Themes

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 197

The novel's many themes are psychologically interrelated. Besides examining the power of the mind to create reality (which has a literary correspondence as well), Crichton explores the possible application of Jungian psychology to group dynamics, especially as represented in the release of man's dark inner side. Crichton explores the theme that humankind is its own worst enemy, carrying the seeds of its destruction. The divisions within society (professional, racial, sexual) that block humankind's ability to function efficiently and effectively for its own good, the identification of the distinguishing characteristic in defining a human being as the imagination, the failure of the discipline of psychology to produce accurate guidelines for analyzing individuals, and the existentialist emphasis on human choice — all revolve around and reinforce one another throughout the course of Sphere.

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Ultimately, it is implied by Beth's contrivance at the end of the book that all of these systems, procedures, philosophies, and cultural components can be undermined by one willful individual who places self-interest above everything else. Whereas in The Andromeda Strain Crichton celebrated the ideal of scientific teamwork, here he implies that when a group of individuals is incapable of operating as a team, all is lost.

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Characters