Why does Travis force Eckels to retrieve the steel bullets from the monster's body?  How would you have reacted to Travis's demand?

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When Eckels sees the gigantic Tyrannosaurus Rex for the first time, he panics and runs back to the Time Machine while Travis and Lesperance shoot the dinosaur as it rapidly closes in on them. When Travis returns to The Machine, he discovers that there is dirt on Eckels's shoes and realizes that he ran off the Path.

Running off the Path is a serious transgression, and Travis explains to Lesperance that Eckels has jeopardized their entire operation and possibly changed the course of human history. Instead of leaving Eckels in the Past, Travis makes him return to the deceased Tyrannosaurus Rex and retrieve the steel bullets from its corpse. When Eckels protests, Travis explains that the steel bullets do not belong in the Past and can alter everything in human history if left behind.

Since Eckels fears the dinosaur, he is reluctant to carry out the disgusting action. However, he is responsible for the dinosaur chasing them and owes his life to Travis and Lesperance for shooting the Tyrannosaurus Rex. Personally, I would reluctantly agree to retrieve the bullets if I were in Eckels's position. I would take responsibility for my actions and retrieve the bullets without protesting.

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Travis is certainly disgusted with Eckels because of his cowardly reaction when he first sees the Tyrannosaurus Rex and he and Lesperance are, therefore, obligated to shoot the monster. But, Travis threatens to leave Eckels unless he removes the bullets from the dinosaur for two reasons: They cannot be left behind as they are anachronistic, and Travis is disgusted that Eckels has stepped off the gravity path.

Eckels complies because he has violated his contract with Time Safari, Inc. and, also, because he does not want to be left behind, and he may be hoping that the guides will not report his violations. After all, Eckels has been told,

If you disobey instructions, there's a stiff penalty of another ten thousand dollars, plus  possible government action, on your return.

Also, since Travis and Lesperance have truly saved Eckels's life because he is the one designated to have taken the shot, his failure has allowed the monster to advance upon them; so, there is no excuse that Eckels can make for not at least retrieving the bullets from the dead dinosaur. He owes his life to the guides.

 

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