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 Ishmael- A New View 
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I like this book, it makes me think. I was a little unsettled when I realized the gorilla is the teacher- and he can talk telepathically, but it makes sense to have him as the teacher. He has a different view of the world, and rightfully so. I am 1/2 way through the book, so far the section that has most captivated me was the story of creation- according to the jellyfish! It is disconserting to realize how egocentric man really is. If the story were to be told by another creature, would they be as self involved as people? To go back to the mythology, the student reminds us that people ruined the world because they were destined to live in paradise and not know it. Just look at the story of Adam and Eve, who could not be happy where they were- and they were given everything! No to write a book report, but my mind is reeling with the possibilities and how this ties in with the classes so far!

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Selena Hicks


Tue Oct 17, 2006 8:31 pm
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I am also about half way through the book and my mind is spinning. I thought that I had accepted the gorilla idea just fine, but I find myself wondering if, at the end of the book, the gorilla will remove his costume and we will find a man in his place. Kind of like the man behind the curtain in The Wizard of OZ. Talk about egocentric, my imagination is trapped by the whispers of Mother Culture.

I do wonder how staunch religious believers will respond to this book. I find the questions raised so far to be very satisfying.

I am also annoyed by the lack of strong female characters. Once again it seems that the fate of humanity rests on an intelligent male figure while the women is cast into the role of an evil stepmother of sorts.

Well – that is my two cents; feel free to comment on my ramblings.
:D :D

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April Eichmiller


Sat Oct 21, 2006 8:21 am
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I really really like this book, I think it is my favorite one so far. The other ones made me think, and I liked them, but this one opens up your mind in new ways. A friend of mine took this class last year and couldn't get into it for the whole telepathic gorilla thing, but as a sci-fi/fantasy fan, I have found it to be fascinating. As a religious person its started to get my back up once or twice, but I was able to put it aside and read for the sake of finding out what Ishmael had to say. I haven't finished it yet, and I agree with you April, about there not being any strong female characters, but there's not really any characters except the guy and gorilla...(well....the wife I wasn't so fond of, but Rachel made up for it by taking care of Ishmael). I wonder if the story would be the same if there was a woman in the pupil's place....She'd probably grasp things a lot quicker (sorry, sorry, my biases coming out). I think it could go the other way and be just as satisfying, if not more so. Maybe the author wrote from a man's point of view because he is a man, and just couldn't grasp the complexities of the female mind. :wink:

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Nicki Boyette


Sat Oct 21, 2006 10:57 am
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OK, aside from the feminist approach- although most of history was written by males, what do you think about the Leavers and Takers. I do think they sum up most of the history of "man". The people here first were Leavers think about the native Americans and their beliefs that all things were intertwined. Leave it better than you found it. The Takers throughout history HAVE been the group to fight wars to take over larger areas. I can't think of a group that has not.
I did find the section unsettling about the laws of nature. It is a good thing to let people starve in order to control population. I guess "Mother Culture" has intgrained it in me that it is wrong to let people die for any reason, (there I go with the let). In my head it makes sense for control, but in my cultural and religious teachings. . .

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Selena Hicks


Sun Oct 22, 2006 9:21 pm
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Let me preface this by saying that despite my feelings on religion, I have complete respect for other's beliefs and by no means want to offend anyone.

With that said, I enjoyed reading Ishamel and felt like it parralleled many ideas about our role and culture I had developed when I realized years ago I was an atheist and broke from the church. Even though, they talk about the gods, to me I interpret this more as a personification of nature. My way of looking at humans has always been that we are animals, albeit remarkable ones, and to the larger scheme of the universe and its functioning, our daily lives are no more complex than how we view an ant colony. The "Taker" culture has existed for barely a sneeze in the entire lifetime of the universe. Despite putting pieces together anthropologically and archaiologically, we know very little about the lives of ancient people and ancient pre-human animals. Recent scientific thoughts about certain cultures that have disappeared state they ran themselves into extinction through war, overuse of resources, and overpopulation. Hmmm...sounds familar. Maybe that should bother me, but it doesn't. Here is where I differ from Ishmael. Much like the example of domesticated turkeys having to be inseminated by humans to reproduce, man is not exempt from the environment, even if we create the environment to a certain extent. Just like bower birds with their bowers and termites with their mini-mountains, we are a part of nature and thus so is everything we do. Many species went extinct before man ever entered the scene. It may be unlikely, but we don't know that the dinosaurs weren't doing something that ultimately resulted in their decline. I think it is also egotistical to think we are the only species to exert control over our environment or to cause damage to our environment. What about parasites and viruses? While some participate in symbiosis, others destroy their habitat for immediate progress that results in their eventual destruction. Homo sapiens sapiens will not last forever, nothing will. That is life, that is evolution. Even if we completely restructured our culture to become Leavers, something will inevitably cause our extinction. I am not arguing against being more planet friendly or prolonging our eixtence as much as we can, but I am saying that even if we are enacting a story different from many ceatures of our planet, we are still integrally intertwined in The Story of the Universe.

Well, I had more I wanted to say, but this is long enough. I'll leave the rest for class. Lucky you guys, huh?! :wink:

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Stephanie Holt Helmer


Mon Oct 23, 2006 2:59 pm
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After the class discussion on this topic of Ishmael I realized that I didn't read it with the same interpretation or not really interpretation but view point as most of you did. I remember someone saying they read it just as a story and completely accepted the idea of the Gorilla talking and teaching but I would like to add that I read it this way as well. I just took it as normal and that was the way the book was going to be. I think the reason behind this is because I love to read fiction young adult novels and in contrast to how I used to hate to read, I read now for enjoyment. Even the novels that we are reading now in class I read them for enjoyment. With this being said I belive that is why I just only enjoyed the novel for a story. I don't believe I looked at it critically enough because I only read it for a story of enjoyment. I think I will read this again in the near future and with a different view point.

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Kristen Billings


Thu Oct 26, 2006 11:00 am
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I agree with Kristen that this book would be different if read with a different mindset. I read the book for class and maybe was looking for a way to tie it in with what we may have been talking about. I am rereading the book now for enjoyment, (as I tell my parents and students- you can never read a book too many times), and also to ambush my manager with more discussions. I also look forward to ordering the other 2 books offered. (Ishmael and the girl- and B- I don't have the book infront of me and can't remember the titles)!

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Selena Hicks


Sun Oct 29, 2006 2:46 pm
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I agree, I really want to read about Ishmael and the girl, cause she was young, wasn't she? I think I remember reading about or hearing about her being around 10 or 11? It will be really interesting to see if Mother Culture has sunk her claws as deeply into a young girl, I'm hoping that her life outlook will be more open. I'm also looking forward to going home at some point and having a philosophical discussion with my dad about Cain and Abel :-)

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Nicki Boyette


Fri Nov 03, 2006 2:37 pm
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