* Ishmael. He was caught in the jungles of Africa at a young age and has lived his life in captivity ever since. He started out in a zoo-purchased by Walter Sokolow, with whom he learned to communicate telepathically. * Ishmael’s investigation focused on the issue of captivity-and grew into a more comprehensive exploration of humanity. * Ishmael helps the narrator understand his cultural history. Ishmael divides humans into two groups: Leavers and Takers. * Takers are members who believe you should dominate first the planet, then the universe, through technological innovations. Leavers are members of tribal cultures that live simple, basic rules that govern other populations on Earth. * Ishmael helps the narrator see that taker culture is in freefall, bound to crash once you have depleted the planet of its biological and environmental resources. * Ishmael shows the narrator how various cultural myths have helped shape both cultures. One main myth he discusses is the story of Adam and Eve. -historically this myth was used by Leaver cultures to explain the expansion of Taker cultures. -Leavers were trying to understand why Takers had turned to agriculture and were trying to force their way of life on the Leavers. -Takers had eaten of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil — the tree of the gods must eat from in order to know who should live and die. Only to know that that form does not belong to life- form on earth. * Narrator becomes a teacher in Ishmaels honor, in hopes to teach people about the taker culture and find a new way to live w/others on earth.
Character List and Analysis
* Ishmael- they see themselves as superior and removed from the rules that structure the evolution and survival of other life-forms on the planet. * through his research on human history, he's come to see that they, too, are captive to a destructive way of life in their pursuit of domination over the rest of the world. * Through his studies, Ishmael tries to understand why humans feel called to dominate the world, and he teaches the explanation he's come up with to his student (the narrator) Narrator
* The nameless narrator is Ishmael's fifth student and the only one who isn't completely defeated at the end of his instruction. * He's open-minded and maintains his desire to save the world, though he often finds it difficult to maintain a sense of hope. * Analysis
* cultural revolution of the late 1960s
* constructing the novel in first person, the reader closely aligns himself with the narrator and can sympathize with the problematic feeling of giving up one's youthful dreams * by being both named and renamed, Ishmael gains a stronger sense of himself as an individual. He is not the giant enemy Goliath-but rather Ishmael, the cast-off son of Abraham. * Quinn's use of biblical allusions for Ishmael's names structure the relationship he has with humans. While imprisoned, he's a goliath, an unknown monster. Once he's able to communicate with humans and share their knowledge, he is like a distant relative, as the offspring of Ishmael are to the offspring of Isaac in the Bible. * why are things the way they are? This question is first presented by Ishmael in his memories of life in the zoo. Part 1
* Rachel’s mother, who has always resented Ishmael's relationship with her husband and daughter. * When Ishmael moved in the city he became a teacher, his key subject being the issue of captivity. * Ishmael says that, while it may not matter if one individual discovers the lie, it could change the world if the entire human population discovered the truth. Analysis - groundwork to answer the novel's central question: why are things the way they are? -Ishmael uses rhetorical strategies, such as asking guiding questions and storytelling, to engage his pupil -humans are captive to a "civilizational system" and are unable to see the "bars of the cage." Part 2...