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 Main theme of Ishmael?? 
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I find many themes in Ishmael and am having trouble pinpointing how it connects to my classroom or perhaps it's not supposed to; only to connect to life in general. I thought I would throw out my ideas and ask all of you to tell what you think: :?:
Theme One - page 109 Ishmael seems to be talking about the waste of resources in the environment.
Theme Two - page 127 Capitalism and accrueing material possessions is wrong - "take what you need and leave the rest alone."
Theme Three - page 242 "Man is the role model for us all."
Theme Four - page 250 Be accepting of all cultures

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Stella


Tue Jun 13, 2006 3:39 pm
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It is basically all of those. How man has misused the earth. How the white man has taken control of the earth and so on... Even though I feel that Ishmael was wrong in a lot of his theology, I thought his concepts were interesting. Elaine


Tue Jun 13, 2006 3:59 pm
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Thanks for summing that up for me gals. I had to start taking notes just so I could keep it all straight. I have a couple of questions though. Maybe you guys could help me.
1. Why did the author make Ishmael a gorilla? Why not a person?

2. Do you think we take vacations on islands, natural locations, and unspoiled beaches because we really want to be leavers? Get back to nature? Get back to the way of living that God intended? A place that man has not messed it up?

3. Who is Bwana? On page 222, Ishmael begins using that word. Is that the name of the person that he is talking with?


Tue Jun 13, 2006 9:38 pm
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I have some ideas about Amy's questions.
1. I think making Ishmael a gorrilla helps us as readers to not get offended. He is talking about how our whole world is not what it should be. I think having a personified figure talk is less offensive.
2. Even though we go to islands and vacation with nature we are still in our capatalistic world. We do to the beach to stay in a hotel, I don't know of a lot of people who just drop everything to live off the land a vaction. But it is getting up closer to our nature roots, according to Ishmael we started there anyway.
3. I think Bwana is a name Ishmael is using because he is being devils advocate in this section. He is trying to get the learner to think about what he is saying and make an argument. I thought of it like he was almost making fun of him, "Common' you know the answers!"

I maybe totally off the mark but that is what I was thinking.

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Marie :)


Wed Jun 14, 2006 7:22 am
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I agree with Marie that the character of the gorilla was less offensive, but I also think Quinn chose a gorilla to catch people's attention. What would readers rather read about, a man teaching about our shortcomings or a talking gorilla who lives among us and speaking from a completely different perspective than man has on himself?

The other question that Amy asked about getting back to nature, I agree with that. When people go on vacation, they either go to the mountains or the beach, not to the poverty stricken inner cities! I think people long for nature, but they are wasting and destroying it. I get very upset when people move into the country and put lavish homes and take away from the farm land. They think they can just go to the grocery store and buy produce. But if they buy up all the land, who is going to grow the food for the grocery stores? I fear nature is an "endangered species."

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Deeana Searcy Ray


Wed Jun 14, 2006 7:48 am
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What a great thread!

I'll give you two related hints about where I hope to take us in tonight's discussion:

1. The story we tell ourselves about "how things came to be this way" is a critical part of who we are, and has a fundamental influence on what we think can come next.

2. In a democracy we must learn to see and understand the story told by, and lived by, the other, a story different than our own. (This helps us to be better teachers, as well as better citizens!)

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Gayle Turner


Wed Jun 14, 2006 12:03 pm
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Themes I noticed, but these may be wrong: Does man belong to the world or does the world belong to man? Is man trying to conquer the world? Captivity vs. freedom. I agree with Stella about how man has affected the environment through pollution. I also thought it was interesting how Ishmael thought in order for change to happen that people's minds must be changed not just the laws. He said to think of ourselves and the world in a new way. I kept thinking about the food chain while I was reading this.


Wed Jun 14, 2006 2:21 pm
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The use of the gorilla is very important. He is a replica of man. He is man unevolutionized. He is describing the worth of the earth and man's use of the value of it. Gorilla's on the other hand would never take from the earth for profit or gain, they would accept things as they came without seeking to change or improve on the cycle of nature and the effect it has on all the species of life.


Wed Jun 14, 2006 3:38 pm
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I feel like the way he used a gorilla as the character made me feel the peace of the world leavers live in...the way the gorilla languidly picks up a branch and rolls his eyes, etc.
I feel like this story really connects with what Delpit says about accepting and valuing people's culture. Takers need to value the world and appreciate all of its diversity just as teachers need to value the diversity of children in the class and value their unique contributions that may be stamped out by those in the "culture of power".

just another thought...I was amazed after reading Chis Van Alsburg's Just a Dream where the character dreamed there was an ugly hotel planted right on top of a mountian. To my dismay, Sugar Mountian is the reality of that illustration in his book. It has always disturbed me why someone would do that. Ruin the view so the people in the hotel could have a great view.

But think about this cool inventor I just read about. His name is Moshe Alamaro. He says we can plant like 1000 trees in an hour to provide reforestation by dropping saplings from an airplane. The force of the dropping causes the sapling to plant itself, saving lots of planting time. This totally went along with the earth rising up to meet us theme in Ishmael. We're trying so much to keep up with our damage. But I have to say, cool invention.

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Suzanne McMahon


Tue Jun 20, 2006 4:59 pm
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