The story of Ishmael contains reflections on humanity. An anonymous author demonstrates a view on global issues of the world from the outside. Having given a symbolic meaning to a plot and adding social and cultural concepts to the story, the author attracted the audience by compelling it to think about own culture. The philosophy of the novel amazes with its deep meaning and emphasis on various social disagreements in society. Ishmael encourages thinking critically about the possibilities and limitations of human domination on the planet. In addition, the symbols and teaching activities presented in the novel indicate the need for significant changes in the behavior and culture of the society.
After reading the novel, it becomes obvious for a reader that a profound philosophical meaning hides behind a wonderful history. The protagonist is anonymous, and the story does not tell anything about his belonging and status. From my inner sensations, the personality of the narrator is not of decisive importance and influence on the essence of the novel. In fact, every reader can find him/herself in the place of the main character. The author used this technique intentionally, so that the reader could put himself/herself in the place of the storyteller and meet with Ishmael. Such meeting is a fateful combination of circumstances that allowed each reader to become more enlightened and aware of their life and place in society. The novel belongs to the category of such artworks, which make the readers develop a perspective vision of global problems and contradictions of human existence.
The contradictory feelings of the narrator become clear to the ordinary reader. The book impressed me and caused diversity of emotions. The sensations of finding an extraordinary teacher and his global goal can be felt from the position of a simple person, regardless of his/her social status and life priorities. The narrator is intrigued, because he has similar questions that are typical for most people (Quinn 10). He believes that the teacher is the one who can direct his conclusions and assumptions in the right direction. However, on the other hand, these questions remained unanswered for a long time, which brought an unexplored and inexperienced veil on answers. Therefore, the narrator, as well as me, is skeptical about the ability of the future teacher to teach how to save the whole world. As a result, the story makes me feel empathetic and manipulates simple human curiosity.
The story concerns with major religion, cultural, and social themes that are important for me personally. Narrative exposition of Ishmaels vision seems disclosing and identifying justifications and evidences related to human fallacies. The story seems intriguing due to the paving of alternative paths in the history of mankind. Telling his story, Ishmael suggests that the Semites have written Genesis that was adapted in the framework of Christian and Hebrew religion structures (Quinn 32). His suggestions contain the idea about extinction of Abel, which metaphorically means the lost position of Semites to agriculturalists. As the Semitic people advanced into the Arabian Peninsula, their opponents made them isolated from other cultures. According to Ishmael, they found a place in oral history, which became an episode in the Jewish book of Genesis. This episode made me think critically about all the mentioned writings on ancient times.
Another theme disclosed by Ishmael relates to Evil and Good confrontation. As anyone knows, the Tree contained the knowledge of Evil and Good, which were forbidden and closed for people (Quinn 45). Despite the generally recognized religious knowledge, Ishmael narrates about the opposite truth, which showed alternative options to me and surprised me with their probability. Unlike the prevailing opinion, Ishmael suggested that eating of the Tree merely gave the belief that people received wonderful knowledge and responsibility for choosing life or death for certain species. Given the influence of modern approach to natural selection and the various abilities to survive, this position of Ishmael becomes understandable to me. Impressions from the gorilla expressed by the transmitting information telepathically evoke the conflicting feelings in me, as the teacher himself causes astonishment. However, the judgments are plausible.
It seems obvious and logical that people face challenges of their own existence in this world when the teacher critically shows them their mistaken behavior. I accepted the explanations of Ishmael normally in the framework of modern threats and problems of humanity. Addressing the origins of human race by indicating similar religion norms, Ishmael impresses by his confidence and scale of conviction. His statements are hard to resist and refute. Ishmael explained the issue of possible usurpation of responsibility for deciding on food chains and ecology threats, which may lead to perishing of mankind. He brings his evidences to assure the student. In such debates and narrative exposure of facts, I found out more about ecological crises and its possibility to lead to extinction and disappearance of rare species, mental illness, and global warming.
There are many contradictions in the story. Ishmael is contrasted to the narrator as the rational truth to blind commonness. At least, such contrast is seen at the beginning of the story and in the episodes of bringing statements. They seem serious and strong enough, especially those that interpret historical events and personalities. Considering the fact that the narrator believes that the studying of a teacher is irrational, the story acquires no simple meaning and choice for the reader. While reading the story, I was constantly on the verge of subjectivism and objective vision in relation to the human history. Gorilla as a symbol of nature, and as the initial prototype of modern man, can be perceived as a sobering voice from the past invoking to set up a positive future.
Particular importance in the story is paid to the division into Takers and Leavers. These groups of people who inhabit the Earth have different purposes, functions, and the nature of influence on the world. I have noticed that people can be really easily distinguished using such categories. This division resembles the criterion of dividing people in relation to their consumption habits multiplied by the style of life. Regardless of the fact that such groups are numerous in their characteristics in the real world, Ishmael singles out only two of them. Judging by their characteristics, I can even predict the future state of the Earth with the dominance of any of these groups.
Takers belong to the stronger and larger group of people who are characterized by ruling the world and even the universe through cosmic technological innovations. Leavers are not so dominant, but they satisfy the natural simplest needs and recognize the basic rules of life similar to tribal cultures (Quinn 67). Ishmael notes the destructive influence of Takers on the planet's natural resources. I judge such consumption in the same way. The designation and distribution of the two camps is extremely important for those who listen to the teachings of Ishmael, as such individuals can clearly distinguish people by their ability to take or leave natural resources for the longest survival on Earth.
Just like in any story, the key moments here are filled with a higher and deeper emotional background and plot twists. Thus, the novel reaches its logical conclusion, when the narrator loses the opportunity to redeem Ishmael from the circus. The lost life is reminiscent of those sacrifices that have become the basis for the dominance of Takers. It is one of the most impressive and important moments in the story, which shows a meaningful example of the fact that people are still students who must strive for obtaining valuable knowledge. The same assumption was confirmed by the fact that the Tree of Knowledge allegedly gave miraculous knowledge, but isolated it from people. The semantic load and purpose of such lessons are that the student himself became a teacher for others. To me, such transfer of information has made it possible to understand important ideas that penetrate the story and focus on key topics. An important lesson for every person reading the story is to become such teacher to let others know how to save the world. No matter how trivial and banal it may seem, but Ishmael delivers his points to everyone who can hear and act. The story impresses me with its images, main and accompanying themes, an artistic and historical frame, and a clearly expressed goal.
To sum up, the novel presents those statements and symbols that insist on necessity to change peoples behavior and save the world through the critical and justified approach of Ishmael telling about possibilities and threats caused by the humanity. Lessons of Ishmael gave alternative and thoughtful consideration of human race origins and their modern reflection. Consequent evaluation of social, religious, and cultural aspects indicate mistakes and obvious misconceptions of humanity, which led to modern environmental crisis. Emphasizing division of people on Takers and Leavers, Ishmael impresses any reader, as well as his student, with a truthful and open attitude towards different cultural groups. The novel has philosophical roots and addresses the economic foundations of human existence. A static storyline and its characters indicate the tremendous, important, and humane mission of the novel, which is to save the world. It does not seem to be transcendental, as these calls appeal to all the readers and teach them to take proper actions.
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