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 Why is Ishmael a gorilla? 
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I know we kind of touched on this in tonight's class, but I was wondering what more people thought. What do you think Quinn's purpose was in having Ishmael, the teacher, be a gorilla?

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Jennifer Wampler


Tue Oct 18, 2005 9:34 pm
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I think the purpose of the gorilla was to prove that man is not the center of the universe. Ishmael also provides a different perspective on things. He is an outsider looking in on man's development. I think this validates the points he makes.

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Nina


Wed Oct 19, 2005 2:37 pm
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That is an interesting point Nina! It does seem he is making the point that man is not the center of the world and using a gorilla as the teacher does reinforce that idea.

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Jennifer Wampler


Wed Oct 19, 2005 9:11 pm
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As I stated in class I think he had the teacher be a gorilla as symbolism. He was showing that he, as an animal, is captive to what humans are doing to animals. They do not have control of their own destiny, they are at the control of humans. He was making the point that only a animal could understand what was happening to the world around us and that human need to open their eyes to what is happening.

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Ricky Ward


Thu Oct 20, 2005 9:12 pm
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I think it is because many humans feel a connection with gorillas due to the physical similarities; ( and in fact we are teaching gorillas to sign/communicate with us). For me, using a gorilla was an effective hook; whereas I might not have felt that connection with another animal.

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Paige Hoffman


Sat Oct 22, 2005 8:07 am
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I agree with Paige that a gorilla was used because of how we identify with them. I also think that Quinn used a groilla as a main character rather than a human because the teacher simply has to be a representative of the animal kingdom that is feeling the effects of human selfishness. Had the teacher been a human, the point of the story would be lost. He is illustrating our destructiveness by showing its effects on Ishmael.

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amy french


Sat Oct 22, 2005 12:27 pm
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I agree with all the previous comments. If Ishmael had been anything but a captive animal, then the message of the story wouldn't have been conveyed with the same weight and reflection that it was. By presenting a non-human character, we are presented with the idea that our actions not only affect us, but everything around us. Also, it is hard for one to look at themselves, and see the error of their ways, you can always see the problems in everyone else, but can not see your own issues. As a human, it would be harder to see the forest through the trees, so to speak. To have an animal that is on the outside of human life, presents a different perspective that many humans might not capture.

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Julia Cooley


Tue Oct 25, 2005 11:07 am
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My husband and I discussed this question and this is what we came up with. There is something about nn evolving primate having great knowledge and ancentrial knowlege. It has believalbe human like qualities. Gorilla's represent our past and how we have evolved.

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Carrie Allen


Sun Oct 30, 2005 7:41 am
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