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Ishmael by Daniel Quinn

January 4, 2008


Title: Ishmael

Author: Daniel Quinn

Number of Pages: 263.

Rating: 3 ½ out of 5.
It was: blawsome.
Another book for AP. It was way more interesting than Guns, Germs, and Steel. It had to do with a gorilla, Ishmael, who was taught to speak by his deceased owner and Ishmael has learned many things about humans. He puts an ad in the paper to look for a student to teach, the ad reads “Teacher seeks pupil. Must have an earnest desire to save the world.” The narrator takes up on that offer, at first feeling it was ridiculous for someone to ask for a student with an “earnest desire to save the world.” He soon feels even more ridiculous, learning that his teacher is a gorilla! And so what happens is that throughout the book Ishmael explains how mankind has been too smart for their own good. Humankind believes that Earth was made for him to rule it. The Takers of the world–most societies, including my own, are this. Takers have come up with a story of how it came to be… humans that is. “Oh, first there was a big bang, Earth created, water flourished and made life possible for little squirmy bacteria that led to bigger things… amphibians, reptiles, mammals, man.” But in reality, that’s just a story made up to keep the lifestyle we have started.  

Is it not true that we keep farming more and more land each year, making our population so incredible we don’t almost fit. Then we feed the starving people of the world, which make the population even higher to just reproduce more starving people. Is it not true that we’ve killed animals for feast, domesticated plants to help feed us. Why don’t we let other things around us be? Why don’t we let them act on the peace-keeping law, just like the law of gravity, it’s a must. Yet we don’t do it. We keep taking as if the world is ours. If we hadn’t then maybe there would be other species like us. Also, Leavers are viewed as savages, when they’re just like us, just living another lifestyle. They believe in the gods and how they are merely another aspect of the world and not how Takers think–that the world was MADE for them, that it belongs to them.
Sad to report, someone dies in the end. Ishmael. But he has left the narrator this information, to spread, to SAVE THE WORLD. Will we do it?
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