Just Another Jellyfish Essay

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Just Another Jellyfish The book Ishmael by Daniel Quinn presents a terrifying image of what the human race is facing if it does not come to grips with the reality of the state of the world and humanity’s rightful place within it. Written mainly in conversational form between Ishmael, a wise “teacher” gorilla, and the narrator, a teacher-seeking pupil, Quinn brings about revelations of the world in the reader as Ishmael does so in the narrator. The central theme of the book is seen through Ishmael’s story of the Leavers and Takers, and how the human race, as Takers, is in dire need of reevaluation, and to answer the question, “Who is man?” The first important thought to manage in the book is who Ishmael is, and why he is credible. This is Quinn’s first hint of a need of humbling in man as he has the narrator, a human, set to learn from a gorilla. The beginning of the book explains Ishmael’s history and how he came to acquire the wisdom he is to impart upon the narrator (p 10). Bounced from various forms of captivity after being brought to civilization from Africa, Ishmael came under the care of a wealthy benefactor, Mr. Sokolow, who gave Ishmael the opportunity to study once the two discovered they could communicate (p 18-21). Ishmael was given his name by Mr. Sokolow, and the biblical reference cannot be overlooked. Ishmael’s , Abraham’s first son with Hagar, descendants came to be known as Muslims, versus Isaac’s, Abraham’s promised son with Sarah, descendants were “God’s chosen people.” Ishmael, the gorilla, represents the not chosen people. Going further, one of the greatest points in the book is that humanity today views its place in the world as a conqueror; therefore, humanity views itself as the earth’s “chosen people” as opposed to any other species. Ishmael represents the not chosen people, all other species, or more specifically the idea that there is

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