Essay on The novel Ishmael, beautiful novel.
Ishmael Daniel Quinn Kidnap
Cover of Ishmael
It is difficult for any species or tribe (Human race) to be aware of their myth because it’s so deeply rooted in every aspect of civilization, and that it’s difficult for anyone to effectively point to it because they too are a part of myth. According to Quinn, the author, the myth states that the world belongs to us and we can do whatever we want to it because we own the world. Man’s destiny is to rule the world and overcome the limitations that Mother Culture has chained us to. In order for Quinn to create a strong essay, he used mythological aspects within his novel to prove his statements.
In the novel, Ishmael by Daniel Quinn, Quinn describes how our civilization is fundamentally bound to screw up because of Mother Culture’s myth that we have been following unintentionally: since the beginning of Mankind. But as several people question “Why Mother Culture? I personally have no difficulty with it, but I can imagine some women would, on the grounds that you seem to be singling out a figure of specifically female gender to serve as a cultural villain.” Ishmael grunted. “I don’t consider her a villain in any sense whatever, but I understand what you’re getting at. Here is my answer: Culture is a mother everywhere and at every time, because culture is inherently a nurturer—the nurturer of human societies and life–styles. Among Leaver peoples, Mother Culture explains and preserves a life–style that is healthy and self–sustaining. Among Taker peoples she explains and preserves a lifestyle that has proven to be unhealthy and self–destructive” (89). Quinn clarifies that Mother Culture has created a divide in our civilization, and split the tribes in two, the takers, and the leavers. “For the moment all you have to know is that two fundamentally different stories have been enacted here during the lifetime of man. One began to be enacted here some two or three million years ago by the people we’ve agreed to call Leavers and is still being enacted by them today, as successfully as ever. The other began to be enacted here some ten or twelve thousand years ago by the people we’ve agreed to call Takers, and is apparently about to end in catastrophe.” (41) Here we have the two tribes, the takers, whom believe in the myth, and the leavers, whom follow their own way of life. Mother culture says the takers are the advanced culture, while among the Leavers, crime, mental illness, suicide, and drug addiction are great rarities. “Mother Culture says it’s because the Leavers are just too primitive to have these things” (86). Yet our civilization doesn’t realize that Mother Culture is the founder of our myth. “You’ve recited a story you’ve heard a thousand times, and now you’re listening to Mother Culture as she murmurs in your ear: ‘There, there, my child, there’s nothing to think about, nothing to worry about, don’t get excited, don’t listen to the nasty animal, this is no myth, nothing I tell you is a myth, so there’s nothing to think about, nothing to worry about, just listen to my voice and go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep. . . .’ ” (31) Daniel Quinn has created a mythological figure in our society to be blamed for, in support of his ideas.
Using the image of Quinn’s Mother culture, Quinn has given this myth a power that has chained our civilization to limitations to stop mankind from achieving the world. By chaining us to her laws, we come to follow them accordingly, and create a society that works well. “The early aeronauts had to proceed by trial and error, because they didn’t know the laws of aerodynamics—didn’t even know there were laws. The people of your culture are in the same condition when it comes to learning how they ought to live. They have to proceed by trial and error, because they don’t know the relevant laws—and don’t even know that there are laws. You’re certain that no laws can be discovered concerning how people ought to live. That’s right. Obviously there are made–up laws, like the laws against drug use, but these can be changed by a vote. You can’t change the laws of Aerodynamics by a vote—and there are no laws like that about how people should live.” “I understand. That’s what Mother Culture teaches, and in this case you agree with her. That’s fine. But at last you have a clear understanding of what I’m attempting here: to show you a law that you will agree is not subject to change by any vote.”(56) The Laws of the world are a part of Mother Culture’s limitations that have been set upon us, yet our civilization sets out to build contraptions to help understand the laws set by our myth. None of the laws such as Aerodynamics were of any relevance to our civilization until we wanted to fly, and break the limitations set upon us.
Quinn creates a different feature of mythology, he creates a teacher that’s an Ape, not any ordinary zoo ape either, a telepathic one. With man being in power, yet unaware of Mother Culture’s presence, there is possibility of stopping the myth from destroying our world. “Obviously Mother Culture must be finished off if you’re going to survive, and that’s something the people of your culture can do. She has no existence outside your minds. Once you stop listening to her, she ceases to exist.”(85) In order to stop Mother Cultures myth, our civilization must first understand that ““If Mother Culture were to give an account of human history using these terms, it would go something like this: ‘The Leavers were chapter one of human history—a long and uneventful chapter. Her chapter of human history ended about ten thousand years ago with the birth of agriculture in the Near East. This event marked the beginning of chapter two, the chapter of the Takers. It’s true there are still Leavers living in the world, but these are anachronisms, fossils—people living in the past, people who just don’t realize that their chapter of human history is over.’ ” (23)
In conclusion, Quinn has created a strong essay through the examples of our Mother Culture, and the myth of our civilization. Quinn strengthened his arguments with the myth that the world is given to man to build into a paradise; unfortunately, man’s always blown their chance, because they are fundamentally flawed.