Overview: Ishmael by Daniel Quinn

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In the novel Ishmael, written by Daniel Quinn, the narrator has spent most of his life looking for a teacher so he can learn to save the world. When the narrator was reading the paper he found an ad searching for a student interested in saving the world. After arriving at the address he finds a gorilla named Ishmael, who communicates telepathically. (Quinn, 1995)
Ishmael was taken from Africa at a young age and was sold to a zoo then a traveling carnival. Ishmael was bought by Walter Sokolow, a Jewish man whom had lost his family during the Holocaust. Not long after being purchased Ishmael learned to telepathically communicate with Walter. Mr. Sokolow brought Ishmael many books so he would be able to educate himself. Ishmael’s studies began with captivity but soon he became more interested in human nature. Upon Mr. Sokolow’s death Ishmael lived mostly independently in the city, with the help of the late Mr. Sokolow’s butler, Mr. Partridge. After all Ishmael has learned through his readings he seeks out students to help spread his knowledge. (Quinn, 1995)
The narrator meets with Ishmael many times to better understand the cultural history of humans. According to Ishmael there are two groups of humans the “Takers” and the “Leavers”. Takers are the majority people in society and see themselves as the rulers of the worlds. The Takers feel their destiny is to dominate with the aid of advances in technology and expansed exponentially. The culture of the Takers is in a downward spiral destined to crash now it has gained all of the natural resources the plant has to offer. Ishmael feels that the culture of Takers took off with the Agricultural Revolution. Where as the Leavers choose to live life simply and follow the Nature’s populatio...

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... and more of Leavers, by improving farming practices to help better use Earth’s resources. Although I do not feel agriculturalists, myself included, will ever fully become Leavers we are doing our best to improve our practices to leave a better world to the next generation.

Works Cited

Donovan, P. (2010, February 02). Overgrazing: an ecosystem perspective. Retrieved from http://www.managingwholes.com/overgrazing.htm
National geographic deforestation. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/deforestation-overview/
Sustainability in agriculture. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://afsic.nal.usda.gov/sustainability-agriculture-0T
Trimarchi, M. (n.d.). What caused the dust bowl?. Retrieved from http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/green-science/dust-bowl-cause.htm
Quinn, D. (1995). Ishmael. Random House Digital.

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