Teacher Guide

Ishmael Lesson Plan

Introduction to Ishmael

Ishmael begins with an intriguing newspaper ad:" Teacher seeks pupil. Must have an earnest desire to save the world." The narrator, disillusioned by his own failure to find a teacher years ago, answers the ad and finds that the teacher is a half-ton gorilla who can communicate telepathically. From this unlikely premise develops a novel about the destruction of the world and how we can save it and ourselves. The novel unfolds as a series of philosophical dialogs between Ishmael, the gorilla, and the unnamed narrator. Ishmael begins by defining terms for the discussion. 'Takers' are what we call civilized people, and 'Leavers' are what we would call primitive people. 'Mother Culture' is a...

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