that hints at dinosaurs, the common ancestor of these two modern-day animal types.