Can you please give me a summary of Chapter 8 of Contagion by Robin Cook?

Expert Answers
Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Chapter 8 increases the Jack's personal conflict. There are several conflicts in Contagion. The most obvious conflict is the external conflict between the medical examiner team, especially Jack, and the outbreak of plague. At first this conflict seems to be human against nature but later it becomes clear that it is a different kind of conflict. Jack's personal conflict, which is further developed in Chapter 8, is a variation on a human against human theme; we might be inventive and call it human against the system.

After talking to Bart Anderson to get "more information," Jack does two things: he calls Mrs. Nodelman to ask about possible foreign contact and animal contact as origins of the plague and he calls the Commissioner of Health who is his boss's boss. In other words, as Bingham suggests to Jack after summoning him, Jack has broken office procedural policy and gone to the top of the chain of command without observing protocol requiring speaking to the supervisor immediately above.

"Just so I can try to understand," [Bingham] said ... "did you not think that I would find it inappropriate for you to call the commissioner before talking with me?"

While being reprimanded for this breach and for going to Manhattan General, more about Jack's inner qualities and turmoil emerge.

"Knowing the General was an AmeriCare hospital, I wanted to go over there and rub it in a little. ... It's a personal thing," Jack said.