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 Ishmael 
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Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2006 5:25 pm
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I haven't finished reading this quite yet, but I wanted to get some perceptions from anyone who is attempting to read this. Has anyone made connections between this and other novels they have read? I've gotten a bit frustrated with the reading vocabulary, such as takers and leavers verses civilized and primitive peoples. It helps when Ishmael tells the student not to worry about things--they will come. I'm just not sure that I"m getting the gist of the story yet. Thanks!!

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Lisa Bernosky-Wade
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South Newton Elementary


Mon Oct 09, 2006 1:40 pm
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Lisa, I had a hard time with this novel. I am just not a science fiction fan. I have read the whole book, but am still very "foggy" as to what Ismael was implying when he spoke of the leavers and the takers. I, also did not like the use of the term "gods" in Ismael's story of the Garden of Eden. I would, like you, be interested to find out how some of our other classmates feel about this book.

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Elizabeth Lawson


Tue Oct 10, 2006 2:00 pm
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Hey, I just got past the heavy first and second chapters, where Ishmael explores the idea of primitiveness. WHOA! I thought I was smart...however, I stopped trying to decode the vocabulary, and I think I understand the little bit I've read. I haven't gotten to the point where you both are at yet, though. But I can weigh in on the first chapter---which is about the fact that our society becomes more diluted the older it gets: the further we grow from our roots. It also talks about universal symbols and how these symbols are echoed in literature in art: such as blood representing the ultimate sacrifice and love if you decipher the symbol in the light of the story of Christ. Ishmael also says that people look to the Orient for its otherness, for its unique symbols. The Puritan devalues the importance of self, which is one reason people look to the orient. melville felt that pimitivism origanated with the idea of self and personality. Christianity denies all that is natural while paganism glorifies all that is [b]natural. cultural failure: loss of importance/power of religious symbolism[/b]
There's also something about an I-You relationship that I need to read and figure out.

This back is weird!
Am I on the right track as far as comprehension though? It helps to try to summarize. Who would have thunk that a reading comprehension strategy would work? :P

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Bobbi Faulkner


Tue Oct 10, 2006 4:44 pm
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I have also finished the book but am unsure what it was about. I didn't really enjoy it. I was turned off as soon as I read about a talking gorilla. I do not like far-fetched, science fiction type books. I understand that Ishmael is giving his philosophy on life and what is wrong with the world due to man. At least that is some of what I got from it.

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Mimi Starnes


Sat Oct 14, 2006 12:48 pm
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Hi Mimi,
I finished reading Ishmael yesterday and I was not very fond of the book either. I also do not enjoy science fiction books. As I read I often had to go back and reread because my mind would start to wonder. I just didn't know where the book was leading me. I would have to agree with your thoughts about the book being about Ismael's philosophy of mankind.

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Tasha Sigmon


Sun Oct 15, 2006 2:38 pm
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I also finished the book and I had a hard time following it as well. Maybe it was becuase I am not a science fiction fan or maybe just because the story was being told by a gorilla. I also am confused about how this book relates to the topics we have discussed this far in class. I would love your input.
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Kasey


Mon Oct 16, 2006 11:54 am
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I'm still pondering...

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Lisa Bernosky-Wade
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South Newton Elementary


Sun Oct 22, 2006 6:07 pm
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Hi Ladies! I'm still pondering as well, Lisa. This book was really interesting and I enjoyed the point of view from an "animal" that we humans would not usually think about life from his perspective. I know this is a little off topic, and not quite as deep as most other comments/questions, but... I was wondering if anyone knew if what was said on page 14 is true...that pet dogs are unaware of having a name? I would also like to say that I loved the part (page 145) where Ishmael says "No one species shall make the life of the world its own" and "The world was not made for any one species" (in summing up the Law). As a human I think it is important to take this piece of wisdom seriously (even from a work of science fiction) because there are many people who believe this world/life was created solely for humans. We need to remember and respect the members of other species that also make this world their home!! I hope this rambling made some sense!! :D

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Nora Vines


Thu Oct 26, 2006 7:21 am
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Kasey I have been trying to figure out all week how this book could relate to the topics in our class. I can't wait for an explanation of how it fits in and I need some clarification on a couple of ideas. This book was hard to follow and my least favorite so far.

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Kelly Drum


Thu Oct 26, 2006 3:27 pm
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I too found the book hard to follow. Like several of you, I'm not a science fiction fan. Mostly everything that I read is non-fiction. I also think that we are getting a gorilla's philosophy on creation. Some of what he says is worth thinking about. Like Nora, I also found the part "The world was not made for any one species" interesting. This did made me think about the way our society lives. I don't believe that the world was created for just humans. It is for all creatures, we all have a place and a reason for our lives. However, some of the religious references, like "The Gods" bothered me. I agree with Elizabeth.

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Lori Standish


Sat Oct 28, 2006 7:36 pm
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I didn't like the book to begin with. I do however have a different appreciaiton of it since our discussion in class. I have spent a lot of time thinking about the stories we tell ourselves. Those stories that frame our lives. This applies to so much in life. If you have read A Framework for Understanding Poverty, by Ruby Payne, you will see these "stories" in so many of her case studies. These "stories" were part of all of the books we read. Nickel and Dimed and especially A Hope in the Unseen and Savage Inequalities had threads of cultural stories that shaped the characters lives. This understanding, will probably be the most beneficial of everything from this class in my role as a school administrator. By understanding the stories that frame each of our lives, I will be better able to understand the climate and culture which will lead to being better able to make substantial change.

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Melanie Huss


Mon Nov 06, 2006 1:18 pm
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