Ishmael Daniel Quinn Essay Outline

A Reflection on  Ishmael  by Daniel Quinn PART I: Focus Questions Who are the Takers and Leavers? In his novel, Daniel Quinn describes two categories of humans: the Takers and the Leavers.  These can be equated to groups of people who are both developed and civilized or primitive and  “living in the stone-age.” The Takers include people living in what we call modern civilization,  who are a product of the discovery of agriculture. Leavers, on the other hand, have continued  along the path that animals and all other beings are on—the one that obeys and agrees with the  laws of nature.  The birth of the Takers came about with the discovery of the Fertile Crescent in the east. There  was something of an agricultural revolution upon the discovery that humans could hunt and  gather and  save  that food for later. The Takers, as described by Quinn, were not content simply  living within the bounds of nature—they needed and wanted more. In the beginning, before  civilization, humans would build and plow only for nature to dismantle their efforts. They began  to feel that they were above the laws of nature and that the animals and things that followed  those laws were primitive, and wanted to advance ahead of these lowly beings. So began the  story of the Takers, who believed that humans were created to rule the world, and “in order to  make himself the ruler of the world, man first had to conquer it.” (Quinn 73) However, Ishmael  describes that because of this warring with the world and the laws of nature, the Takers will soon exhaust the earth of its resources and bring civilization to an end. In contrast to the Takers there are the Leavers, who live the same way man first lived before the  aforementioned agricultural revolution. These humans are still found today in the forgotten  corners of the world, such as the Yanamamo tribes of the Amazon and even some tribes of  Native Americans in the United States. These primitive tribes live in harmony with the laws of  nature, in that they only hunt and gather out of necessity, and they only kill when they need to.  They do not try to destroy their agricultural competitors because they have none, and they use  the resources of the world strictly out of necessity. They are hunter-gathers and according to  Quinn, will continue living this way because they live in submission to the laws of nature. 

Analysis of the Novel Ishmael by Daniel Quinn Essay

954 Words4 Pages

Ishmael begins when the nameless narrator finds a newspaper ad that reads: "Teacher seeks pupil. Must have an earnest desire to save the world. Apply in person" (4).
At first, he is angry, as it reminds him of the counterculture movement of the 1960s, which he participated in only to discover that there was no easy way to save the world.
Nonetheless, he responds to the ad, and finds that the teacher is a gorilla. Behind the gorilla is a sign that reads "With man gone, will there be hope for gorilla?" (9).
The gorilla, named Ishmael, can communicate telepathically. Communicating with him in this fashion, the narrator learns Ishmael’s background - in which the gorilla was stolen from the wild and displayed in a menagerie, then rescued by a…show more content…

Ishmael begins when the nameless narrator finds a newspaper ad that reads: "Teacher seeks pupil. Must have an earnest desire to save the world. Apply in person" (4).
At first, he is angry, as it reminds him of the counterculture movement of the 1960s, which he participated in only to discover that there was no easy way to save the world.
Nonetheless, he responds to the ad, and finds that the teacher is a gorilla. Behind the gorilla is a sign that reads "With man gone, will there be hope for gorilla?" (9).
The gorilla, named Ishmael, can communicate telepathically. Communicating with him in this fashion, the narrator learns Ishmael’s background - in which the gorilla was stolen from the wild and displayed in a menagerie, then rescued by a Holocaust survivor who taught him his name and how to learn. Impressed, the narrator decides to accept his teachings, returning to Ishmael's office throughout the story.
From this point on, the novel is a Socratic dialogue between the narrator and Ishmael, as they seek to uncover “how things came to be this way” in the world. Ishmael claims that the topic of his teachings is “captivity” (33-34). Having spent the majority of his life in some form of captivity, Ishmael has been able to evaluate the subject to learn that humanity is also living under a form of captivity.
Ishmael learned human language and culture at zoos and menageries, and began to think about the world in a way completely differently than he would have in the wild. The

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