It may be that Daniel Quinn's "Ishmael" is tainted for me because of the context in which I had to read it: an introductory social science class at university. That said, I remember feeling that the idea of an ape sermonizing about the litany of deficiencies and arrogance in the human race to be very heavy-handed and rife with liberal guilt.
There are many other, superior texts out there which point out the interconnectedness of the human, animal and plant worlds -- especially in light of the burgeoning green movement -- and do so with concrete examples from our world, not platitudes in a parable about a waxing-philosophic ape.
Ishmael by Daniel Quinn is a story that explains a new paradigm of human history through the eyes of the student of a gorilla. The adventure begins when the pupil responds to Ishmael’s, the gorilla’s, newspaper add seeking a pupil with an earnest desire to save the world. Through a series of discussions, the pupil learns how to do just that. Daniel Quinn did a fabulous job writing this book. Using a gorilla as the mentor … more
WITH MAN GONE, WILL THERE BE HOPE FOR GORILLA? So posits Daniel Quinn's novel that uses Socratic dialog to discuss society, nature, culture, morality, and mythology, an questioning of humanity's relation to nature. The ambiguous meaning of the question perfectly epitomizes the philosophical nature of the novel; is man the destroyer or conservator of nature? Naturally, the answer is a resounding … more
Years ago, when my 9th grade biology teacher recommended that we read Ishmael over the summer, I was perplexed as to the reason why. Wouldn't a biology teacher recommend we read something like Hawkin's Selfish Gene or Darwin's Origin of Species? It seemed odd to pick up a nonfiction book that had no obvious surface issues related with biology. Of course, as teachers always do, he had a valid point to his suggestion. Ishmael centers around Ishmael, … more
A highly recommended book that helps the reader to better understand modern human psychology. The method in which this message is developed is a bit strange at first, but becomes important as the novel goes on. A book that really changed the way I think about the world!