Jurassic Park: Metaphor Analysis
Jurassic Park is a scientific suspense thriller. Its aim is to entertain, and to keep the reader turning the pages. It is therefore not the most sophisticated of books in terms of its use of language. Crichton rarely uses similes or metaphors to adorn or give depth to his language. His writing style for the most part consists of simple, short sentences that describe the action. In this sense, he is not a “literary” author.
However, when it comes to explaining chaos theory, which is at the heart of the novel, Crichton is careful to illustrate the abstract theory with concrete examples or analogies to make it easier for the reader to grasp. Ian Malcolm therefore explains the unpredictable behavior of a complex system in terms of the action of a pool ball (pp. 76 –77). And Arnold, when he argues against chaos theory, uses an analogy to explain the principle. An analogy is a method of explaining an unfamiliar object or idea by comparing it with an object or idea that is more familiar:
Chaos theory treats the behavior of a whole system like a drop of water moving on a complicated propeller surface. The drop may spiral down, or slip outward toward the edge. It may do many different things, depending. But it will always move along the surface of the propeller (p. 245).
There is also a larger analogy at work in the novel—the notion that computers can model the behavior of complex systems. The whole novel is an illustration of the fact that the analogy does not work very well!